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Broncos free agency: Best remaining available free agents

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What’s left on the free agent market for the Broncos?

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles
Hicks could be a special addition in the Fangio scheme.
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

So the Denver Broncos came away from Day 1 of legal tampering in free agency with a new defensive back and starting tackle, easily the biggest pressing needs. I can’t say I have some sort of in depth insight on Kareem Jackson as I’ve yet to look at his film with any focus. I will say it was a move that originally made the list you’re about to read. It looks like the kind of short term move that should fill out the depth chart prior to the draft. Still, it left me with a couple questions.

If you’re sure Kareem’s going to be an All Pro super stud, you probably aren’t worried one bit. I can’t be certain, as every report I read on him suggests 2018 was a career year.

So as I look to study up on him this week, I’m left wondering if the Broncos just paid for market rate for the best year of his career and he’s about to regress to the mean. 1 yard may not seem like a lot, and there’s multiple factors at play, but consider this: in 2018 Jackson outperformed Kyle Fuller. In 2017 Orlando Scandrick averaged less yards per pass.

As for Ja’Wuan James? It’s a big deal. $13 million is no joke, historical even, but here’s the thing. It’s also the fair price for a starting tackle in this market. There is little doubt that James was the best option in front of the Broncos and Elway has shown previous interest. I’m going to study the tape to get a better read on it, but if Munchak likes the guy enough to sign off I’m for it.

Anyways, beyond the big moves, I know many in Broncos Country saw the moves being made yesterday afternoon and began to sweat the Broncos inactivity. Here’s the thing though, what other deal made yesterday do you wish Elway would have made?

There’s still plenty of talent to be had. Let’s take a look.

Offensive Line

Matt Paradis - He made #7 on my Most Valuable Broncos rankings. At one point yesterday he looked destined for the Jets, but as I hit the hay Mike Klis broke this news.

Billy Turner - #25 on my list, but the versatile tackle/guard is a valuable commodity. If he comes home Denver has a starting guard or swing tackle.

Andy Levitre-There was a long streak where the ex-Falcon was one of the better guards in football. Now he’s 32 and coming off a season where he played in 2 games. But for a decent price he could step in as a solid short term option.

Ty Nsekhe-A longtime backup tackle, the 34-year old looked promising when given a chance to play. He’s nowhere near a first option, but could give the Broncos a strong veteran option at an affordable contract.

Tight End

Darren Fells -The thing that should make Fells such an enticing option to any GM is that he won’t count against his new team’s compensatory picks in 2020. That he can play is a huge bonus. With Jesse James off the market, he’d be a decent well rounded tight end and short term solution.

Jared Cook -I suspect he’s going to make some big money, but if the Broncos want a veteran receiving tight end Cook is the best on the market.

Jeff Heuerman -With how shallow this free agent market is, it wouldn’t be a complete surprise if the Broncos find a way to bring him back into the fold.

Defensive Line

Danny Shelton-A former first round pick to the Browns, Shelton has flourished with New England. At 6’2 344 lbs, he’d be just what the doctor ordered at nose.

Linebacker

C.J. Mosley

Last I checked, it looked like it’d be the Browns, Colts, or Ravens.

Jordan Hicks - Hicks is one of the better “B” tier free agents on the market. There’s some serious questions due to his injury history, but if he can stay healthy he’d provide Denver with a special skillset as a true coverage linebacker.

K.J. Wright -He’s been on a bit of a decline in recent seasons, most notably in pass coverage. He also played just 5 games for the Seahawks last year. For a short term deal though, he could be worth a flier.

Jamie Collins - Like Darren Fells, Collins was released by the Browns. Unlike Fells, Collins was one of the best, more versatile linebackers in football when he played for New England.

Aaron Lynch -Lynch makes sense because he played for Fangio with both the 49ers and Bears. He’d fit as a strong depth player on the edge.

Defensive Back

Adrian Amos -With the way the safety market blew up yesterday, Amos may well get something between Mathieu’s and Collins’ deal. He remains my number 1 free agent want because he was that good with Fangio, but cost is now a huge question. Reports last night were that the Broncos are out of the race.

Bryce Callahan - Like Amos, Callahan’s on this list in no small part because of his past success under Vic Fangio. Also like Amos, reports suggest the Broncos are done pursuing him.

Pierre Desir - Mum’s the word on where Desir’s likely to land, though if the Colts want him, they certainly have the room under the cap to do so. He’s a strong tackler and would fit the new scheme.

Darqueze Dennard -Dennard’s a bit of an odd duck on this list. He was a strong run defender last year but needs to improve his play against the pass. A former first round pick, he fits the kind of talent that Fangio claimed to like taking chances on.

