ICYMI: Case Keenum is going to be the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos in 2018. That’s the first big signing for John Elway in this free agent period, but don’t expect the Broncos to stop there. The team still has a lot of needs to fill and are rumored to be in the market for a right tackle and perhaps defensive lineman. If Keenum’s deal is salary cap friendly, I wouldn’t doubt seeing another high-profile free agent added to the roster.
"Denver's moves in free agency could dictate how it spends [the No. 5 pick], which is only the third top-five selection in the Pat Bowlen era."— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) March 12, 2018
via @denverpost » https://t.co/B00TVOvcHS pic.twitter.com/XURYYhWyaf
But who else should the Broncos be targeting in free agency? For the third installment of this year’s free agency round table, I asked the staff to “Name one player (outside of quarterback) that you would like the Broncos to add in free agency and why he would be a good addition for the franchise.”
Ian St. Clair:
To play off of the free-the-anchor draft theme: Josh Sitton. I get it. This is a draft loaded with guards. If the Broncos don’t get one, they’re up the creek with no paddle. And as I’ve said repeatedly over the last few years: I’m sick and tired of Elway going cheap on his offensive line. He took the first step last offseason when he got Ronald Leary. Follow it up now with Sitton. That move immediately gives you an interior offensive line as good as any in the NFL.
Avery Williamson. The Broncos need to keep infusing youth into the team and defense to stay dominant, and Williamson if available is a terrific inside linebacker and very versatile. He frees up draft picks for other areas of need on both the defense and offense. Malcolm Butler would be my co-free agent as the Broncos seem intent on getting rid of Aqib Talib, which I think is a huge mistake. Roby is good, but he’s not Talib good. And even if Roby can kinda/sorta fill that role, we still need 3 CBs because the NFL is so pass happy.
Avery Williamson was offered a 4 year, 12 million dollar deal from the Titans. He turned it down. Told the Jets and Dolphins are interested per source. (More background from @CameronWolfe below) https://t.co/7oV0cXZ4Zg— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) March 12, 2018
If he is released by the Cardinals, safety/slot guy Tyrann Mathieu. He would give the Broncos a much-needed ballhawk in their secondary after losing cornerback Aqib Talib. He’ll be pricey and I know we already have two starting safeties, but he would be a great addition to the Broncos defense.
There’s not a lot of good free agents in this class, but I like taking a flyer on Tyler Eifert on a cheap “prove it” deal that allows him to regain his pre-injury form, but protects us if he never does.
I’m also with Scotty on the Honey Badger. Pairing Mathieu with Justin Simmons in the secondary would give us two guys who are athletic, versatile, and can match-up against all kinds of offensive weapons. They can take turns manning the slot, matching up with TEs/RBs, and roaming the box while we train Langley or another developmental corner to be that 3rd guy.
Denver will add Nate Solder, so I feel like it is cheating to say him. I hope that they add Demario Davis, middle linebacker from the New York Jets. I’ve been lobbying for Davis since November. He covers as well as Chris Harris Jr. and tackles as well as any other middle linebacker. Davis is seeking $8-10MM and that’s about the cost of fixing the gaping hole in the middle of the defense that everyone from Brandon Marshall to Will Parks has had difficulty covering.
It will be interesting to see what Demario Davis gets on open market. Jets in $3-4 mil avg range he wants $8-10 mil avg range.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) March 12, 2018
This free agent class is weak, but with Aqib Talib likely gone I’d like to see them target the malign cornerback from the Kansas City Chiefs, Terrance Mitchell. He had a rough 2017 in pass coverage, but was a good run stopper. He is still young and would only be asked to be the #3 cornerback. It could be a good situation for him and for Denver.
I’m going to abuse this question a bit, if you don’t mind, in that the player I want the Broncos to add isn’t a free agent (yet). Right tackle Ja’wuan James is on shaky ground in Miami, due $9M on a 5th year option on a Dolphins team that’s currently $7.6M over the cap. He could be acquired via trade, which is my preferred option, or there’s a good chance he may be released before the start of the league year and could be had as a free agent. Though Broncos Country probably isn’t as familiar with him, James could take the Broncos from having arguably the worst RTs in the league to well above average at that spot. He’s graded out well according to PFF, posting an 80.0 in 2017 that was good for 17th among all offensive tackles. He graded out at 79.3 in 2016, and 75.1 in 2015, so he’s shown the consistent good play that Denver has lacked. And the best thing? He’s just 25 years old. Go get him, John!
I’m not really nuts about any big name free agents given the team’s situation. I would like to see the Broncos sign Anthony Hitchens though. Our ILB corps needs help desperately and he’s a player that wouldn’t cost the bank while instantly upgrading the talent level there. He’s solid at everything this defense would ask but not spectacular at big plays. He’d instantly make Todd Davis expendable and give Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods some more freedom on how to scheme his sub packages.
I want Marqise Lee — more than I thought I would. I also love the idea of the Broncos adding Eric Reid or Bradley McDougald.
Tyler Eiffert (I know I sound like an ND homer here) would be a great addition as a legitimate receiver at TE. His injury history should drive his price down some, but I would love to see us land him in free agency. He can be a nice safety blanket for Baker Mayfield.
As for myself, I’d like to see the team make an upgrade on the defensive line, especially with the news concerning Adam Gotsis. I also am factoring in the age of Domata Peko into this decision as well. Additionally, if the team doesn’t feel great about selecting an offensive lineman high in the draft, I’d stay away from Solder at offensive tackle and try to get James from Miami via trade or sign him to an incentive-laden deal if he ends up hitting the open market.
So Broncos Country, who do you want the Broncos to sign in addition to Keenum in free agency? Sound off in the comments section and give us your top free agent wish list.