The Denver Broncos agreed to terms with two free agents during the first day of the NFL’s legal tampering period of free agency. Here we’re going to review the grades these reported agreements have received from our flagship, SB Nation, website.
The first came in the form of a soon-to-be 31 year old cornerback from the Houston Texans in Kareem Jackson. Jackson finished among the top ranked cornerbacks in 2018 and should fit in very nicely with Vic Fangio and the veterans on the Broncos defense.
Broncos sign: CB Kareem Jackson
The longtime Texan is headed to Denver on a three-year, $33 million deal. The Broncos needed secondary help and Jackson is still a good player. He’s also almost 31, which makes for a slightly long-in-the-tooth (in football terms at least) cornerback duo with Chris Harris Jr.
Short-term grade: B+
Long-term grade: C+
Despite the age factor, I think this is a good pick up and instantly breathes life back into the No Fly Zone that had taken a huge step back with the departure of Aqib Talib. The caveat now is that both he and Chris Harris Jr. will “grow old” together, which could leave the Broncos in a situation where they lose both of their top cornerbacks to either expiring contracts or father time.
Given all that, it’s hard to agree with either SB Nation’s short-term or long-term grades here.
The Broncos second agreement went to the offensive side of the ball with right tackle Ja’Wuan James getting a healthy contract offer to come to the Mile High city.
Broncos sign: OT Ja’Wuan James
Did the Broncos need offensive help? Yup — especially after trading for a statue like Joe Flacco. Did the Broncos need a right tackles? Also yup. Jared Veldheer is a free agent and was pretty average last season anyway. Was Ja’Wuan James one of the best tackles in a limited OL market? Yup again.
But did they really need to make him the highest-paid right tackle in the NFL? Four years and $52 million is steeeeeeeep.
Short-term grade: B-
Long-term grade: C-
John Elway really wanted James and made sure it happened with the massive contract. This deal ensures the Broncos have the right side of the line locked down with a player who is actually talented after spending several years using revolving doors at the position until Jared Veldheer came in last season and played well enough not to spark rage from fans.
While I agree with their short-term grade, I think they are a bit harsh on the long-term grade. The contract numbers with each passing free agency will just continue to go up and up, so while it seems like a steep price for a right tackle today it may look like a bargain in two years. I’d give the Broncos a B for their long-term grade here.
How would you grade the Broncos first two free agent agreements?