Jason Verrett- How lucky can you get? With Verrett that has to be the big question as he only has one season since entering the league where he suited up for more than 6 games. He was a stud for the Chargers in 2015, but that was a long time ago. Perhaps Elway can strike gold on a one year deal.

Mock Draft Monday

10. Drew Lock, QB - If Elway’s ideal is the rocket armed gunslinger, Lock’s the best option in the next two drafts. A lot of work needs to be done, but I expect this to be the pick at 10.

41. Deionte Thompson, S - If the Broncos miss on Adrian Amos Thompson could soothe the broken hearts. Has legitimate Pro Bowl potential and some of the best secondary coaches in the business.

71. Julian Love, CB - A gamer who’s willing to attack the run game. Broncos would be lucky if he’s here in the third.

125. Bobby Evans, OL - A toolsy tackle prospect who could eventually step in on the left side if needed. Munchak gets an athletic 300 pounder to mold.

148. Kaden Smith, TE - May project as an inline TE2 type, but the Broncos could use stability there with little else on the roster and a think veteran market.

156. Dontavius Russell, NT - A 4 year starter in the SEC. Russell has the frame and game to give the Broncos an answer in base personnel.

182. Ben Burr-Kirven, LB - A bit undersized, Burr-Kirven may be limited to special teams but has the kind of range and game you want to root for. Forced 6 fumbles over the last two seasons.

237. Miles Boykin, WR - A shot in the dark, but Boykin has the kind of athletic tools guys taken 3 rounds before him would kill for. If he can put it all together the sky’s the limit, but has a long way to go.

On to your Broncos links

Denver Broncos agree to terms with cornerback Kareem Jackson - Mile High Report

The Denver Broncos found themselves a corner! They have reportedly signed Kareem Jackson to a 3 year, $33 million deal.

Broncos pick up contract options for Emmanuel Sanders, Chris Harris Jr. - Mile High Report

Two of the best players on the roster are definitely staying in Denver for at least another season.

Denver Broncos free agent target: Wide Receiver John Brown - Mile High Report

If the Denver Broncos are looking for a veteran speed receiver, it’d pay to reunite John Brown with Joe Flacco.

Are the Broncos a ‘destination team’ right now? - Mile High Report

Orange and Blue Radio’s Andrew Mason argues they are not, and Ryan Edwards points out some compelling reasons players may choose the Raiders as a ‘destination’ instead.\

Free Agency: Ja’Wuan James vs. Daryl Williams | Cover 1

NFL Free Agency is upon us, and most people believe the Buffalo Bills will address the right tackle position. Erik Turner breaks down the film on Ja’Wuan James and Daryl Williams, two of the premier options.

2019 NFL Mock Draft: Steelers replace Antonio Brown, Patriots get two wide receivers in Round 2 - CBSSports.com

BRONCOS Drew Lock, QB, Missouri John Elway has reportedly been smitten with Lock since the fall. After back-to-back losing seasons, Elway hopes he’s finally found his long-term franchise quarterback.

NFL Mock Draft 2019: Huge trades shake up top 5; Kyler Murray goes No. 1, but not to the Cardinals? Giants get Dwayne Haskins? Complete 2-round projection - nj.com

10) Denver Broncos: Ed Oliver, DL, Houston Last year, the Broncos added an elite edge rusher in Bradley Chubb, and bolster their pass-rush with a versatile defensive lineman capable of lining up at the three, five, or seven technique and provide relentless pressure on the quarterback.

2019 Mock Draft | NFL Draft Countdown

The quarterback world continues to turn in Denver, with Case Keenum out after just one season and Joe Flacco now in. Nobody believes Flacco is a long-term solution under center, and whether he’s even a viable short-term starter is debatable. If there is a quarterback available that the Broncos and John Elway like they should pull the trigger. Word is they like Lock. Physically Lock has it all, including a prototypical frame, a very strong arm and terrific athleticism as a former prep basketball standout. There isn’t a throw Lock can’t make and at times he looks like a true franchise signal caller. The term “arm talent” was invested to describe a guy like Lock. The issue is consistency as he does not handle pressure well and tended to struggle against better competition. Even though Lock clearly possesses top of the draft talent there is too often a disconnect with the results on the field, so the precautionary Boom or Bust label may be appropriate. With that said Lock is going to be easy for some team to talk themselves into because he’s so toolsy and charismatic with such tantalizing upside.

March All-Sleeper Team | The Draft Network

The Broncos met with a few of these guys at the Combine.

