The first day of the 2016 NFL Free Agency period was pure mayhem. The Denver Broncos were brutally victimized by talent hungry teams around the NFL, but that's to be expected for a defending Super Bowl champion. Let's recap the first day of action.
Here is the list of free agents still unsigned after the first day:
- Andre Caldwell
- Antonio Smith
- Vernon Davis
- Tyler Polumbus
- Shiloh Ke'o
- Ryan Harris
- Ronnie Hillman
- Omar Bolden
- Kyle Williams
- Josh Bush
- Jordan Norwood
- Evan Mathis
- Davis Bruton Jr.
Who the Broncos signed
The signing of Donald Stephenson likely spells the end of Ryan Harris in Denver, which seems like an odd move considering Stephenson was unable to beat out Harris for the starting job in Kansas City a few years ago. The deal is for 3 years for $14 million.
Not bad for a guy coming off a pretty rough 2015 season and who has never really graded out well in his career. However, sometimes all a guy needs is a fresh start somewhere.
Overall, I would grade this signing as a C-. He'd be good depth, but as a starter that would concern me going into next season.
Who the Broncos lost
Speaking of fresh starts, Brock Osweiler was definitely ready for one of those have living under the long shadow of Peyton Manning through his first four seasons. His signing by the Houston Texans is for four years and a whooping $72 million that sent shock waves across the NFL. Kirk Cousins was certainly happy for him and for good reason, he's next.
Reportedly, Osweiler was very tepid in negotiations with the Broncos over the last two weeks and it became apparent to John Elway that he had little interest in sticking around.
It is certainly tough to have no idea who the next quarterback of the Denver Brocnos is going to be, but Osweiler was never going to be worth $18 million a year. I would grade Elway a solid A for sticking to his philosophy, even when it will clearly sting for a bit.
The biggest signing of a former Bronco came with Malik Jackson's six year, $85.5 million deal from the Jacksonville Jaguars. With $31.5 million of that fully guaranteed within the first two years. He would never have gotten such a deal from the Broncos, so kudos for him on getting the big payday.
Jackson joins Michael Vickerson and Terrance Knighton as former Broncos defensive tackles to go for the bigger money in free agency. I can't even grade the Broncos here, because there was no chance they would have thrown this much money at him.
Credit to the Jaguars for also bringing in some edge rushers, which I believe Jackson will need to continue his pass rushing excellence along the interior of the line.
I recall being surprised during Super Bowl week when Danny Trevathan said the Chicago Bears could be a likely landing spot for him in free agency, but then it happened. Not sure if that would be considered illegal tampering or not, but he did get paid handsomely with a four year, $24.5 million deal by those same Bears.
LB Danny Trevathan’s deal with Bears totals $24.5M over four years and includes $12M guaranteed.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 10, 2016
In Wade Phillips system it is expected that inside linebacker is easily replaceable, so though it hurts to see a fan favorite move on, the Broncos should be just fine with a less expensive option.
Who is next?
With basically no tender at all on C.J. Anderson, teams are flocking to attempt to ink him to a deal and steal him away from the Denver Broncos. The Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers are all attempting to get Anderson from the Broncos.
The worst possible outcome here is for the Patriots to submit the offer that Anderson wants and then have the Broncos not match.
This is a big gamble by Elway and it will play out over the next week or so as the Broncos will have five days to match whatever offer Anderson gets from another team.