Good morning, Broncos Country.
Yesterday, the Denver Broncos signed former Kansas City Chiefs star running back Jamaal Charles to a one-year contract that can be worth up to $3.75 million if incentives are reached. It was a move that was worth a roll of the dice for John Elway and the Denver Broncos, who needed a fourth running back to come in and compete for playing time in 2017.
New #Broncos RB @jcharles25's 5.5-yd. career rushing average is the best of any running back in @NFL history.— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) May 3, 2017
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It is a low-risk, high-reward move for Denver. If Charles pans out, the move might just be enough to take the Broncos offense off life support, as fellow colleague Ian St. Clair writes. Charles has had issues with injuries over the past two years, but prior to those injuries, he was easily one of the most dominant running backs in the entire league.
Paired with C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker and 2017 draft selection De'Angelo Henderson, Charles won't have to shoulder the immense burden of being a true number one back that has over 25 touches a game. That should help keep him fresh, and allow for him to make big plays whether it is rushing or receiving when the team decides to call his number on Sunday's. He should also prove to be a wise veteran leader in the locker room and offer advice and tutelage to the young players the Broncos have acquired over the past several seasons.
"I always wanted to play for Denver. Growing up, @johnelway was one of my favorite players." - @Jcharles25 pic.twitter.com/H1yKZV2xGU— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) May 2, 2017
The signing of Charles, now 30 years old, reminds me of when the Broncos signed veteran back Willis McGahee in 2011. In that season, McGahee lead the team in rushing with 1,199 yards and sported a 4.8 yard per carry average and was a presence the team needed that helped earn them a playoff birth that season. McGahee's success that year is proof that running backs, even with an injury history and older in age can still have success in the NFL. Coincidentally, the Broncos' offensive coordinator that season is the one who will be calling the plays for the team in 2017 — Mike McCoy.
The Broncos are hoping that the addition of Charles can be similar to what transpired with McGahee in 2011 and provide a boost to an offense that was in desperate need of playmakers prior to the additions in the 2017 NFL Draft. Speed and toughness have now been added to the roster, and the talent on offense looks much better now than it did at the end of last year. If Paxton Lynch or Trevor Siemian can make some big strides this training camp and pre-season, the Broncos have set themselves up to have a potentially explosive offense this season.
.@johnelway's simple message for the incoming #Broncos: "Now, it's time to get to work."— Broncos TV (@BroncosTV) May 1, 2017
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With the hardest strength of schedule out of any team in the league, the Broncos are certainly going to need all the help they can get. The addition of Charles to the Broncos' backfield was a move in the right direction, and a roll of the dice that certainly has the opportunity to pay big dividends for the franchise if he stays healthy. If it doesn't pan out, no harm no foul, but here is to hoping that Charles can make a splash for the Broncos in 2017. I certainly believe he can and will.
As always, thank you for reading and here is today's offering of Horse Tracks.
Jamaal Charles already welcome in Broncos backfield
Charles' veteran presence and proven productivity will be invaluable to the success of the Broncos' running game this season.
CFAs with the best early odds to make the Broncos 53-man roster
For eleven consecutive years, ending in 2015, the Broncos had at least one college (aka undrafted) free agent make the roster.
Draft altered landscape for Denver Broncos at running back, tight end
Some positions are a little more crowded for the Broncos, who have made it clear that there will be competition for jobs.
Bills decline to pick up WR Sammy Watkins' option
The Bills will not be picking up wide receiver Sammy Watkins' fifth-year option, the team announced Tuesday. Watkins will make $3.138 million in 2017, the final year of his rookie deal.
Adrian Peterson on Saints' O: What will opposition do?
Adrian Peterson is a member of the Saints. Needless to say, he's also optimistic about the prospect of working with Drew Brees, he's fine with splitting carries and his knee gives him no pain.
Eric Decker (hip, shoulder) set to be full-go for camp
Not long after Eric Decker's 2016 season ended prematurely in October, reports surfaced suggesting the start of his 2017 would be in jeopardy. Decker shot down that speculation on Tuesday.
Victor Cruz 'anxious' to join team: 'I just want to play'
Victor Cruz just wants to play ball. Coming off a season that saw the receiver break 500 yards receiving, it wouldn't be shocking if he signed with a team. But who will take the 30-year-old wideout?