Daniel Jeremiah’s top 50 prospects for 2019 NFL Draft 3.0 - NFL.com

After taking some time to reexamine players coming out of the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, Daniel Jeremiah updates his ranking of the draft’s top 50 prospects. There’s movement up and down the board.

Catching up with the rest of the NFL

Chiefs land Tyrann Mathieu – ProFootballTalk

The Texans had hoped to keep safety Tryann Mathieu. They won’t. Per multiple reports, the Chiefs will sign Matthieu when free agency opens on Wednesday. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that it will be a three-year, $42 million deal.

Antonio Brown trade, Eric Weddle signing details, NFL free agency preview | SI.com

3. The case of Chiefs pass-rusher Dee Ford will be worth watching now, particularly with Justin Houston officially gone. So why is Kansas City willing to part ways with a guy who posted 13 sacks last year? As I understand it, with new DC Steve Spagnuolo in town, Ford might not have a home in the base defense or even the early-down sub packages, because of his issues holding up against the run. That’s not to say Ford can’t play for Spagnuolo—he’s a high-end pass rusher, and in today’s NFL there’s great value in that, even if it’s all you do. But if Ford will be just a situational player for Spags, it’s hard to justify giving him a contract in the range of what, say, Von Miller is making. Or even to pay him the $15.5 million attached to the linebacker tag (since he was a ’backer last year). From what I’m hearing, he would go for a second-round pick. The Packers and Niners remain in the mix, but both want to wait until after the first wave of free agency is complete, so they can take a look at pass rushers there, before getting more serious on the Chiefs star.

Raiders plan to sign OT Trent Brown to 4-yr, $66M deal - NFL.com

The Raiders and offensive tackle Trent Brown have agreed in principle to a four-year deal worth $66 million with $36.74 million fully guaranteed, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

Eagles to sign Malik Jackson to three-year, $30M deal - NFL.com

The Eagles are bolstering their defense. Per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, Philly is signing defensive tackle Malik Jackson to a three-year deal worth $30 million.

Nick Foles expected to sign four-year deal with Jaguars - NFL.com

Nick Foles has a new team, one that comes as no surprise. The Super Bowl LII MVP is expected to sign a four-year, $88 million deal with the Jaguars, a source told NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

Lions expected to sign Trey Flowers to five-year deal - NFL.com

The Lions have landed yet another former Patriots player. Detroit is expected to sign DE Trey Flowers to a five-year deal worth more than $16 million per year, Ian Rapoport reported.

Titans to sign Adam Humphries to 4-year contract - NFL.com

The Titans are expected to sign Adam Humphries to a four-year deal worth $36 million, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo reported.

Cardinals expected to sign Terrell Suggs – ProFootballTalk

Suggs, who will turn 37 during the 2019 season, leads active players with 132.5 career sacks and is coming off a seven-sack season in 2018.

Frank Gore heads to Buffalo – ProFootballTalk

Adding running backs on the wrong side of 30 isn’t usually the way to build an NFL roster, but the Bills will hope that Gore, McCoy and Ivory can provide veteran leadership and help take some pressure off quarterback Josh Allen.

Chargers tender Trevor Williams at lowest level – ProFootballTalk

The cornerback entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2016. Williams, 25, played nine games with seven starts last season. He made 23 tackles, an interception and four pass breakups before injuring his knee and landing on injured reserve.

It’s ‘a stressful time’ for many first-time NFL free agents - Kansas City Chiefs Blog- ESPN

With life-changing money on the line, these are difficult days for all but the highest-ranked NFL free agents.

WR Devin Funchess heading to Colts for 1-year deal - NFL.com

The Indianapolis Colts will dive into free agency with the signing of former Panthers receiver Devin Funchess to a one-year deal, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Drew Rosenhaus: Going to Bills wasn’t up to Antonio Brown to decide – ProFootballTalk

“You know what, I don’t know that there was ever an option for us, quite frankly,” Rosenhaus said. “We never got in that position. It really wasn’t something that was up to us to decide. I don’t think the Steelers and the Bills were able to work something out.”

Antonio Brown trade creates more questions for Gruden, Raiders | SI.com

It sends a mixed message to the fan base. It sends a mixed message to the locker room. It puts tremendous pressure on a quarterback, who, by the way, may not be totally feeling bought in right now thanks to the club’s recent performance at the combine. It does not give you any clout in the “develop young talent” category.

Can Derek Carr And The Raiders Make The Most Of Antonio Brown? | FiveThirtyEight

How Oakland chooses to optimize around its new weapon will define its 2019 season.