With free agency right around the corner and more than a month and a half from meaningful Bronco football, let’s take another peek at the soon to be Unrestricted Free Agents who donned our beloved orange and blue last season and get real about their future with the Broncos Franchise.
I wrote about this same subject right after the end of the season, but looking back it seems like my takes were hesitant, optimistic, and honestly made without a clear idea of the future direction for the team.
So let’s set the table a little better and give some much needed direction to the discussion topic. The Broncos from all we’ve heard and seen believe in the direction Head Coach Vic Fangio is taking this team. And with every new head coach, it takes time to build the roster to their needs.
This team is changing identities and letting the legend of bygone years be history. For any decision the General Manager of the Broncos faces, it will need to be with the future in mind and what players will be able to be impactful for this team over the span of the next 2-3 years if not longer.
Decisions will be made shying away from injury risk, aging players, and JAGs. The roster is going to be younger next year and get a much needed infusion of talent from both free agency and the 2020 NFL Draft. Now that we have that bar set, let’s go back over the main list of free agent decisions for the Broncos:
Chris Harris, Jr.
I love me some Strap. But the guy doesn’t makes sense for this team any longer. He’s probably looking at the twilight of his career and he’s not a scheme fit for what we do. Chris is best used man to man vs the slot. Denver’s scheme needs a player that can do more at a high level in zone and they can’t afford to pay him enough to keep him just so we can all enjoy our CHJ nostalgia. At the end of the day is JAG in this defense and as an aging player isn’t a guy we can lean on for 2-3 solid years because of it.
I also love me some Derek Wolfe. I’m not backing down from my original statement that Wolfe had a stellar year in 2019. His leadership and high level of effort is never in question. But the injury risk is real and he is and older defensive end. I’m more of a push on bringing him back at this point.
Shelby is going to straight up get paid this offseason and it won’t be by the Broncos. Fans may not want to hear that, but it is what it is. His impact isn’t high enough to justify the huge contract he’s worth for a team like ours. As another guy who’s near the twilight of his career, I think his play is far more likely to fall off in two years than to stay at the level we saw last season.
Now here’s a guy that hits all the marks. He’s young. He doesn’t appear to be an injury risk. He’s a guy that looks like a big-time impact player for the next 3 years or more. He’s worth the expensive contract or the Franchise Tag.
As much as we all want to throw out Mike Munchak’s name as the balm for the woes of our offensive line, you need some level of continuity in today’s NFL. With McGovern you have another guy who looks to be good for the next 3 years easily. He’s proven he can start and play at a high level. While he may not be the best C in the game by a long shot, he’s a guy you can move to either G position and feel good about. All of that being said, he’s another guy that is going to get paid here or elsewhere...a savvy GM may let him go elsewhere as it will likely end up bringing us a high compensatory pick in return.
Will Parks, Adam Gotsis, Davonte Booker
The marks against bringing Parks back is that he’s the epitome of JAG. Sign a youngster in the draft and let Parks look for a fresh start elsewhere.
Sadly, Gotsis also suffers from JAG syndrome. DeMarcus Walker seems to be in every way an upgrade on our roster over Gotsis.
And rounding out the day, Booker has been JAG for a couple of years now at running back.
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