According to Pro Football Focus, the Denver Broncos are especially loaded with talent that could be leaving for greener pastures in a few weeks. PFF has a list of the top 75 free agents and the Broncos have four guys in the first eighteen listed. Not good.
First up is Von Miller.
1. Von Miller, OLB
Miller is technically a free agent, but let’s be honest—he’s not going anywhere. The Super Bowl MVP is an elite defender whose stock couldn’t be higher after an outstanding playoff run.
We can squash any worry that the reigning Super Bowl MVP is going anywhere. He'll be franchised and he'll be signed. And he'll likely be the highest paid defensive player in the NFL.
From there, however, things get murkier.
Next up is Malik Jackson.
9. Malik Jackson, DE
That’s back-to-back great seasons for Jackson, who can play a variety of defensive line techniques. He makes his mark as a pass rusher, but also plays well against the run. He’s tied for the seventh-most total pressures in the regular season among interior defenders.
Rumor has it that he want's to get paid.
If that's the case, then he is likely the gone. John Elway has shown that he is willing to give up the big contract, but he isn't willing to mortgage the Broncos future for every good player that comes along. If the guy isn't willing to give a hometown discount, then he'll go shopping elsewhere.
Danny Trevathan is next on the list.
14. Danny Trevathan, LB
Trevathan is a well-rounded, young player who ranked fifth among inside linebackers in run stop percentage and tackling efficiency in 2015.
Trevathan has already noted that the Chicago Bears will have interest in him, which made me feel like maybe he already knows he's not going to be resigned. Or perhaps he misses playing for John Fox.
Either way, Wade Phillips has a knack for making inside linebackers play really well in his scheme. The Broncos may roll the dice on this one too.
The surprising name on the list was the veteran Evan Mathis.
18. Evan Mathis, G
With a new team in 2015, his performance dipped a bit, but he still finished with the highest run-blocking grade among guards for the fourth time in five years.
Frankly, who knows how that negotiation will play out. The offensive line has been in shambles for much of the year, but Mathis and Matt Paradis were relatively consistent up front when healthy. It would be a win to keep Mathis on the team, but there is only so much cap to go around.
Finally, we have Brock Osweiler.
72. Brock Osweiler, QB
Osweiler struggled some with consistency during his small sample size last year, but did show enough with positive grades in five of his eight games to earn his shot at a starting gig next year.
I was shocked to see him rated so low on PFF's list, but that just tells me that maybe my own Broncos bias is showing in my evaluation of his play. Or, perhaps, he was so much better than Peyton Manning was earlier in the season that "average" looked amazing.
The big question there is how much is Elway willing to offer compared to how much Osweiler thinks quarterback desperate teams like the Cleveland Browns will pay for his services.
Outside of Von Miller, who else do you think Elway will be able to retain?