With the Super Bowl now in the books, it is time to start taking a look towards free agency and which players the Broncos may target during this period. One name that has been linked to the Broncos is Chicago Bears cornerback, Bryce Callahan.
Age: 27 years old
Experience: 4 years
Callahan played his college ball at Rice and had a decent collegiate career during his four years with that program. During his four-year career at Rice, Callahan totaled 145 tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, 13 interceptions, 25 pass deflections, and 2 forced fumbles.
Callahan entered the 2015 NFL Draft but went undrafted and later signed with the Chicago Bears. He has spent the past four seasons with the Bears and has turned himself into one of the better slot corners in the NFL.
During his four year career in the NFL, Callahan has totaled 123 tackles, 4 sacks, 21 pass deflections, 4 interceptions, and 1 forced fumble. This past season with the Bears, Callahan had a bit of a breakout year under Vic Fangio. He totaled 45 tackles, 2 sacks, 6 pass deflections, 2 Interceptions, and one defensive touchdown. He had his season cut short due to a broken foot late in the year.
Callahan may have had his season cut short due to injury, but before then, he displayed exceptional ability at covering the slot, which has become a focal point for some of the best offenses in the league. When covering the slot, he allowed just 0.69 yards per coverage snap and a passer rating of 78.9, which rank second and eighth among cornerbacks, respectively. The four-year-veteran demonstrated the ability to effectively rush the passer, as well, generating 13 total pressures (including two sacks), despite never logging more than two pressures in a season prior to this year. The prolific usage of slot receivers combined with Callahan displaying exceptional prowess covering the slot should equate to a big payday for the Rice alumnus.
Callahan figures to be one of, if not the top corner available on the free agent market and could be a target for the Broncos who by all accounts will be aggressive during free agency.
Why this makes sense:
The Broncos secondary had its issues in 2018 and its lack of depth showed as the season went on. It is a cornerback group that could also be losing former first-round pick Bradley Roby and veteran Tramaine Brock to free agency only testing its depth even more. That would leave Pro Bowl corner Chris Harris Jr. and 2018 third-round pick Isaac Yiadom as the only viable starting options on the Broncos roster. So adding a talent like Callahan to the mix would really help the unit out.
It also makes sense because veteran Chris Harris Jr. is entering the final year of his deal and will turn 30 years old during the offseason. I would imagine there is mutual interest on both sides to get an extension done, but I could see it going either way. Signing Callahan would give the Broncos another top tier slot option for them to have for the present and into the future.
It also makes sense because the Broncos hired Vic Fangio as their Head Coach(former Bears Defensive Coordinator) and Ed Donatell as their Defensive Backs coach(former Bears DB coach). Connections matter in the NFL and I could see there being a mutual interest between the two sides in a potential reunion.
Why it doesn’t make sense:
Well, the Broncos already have Chris Harris Jr. on their roster.
The skill set of Callahan and Harris seem to overlap and it doesn’t really make sense for them to sign another slot corner to a big money deal.
Do I think Harris can move outside and hold his own? Sure. However, why move him outside when he’s arguably the best slot corner in the game right now for another slot corner? With that said, I think Fangio and Donatell could make the arrangement work, but I am not sure this is the direction I see them going.
Finally, money could be the deciding factor here. Even if the Broncos do have interest in Callahan, he figures to get a very good deal from some team during free agency. Slot corners are valuable in today’s NFL and just about every NFL team will be looking for secondary help this offseason. Even when aggressive in the past, Broncos General Manager John Elway hasn’t really “overpaid” for a free agent. So I could see Callahan surpassing the Broncos price range.
The Franchise Tag is another thing that could get in the way of Callahan potentially signing with the Broncos. He is arguably the Bears top free agent and they may just slap the Franchise Tag on him and keep him from hitting free agency.
I think I hit on my thoughts throughout the article, but lets go over them again. I’d love to add Callahan to this secondary. You have Patrick Mahomes in the AFC West and need to have a strong secondary in place to slow him down. Also, the Fangio/Donatell connection makes it a very possible landing spot for Callahan.
However, the presence of Chris Harris Jr. kinda takes away from this signing. The Broncos already have a slot corner and a very good one at that in Harris. Do you really want to move him away from the slot to add another slot guy? Like I said, I am sure they could make this work, but I don’t see them going this route.
In the end, I am on the fence for this potential signing. Callahan is a damn good slot corner, but the Broncos already have a damn good slot corner. Also, his price tag will likely be too high for the Broncos, but we shall see how it plays out moving forward.
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