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Outside the obvious, who do the Broncos NEED to bring back?

Justin Simmons isn’t going anywhere. Is he the only free agent Elway should retain?

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos
Simmons isn’t going anywhere. Who else should return to the 2020 Broncos?
Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

So the big names being thrown around in the Broncos’ free agent discussions are obviously Chris Harris Jr. and Justin Simmons. Elway has already said Simmons won’t go anywhere and that they want to keep him around. Fangio echoed as much.

Meanwhile the Broncos’ future Ring of Famer looks all but certain to test the market, in no small part because of a desire to find a better role. While some have clung to his age and Denver’s numbers against number one receivers as evidence it’s time to move on, it’s also pretty clear that primary receivers could have torched the defense even worse if Harris hadn’t moved from his traditional slot to take the best opponents. The Broncos were juggling every other corner spot all season, so it’s hard to blame Strap if he wants to find a team with more talent around him.

Beyond those two though, there are 26 members of the 2019 team who have expiring contracts. I wanted to get a feel for everyone’s thoughts, so I decided to ask the MHR crew. Our conversation is edited for clarity.

JoRo: So outside of Justin Simmons, who is the one free agent you feel John Elway NEEDs to bring back?

Scotty: Probably Wolfe.

Taylor: UFA only, or RFAs and ERFAs too? ’Cause De’Vante Bausby.

Scotty: No one else really screams NEEDs to be back. Does Bausby really fit in the NEED category though? It would be nice, but not a backbreaker if he left.

Taylor: If you don’t bring Bausby back and CHJ is gone, it’s Callahan and a pile of horse droppings at CB. Besides, the dude was balling before he got hurt.

Joe Mahoney: I’m sticking with McGovern. Familiarity and continuity on the OL should not be undervalued. If we bring him back, we may be able to get by with no new starters on the OL in 2020.

LT - Garett Bolles

LG - Dalton Risner

C - Conner McGovern

RG - Elijah Wilkinson

RT - Ja’Wuan James

Jeff: McGovern, Bausby, Wolfe. The Price/Fit/Continuity ratio makes them all make sense, in my opinion.

Joe M: Joe just asked us to pick one besides Simmons, though.

Scotty: Yeah, read!

Jeff: McGovern, then. I’m assuming Bausby comes back anyway. He’s cheap AF.

Scotty: RFA’s are usually guaranteed back anyways.

Taylor: That’s why I asked the question.

Ian St. Clair: Jeff goes with the “ALLOFTHEM” response.

Jeff: ʕ ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°ʔ

Joe M: Bausby, Mike Purcell, Cyrus Jones, Brandon Allen, Joe Jones and Wilkinson are all RFA’s.

Scotty: Joe put emphasis on NEED and none of them really fit that category for me. Simmons is a NEED. Wolfe? Alright...McGovern? The market pushes him towards more of a NEED but talent-wise he doesn’t fit that for me. Wolfe is likely re-signed anyways. Shelby? Good player but not keen on the big deal at his age. Probably end up keeping Wolfe over him anyways.

Joe M: I’d say we NEED continuity, familiarity and stability on our OL.

Jeff: McGovern is top for me because of exactly what Joe said. Continuity on the Oline is huge. I’d still like a RG change but even keeping four of five starters is just something that hasn’t happened in Denver in forever and would be key for the Olines development.

Plus, Oline is literally the #1 bitching point from fans for the last five years and everyone bags on Elway for not being able to draft it (which was fair for a season) or fix it, so when he finally drafts a gem in the later rounds and we finally have a homegrown Oline guy to keep, we let him walk?

Plus, McGovern is versatile and is still growing, in my opinion.

Scotty: CHJ? Not really a fit in the defense and while some may view it as a NEED...reality is going against you.

Joe M: I don’t think we’ve resigned a drafted OL player since Clady.

Denver has drafted 24 offensive lineman this century, but has not retained one after their rookie contract since Ryan Clady.

Scotty: You’re keeping three out of five regardless...maybe even four. Continuity is there either way.

Jeff: Bolles also spoke to McGovern keeping them all on the same page and making calls, etc. so he’s a key cog. Three come back for sure, but having four come back + getting flexibility to draft either C or OG in the draft and slotting McGovern wherever is big too.

Scotty: A Bolles’ quote is how you’re trying to sell the readers?


Scotty: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Jeff: That was a pretty good burn.

Scotty: Wasn’t meant to be really. Honest question!

Joe M: If McGovern’s contribution is notable enough for Hodor to remember it, then it must have been significant.

Scotty: Will McGovern want Guard money over Center money? Guards usually earn more per year than Centers.

Joe M: Except his resume is mostly as a Center, not as a Guard.

Scotty: He played more guard than center during his career.

Joe M: That’s like a closer for the Yankees trying to sell himself on the free agent market as a starter.

Scotty: Wrong punter stat man. He was a tackle/guard in college.

Joe M: Had to put it in baseball language for you

Scotty: Played two seasons at center out of necessity... can play guard just as well if not better. And guards get paid more.

Joe M: And Mariano Riviera was a starter in HS. What’s your point?

Scotty: Just dealing you some facts

Joe M: Guards get paid more if they have shown that they are good at playing guard in the NFL. Mcgovern was not very good in 2018 at Guard, at least according to PFF.

Scotty: PFF is how you’re trying to sell the reader?

Swing and a miss.

Joe M: Unfortunately, there is no other OL metrics out there beyond sacks allowed.

Scotty: Some baseball terms for ya.

Taylor: Scotty out here firing shots.

Scotty: Just returning some fire!

Joe M: Baseball analogy with a golf GIF. Love it.

Scotty: Two birds with one stone!

Joe M: Now all we need is hockey and soccer to complete the set.

Scotty: Joe is going to have to do a good deal of editing.

Narrator: He did.

Joe M: So, I’ll go with my own evaluation of McGovern since you don’t like PFF. He sucked at guard.

Scotty: Neat! Unless his agent is terrible, it will be brought up in talks and since guards earn probably will. Versatility is always a good thing and he can start at all 3 spots. So just going forward viewing him as a center would be very naive.

Joe M: If he could have played OT in the NFL, he would have already. If Jake Rodgers is playing a position over you, you’re not playing that position in the NFL. Viewing him as a T is equally naive.

Scotty: He was never going to play OT because of his measurables. Nobody is viewing him as a tackle?

Joe M: I read all three spots as C/G/T

Taylor: Scotty meant G/C/G

Scotty: Left guard, center, right guard

Joe M: Fair Enough

What do you think Broncos’ Country?


If you can only pick one, who does Elway NEED to retain?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    Derek Wolfe
    (477 votes)
  • 32%
    Conner McGovern
    (376 votes)
  • 11%
    De’Vante Bausby
    (132 votes)
  • 13%
    Shelby Harris
    (160 votes)
  • 1%
    Other (Please Comment)
    (20 votes)
1165 votes total Vote Now