Good morning, Broncos Country.
While today is officially the start of the free agent period, John Elway and his staff have already been busy making moves. The Denver Broncos kicked off their free agency endeavors by agreeing to terms with two high-profile players on Monday night. Defensive back Kareem Jackson and offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James fill major needs on the roster, but even with those two in the fold — the Broncos’ roster still needs a lot of work.
After missing out on Johnathan Hankins who re-upped with the Oakland Raiders, the franchise still has a big hole in the interior of their defense at nose tackle. According to Benjamin Allbright, the team could look to bring back veteran Domata Peko on a one-year deal. If that doesn’t work out, I wouldn’t mind the Broncos kicking the tires on Malcolm Brown, who would fit the mold as a two-gap run stuffer on the interior.
Fans who were hoping the team would acquire a high-profile inside linebacker to be a dynamic playmaker in Vic Fangio’s defense are likely disappointed. All the top names signed elsewhere, but with contract values soaring for players like Kwon Alexander and C.J. Mosley, it’s easy to understand why the Broncos weren’t suitors for either of them. There aren’t many options left on the market, which is why I’d expect inside linebacker to be a position the franchise targets early on in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Denver could also use an addition at the tight end position. Speculation is that the team is monitoring Jeff Heuerman, who is currently a free agent. Other options include Darren Fells and Jared Cook. James O’Shaughnessy and Luke Stocker would fit the bill of quality run blocking players the team could add as depth. Even if the Broncos add one of the names above, I would still like them to take advantage of a deep prospect class via the draft to bolster the long-term efficacy of the unit.
Whether or not the Broncos will add another safety remains to be seen, but in the link above, Allbright mentioned the team is high on Will Parks’ future. Despite falling out of favor with the coaching regime last year, Su’a Cravens has a shot to carve a niche for himself in this year’s squad.
I’m ecstatic that the Broncos were able to acquire James and Jackson — two players I spoke highly of for the past few months as logical and quality fits in the Mile High City. But despite their acquisitions, the roster still has a lot of holes that need to be addressed before the franchise is able to become true contenders in the near future.
With cap space tight after the major signings, it’s unlikely that the Broncos will be in the market for any top-tier players left in free agency. Though one should expect a handful of bargain bin acquisitions to be announced in the coming days. This makes this year’s draft even more important for the team and we are all hopeful they will put together another quality class of prospects to bolster the future and foundations of the franchise.
As always, thank you for reading and here is today’s offering of Horse Tracks.
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Packers add trio of high-priced free agent defenders - NFL.com
The Green Bay Packers are upgrading their defense. Ian Rapoport reports the Packers are expected to sign former Ravens edge rusher Za'Darius Smith and former Bears safety Adrian Amos.
Cameron Wake leaving Dolphins to join Titans - NFL.com
Cam Wake and the Tennessee Titans have agreed to a three-year, $23 million deal, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported, per a source, on Tuesday evening.
Chiefs expected to trade pass-rusher Dee Ford to 49ers - NFL.com
The Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers have agreed to a trade involving for Ford in exchange for a 2020 second-round draft pick, Ian Rapoport reports.
Browns agree to trade for Giants WR Odell Beckham - NFL.com
Odell Beckham, Jr. is headed to Cleveland. The Browns have agreed to trade for the Giants wideout, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported, per sources informed.
Le'Veon Bell expected to sign with New York Jets - NFL.com
Le'Veon Bell is heading to New York. Bell, after sitting out all of the 2018 season with the Steelers, is expected to sign with the New York Jets, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.