With the legal tampering period coming to an end at 2:00 p.m. Mile High time on Wednesday, the NFL’s new league year officially starts. Which means all of the transactions and signings the Denver Broncos have reportedly made, will become real.
The team has made some trades, plenty of roster decisions, and a couple of free agent offers. Let’s review what becomes official this afternoon.
Let’s get the big ones out of the way right out of the gate. Several weeks ago, the Broncos traded a fourth round pick to the Baltimore Ravens for the services of quarterback of Joe Flacco. We will finally get to see people actually talk about the new Broncos quarterback without violating any stupid NFL rules.
The next shoe to drop was moving on from Case Keenum, which the Broncos were able to do by swapping a 2020 seventh round pick for a sixth round pick with the Washington Redskins and picking up half his contract costs for 2019.
Both ended up giving the team hope for better quarterback play in 2019 under new offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello. While that is far from a certainty, at least we have something new to see for this season. I’m all for the revolving door at quarterback until they find someone who can actually play. It reminds me of the 1999-2002 era when Mike Shanahan searched for John Elway’s replacement.
Broncos Players Re-Signed
There were four exclusive-rights free agents and several contract options picked up by the Broncos leading up to free agency week. The big ones were bringing back cornerback Chris Harris Jr, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, and defensive end Derek Wolfe. All three are major contributors at their positions.
The ERFA’s that will be back this season are offensive tackle Elijah Wilkinson, safety Dymonte Thomas, wide receiver Tim Patrick, and special teams ace/linebacker Joe Jones. They also brought back Pro Bowl long snapper Casey Kreiter on a one-year deal.
Possibly the most underrated move was placing a second-round tender on defensive lineman Shelby Harris who has developed into a pretty damn good player since coming to Denver in 2017.
Broncos Free Agent Additions
The Broncos made two reported signings during the legal tampering period and are now reportedly headed to the bargain bin waiting for some prices to come down on players they might be interested in.
The first big news to break for the Broncos was on Monday evening when it was announced the team had agreed to a 3-year, $33 million deal with cornerback Kareem Jackson, formerly of the Houston Texans. He was graded out as the fifth-best cornerback in the NFL by Pro Football Focus and by all accounts should thrive under the Vic Fangio defense. He finished 2018 with 87 total tackles, one sack, 17 pass deflections, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
Before the night ended, however, the Broncos were able to lock down another agreement. That one with former Miami Dolphins right tackle Ja’Wuan James who will receive a four-year, $52 million deal. With James, the Broncos hope to finally solve their multi-year long woes at the right tackle position and help keep Joe Flacco out of duress in 2019.;
Broncos Free Agent Losses
A lot of players hit free agency as unrestricted free agents, including several impact players that are going to be hard to replace in 2019.
The full list of departing free agents are OLB Shaquil Barrett, CB Tramaine Brock, G Max Garcia, C Gino Gradkowski, TE Jeff Heuerman, WR Andre Holmes, DT Zach Kerr, TE Matt LaCosse, C Matt Paradis, TE Brian Parker, DT Domata Peko, OLB Shane Ray, CB Bradley Roby, S Darian Stewart, CB Jamar Taylor, WR Jordan Taylor, G/T Billy Turner, T Jared Veldheer, ILB Jerrol Garcia-Williams. The Broncos also declined to pick up ILB Brandon Marshall’s option, which means he’ll be a street free agent officially on Wednesday.
There will be no bigger loss than Paradis signing a three-year, $27 million deal with the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday. With that, and losing most of their depth at the edge rusher and tight end positions, the Broncos definitely have some holes to fill.
How are you feeling about the Broncos moves leading up to the official start of free agency?