The biggest free agent rumors surrounding the Denver Broncos over the last week have centered around Julius Thomas and Rahim Moore. We all pretty much know Thomas is gone, but I am more than a little disappointed that Moore could be on his way out as well. For that one bad play, he has been nothing short of a solid starter who will be hard to replace in 2015.
Rahim Moore Rumors
March 3, 2015 -The Denver Post anticipates free agent FS Rahim Moore commanding more than $5 million annually on the open market.
The Post names the Eagles as a potential suitor, as new Philly DBs coach Corey Undlin was Moore's position coach the past two years. Philadelphia is flush with salary cap space and has a perennial need at safety. The Broncos already have big money committed to CBs Aqib Talib and Chris Harris, as well as SS T.J. Ward. Moore leaving Denver is seen as a foregone conclusion.
We can ignore the Denver Post's attempt to project where Rahim Moore will end up here, but the word that its a foregone conclusion is a bit disappointing, but more on that later.
March 6, 2015 - The Giants are showing interest in free agent FS Rahim Moore.
Devin McCourty is the crown jewel of free agent safeties; Moore is the next best thing. The Giants plan to pursue both, though signing McCourty would come at a greater cost. Moore is expected to command $5-8 million annually while McCourty could go for as much as $10 million a year. Even if Moore doesn't end up in New York, it's a near certainty he's done in Denver.
The New York Giants, not the Philadelphia Eagles, appear to be the first suitor for Moore. They certainly need help on defense and Moore is easily the second best safety on the market in 2015.
Losing Rahim Moore is going to be a blow no matter how you feel about the 2012 playoffs. Last season, Moore ranked 14th out of all safeties in coverage who played a majority of snaps for their respective teams (51 total made the cut), according to Pro Football Focus. This is significant, because T.J. Ward possessed the fourth worst out of those 51 safeties when put in coverage.
Ward and Moore were polar opposites, and playing to their strengths really helped make this defense stronger. Ward would finish the second best run defender in the NFL at the safety position, so what he lacked in coverage skills was made up with stalwart run defense.
With Moore's apparent departure, the Broncos will have a serious void to fill on the back end of their defense.
Tight End Rumors
With Julius Thomas rumored to be heading to the Oakland Raiders or Seattle Seahawks, both coming from his dad, the Broncos will need to look at some options at that position.
March 6, 2015 - Profootballtalk's Mike Florio floats the Seahawks as a potential suitor for free agent Julius Thomas.
It's not a surprise after Seattle tried trading for tight ends during last October's Percy Harvin talks. They were known to be targeting Jordan Cameron. Like Cameron, Thomas is an athletic tight end with top-notch ball skills. Thomas' addition would knock Luke Willson down the totem pole in Seattle.
So far, no official rumors concerning this position, however, there have been several tight ends hitting the open market this week.
What about the offensive line?
One thing that we should keep an eye on is any big time starter hitting the open market along the offensive line. John Elway knows how important stacking an offensive line with Hall of Fame players, so I would be shocked if he isn't making that a free agent priority for the Broncos in the coming weeks.
March 7, 2015 - ESPN Giants reporter Dan Graziano hears New York is not interested in free agent RT Joe Barksdale.
Barksdale would make sense for the Giants as they look to transition current RT Justin Pugh to guard, but his asking price may be too high. Barksdale is reportedly looking for a contract in excess of $6 million annually. He is Rotoworld's No. 4 available free-agent tackle.
Six million a year for a quality right tackle isn't terrible. A rookie right tackle would be the cheapest route, but is also fraught with risk as we all know from the Super Bowl run in 2013. If Barksdale is serviceable and reliable, then it would be worth the $6 million or so a year.
March 6, 2015 - The Raiders are expected to move on from free agent G/C Stefen Wisniewski.
Wisniewski is a rare "homegrown talent" on the Raiders, but was drafted by the old Al Davis regime. The 26-year-old is an above-league-average interior offensive lineman. The most surprising part is the Raiders' willingness to let a young starter walk. They don't have many quality young starters.
As much as I dislike the idea of picking through the Oakland Raiders garbage heap, this guy might be the only discarded player from them that might deserve a good look at. Personally, I like Will Montgomery at center, but he is getting a bit long in the tooth and a year on the bench behind Montgomery could be just what Wisniewski needs to progress from above average to stud.
(Note: Hat Tip to a commenter for pointing out there is no way the Broncos sign Wisniewski to be on the bench. After talking to that person, I agree. If Elway were to sign Wisienski, he'd be the starter from the get go.)
Aside from these rumors, what other "value" free agents out there do you think John Elway might take a hard look at?