The talent difference between them and their fellow conference and divisional rivals is stark. There is no sugar coating the fact that Denver’s roster pales in comparison to the likes of the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, and other playoff caliber franchises in the AFC.
According to Broncos general manager George Paton, the franchise is poised to be aggressive in free agency. Both Paton and newly crowned head coach Sean Payton are excited to turn the tides of the franchise around and create a winning vision for the franchise. And both of them know how important this off-season is to start developing that culture.
Being short on picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, it’s obvious the best way for the Broncos to help their 2023 season prospects out is bolstering their roster via free agency. While several positional units are filled with quality players and need little reinforcement, multiple units on both sides of the ball are prime for upgrades.
My simple recipe for success? Fortifying the offensive and defensive trenches whilst reloading the running back stable with diversified rushers who can help take some heat off Russell Wilson.
Without question, the biggest roster concern is the quality and depth of the offensive line. Let’s hope that new offensive line coach Zach Strief is given the resources necessary to improve his unit.
It’s safe to say that Graham Glasgow is a prime candidate to be cut given his high cap number and the harsh reality that his best football days are behind him. Additionally, Calvin Anderson, Cameron Fleming, Billy Turner, Dalton Risner, and Tom Compton are all free agents. At this point in time, it’s unclear whether or not the team will be bringing any of them back as potential starters or depth pieces.
That leaves Garett Bolles, Luke Wattenberg, Lloyd Cushenberry, and Quinn Meinerz as the only in-house options on the roster with NFL experience. Whether it’s offensive tackle, center, or offensive guard—the Broncos are in need of multiple players who can start at a high level and contribute immediately.
Heading into the 2023 offseason, the only backs slated to be on the Broncos’ roster are Javonte Williams, Chase Edmonds, Tyler Badie, and Damarea Crockett. Two of those players are recovering from injury, whilst another (Edmonds), could be released and save the team $6 million dollars in salary cap space. That being said, I do think Badie has upside and can be a productive role player in Payton’s offense.
In-house contributors from their 2022 campaign that are set to hit the market are Latavius Murray, Marlon Mack, and Mike Boone. While it’s certainly possible that Murray is brought back on a one-year deal due to familiarity with Payton’s offense during his time with the New Orleans Saints, it’s mission critical for the Broncos to revamp their running back stable.
This year’s free agent class is loaded with a variety of players who could make an impact for the Broncos next season. While I agree that it’s better to draft running backs than sign them in free agency, I feel it’s in the Broncos’ best interest to do both this offseason. They have nothing to lose by chasing down a veteran back capable of shouldering the load while Williams continues to rehab from his catastrophic season-ending injury.
NFL games are often won in the trenches. It’s been a while since there has been any high-level consistency with the Broncos’ defensive line.
What the Broncos will do with Dre’Mont Jones is one of the biggest question marks heading into this offseason. Even if they keep him, the team could use an extra contributor along the defensive front to help stop the run and get after the passer. But if he ends up signing elsewhere, they will need several guys to come in and help replace his production.
Keep in mind that DeShawn Williams is also scheduled to hit free agency. Whilst not an impact player by any means, it’s important to note he played 52% of the team’s defensive snaps last season—the second most on that unit trailing only the aforementioned Jones.
Unless you are confident that Matt Henningsen, Eyioma Uwazurike, and Mike Purcell are good enough to make up for the difference, it’s probably a safe bet that the Broncos will be pursuing some of the better names available to fortify their unit.
Look to the Horizon
In the coming weeks, the Mile High Report staff will be providing Broncos Country with dozens of player profiles of this year’s free agent class and making our case as to why they would be quality fits for the team’s roster.
Do you agree with these three groups needing the most help? Or are there other position groups that the Broncos should prioritize over them? Sounds off in the comments and let us know how you feel!
What position group needs to be addressed the most in free agency?
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