The first wave of free agency is over and things have slowed down after a fast start by the Denver Broncos. They addressed the offensive line by signing right tackle Mike McGlinchey and left guard Ben Powers to big deals to hopefully upgrade that unit. They then found Dre’Mont Jones’s replacement by signing ascending defensive lineman Zach Allen to a multi-year deal as well. Those three were the big signings, but they continue by signing run-blocking tight end Chris Manhertz, running back Samaje Perine, fullback Mike Burton, and cornerback/returner Tremon Smith to smaller deals as well.
The Broncos also brought back some of their own as well. They re-signed linebacker Alex Singleton, safety P.J. Locke, and cornerback Essang Bassey as well. So, the Broncos were active during free agency, but there are some remaining free agents out there that may interest them as prices start going down.
So, I am going to give you some top remaining free agents that may interest the Broncos in the second wave of free agency.
1. Running Back Latavius Murray
This seems destined to happen at some point this offseason. Head Coach Sean Payton had Murray in New Orleans and then raved about the veteran back at various points this offseason as well. Add in the uncertainty with Javonte Williams knee and it would make sense to add the Broncos leading rusher in 2022.
Sean Payton specifically mentioned Latavius Murray. Said he's one of the favorite players that he's coached. Hopefully that means Murray is back here in 2023— Romi Bean (@Romi_Bean) February 6, 2023
Despite being 32 years old, which is up there for a running back, he totaled 703 yards on the ground, five rushing touchdowns, and averaged 4.4 yards per carry. That’s pretty solid for a rotational back, especially in that offense with all the struggles they had. So, it would make a lot of sense for the Broncos to reunite with Latavius Murray.
2. Center Ben Jones
The Broncos have made significant upgrades along their offensive line during free agency by signing right tackle Mike McGlinchey and left guard Ben Powers. However, they have one glaring hole remaining that they could still address, and that is at the center position. That is why I think former Titans center Ben Jones would make a lot of sense for the Denver Broncos.
Playing through pain, and leaving it all on the field.— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) March 10, 2023
Ben Jones gave the @Titans all he had pic.twitter.com/FBkuJM2BrU
After all the money spent and upgrades along the offensive line, I highly doubt Sean Payton is content with moving forward with Lloyd Cushenberry at center. Now, cap space limitations could limit them there, but I suspect that center is high on their list of remaining needs for this team.
Jones has been the center for the Titans since 2016 and has been amongst the best centers in the league during that span. He is coming off a Pro Bowl appearance in 2022 and would be a perfect for the Broncos. They are expected to be run-heavy this upcoming season and Jones has been in a run-heavy offense for years and opening up running lanes for Derrick Henry. If the Broncos can make this work, it should be a no-brainer signing.
3. Defensive lineman Calais Campbell
The veteran big man was surprisingly released by the Baltimore Ravens prior to the start of the league year and should interest the Broncos. He was born and raised in Denver and it would only make sense for him to end his likely Hall of Fame career in Denver.
One former Broncos player and former teammate of Campbell agrees and has been doing some recruiting to get Campbell to join the team.
Derek Wolfe texted Vance Joseph about Broncos signing Calais Campbell - Denver Sports. Breaking News!!! https://t.co/otkpw9AyW5— Darren McKee (@DMacRadio) March 14, 2023
Former Broncos defensive lineman Derek Wolfe texted defensive coordinator Vance Joseph about the team signing Campbell. It’s unclear what came from this, but it makes a ton of sense.
Campbell’s days of being an every-down player are over, but the big man offers a ton of value and upside as a rotational player for them. However, his biggest contribution to the team may come off the football field. He is known as a great person and someone who could help build a winning culture back in Denver. If there is mutual interest and they are able to make it work, it seems like a good deal for both sides.
4. Wide receiver Mecole Hardman
Even if the Broncos do not end up trading one of their receivers, they desperately need some speed added to this unit. Former second-round pick K.J. Hamler was supposed to give them this, and still might, but he cannot be trusted with his lengthy injury history. Both Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick are big-bodied receivers who lack that extra gear. Jeudy does have speed but the Broncos need more, especially if they are going to do more play-action bombs with Russell Wilson. This is why I think the Broncos' should consider signing former Chiefs speedster Mecole Hardman.
Mecole Hardman playing a game of hide-and-seek a touchdown!— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 24, 2022
: #BUFvsKC on CBS
If Hardman’s price drops and there is a mutual interest, it would make sense to add someone who can stretch the field and be a deep ball specialist for the team. It is a strength of Russell Wilson and one I think we will see head coach Sean Payton lean on at times.
I think this is a need they could address during the draft as well, but if only five picks currently and none until the third round, that could be difficult. So I think it would make some sense to add from the hated divisional rivals here and get yourself a dynamic and very fast weapon for your offense.
5. Center Conner McGovern
The former Jets center started his career with the Broncos and could possibly reunite with them this offseason. He is coming off a very solid year where he started every game and took every snap for that offense. He is the type of player the Broncos need.
Holy shit was Connor McGovern COOKIN' vs CHI yesterday... @BrandonThornNFL @MitchSchwartz71— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) November 28, 2022
Here's a few different ways he blocked the playside 1T in the wide zone scheme
Jets/Vikings game is going to be pic.twitter.com/8LvIM5MDLw
With the Broncos, he was known to be a mauler and for his strength at the point of attack. That seemed to carry over to his time with the Jets and he has turned himself into a solid starting center in this league.
He fits the mold of a player the Broncos are seeking this offseason. He is a mauler, someone who will get push in the running game, and someone who brings a nasty streak. He would be an instant upgrade over Lloyd Cushenberry. If the Broncos can make this work, this is another no-brainer move for them to make during the second wave of free agency.
6. Wide receiver Marquez Callaway
This is a Sean Payton special.
Callaway did not do much for the Saints this past year, but during Payton’s final year with the Saints, he had a solid year. He played in all 17 games and had 46 receptions for 698 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Jameis goes deep for Marquez Callaway! #Saints— NFL (@NFL) October 3, 2021
: #NYGvsNO on FOX
: NFL app pic.twitter.com/RuTjEHF7R7
As I said earlier, the wide receiver position could still see change. There is still talk that at least one Broncos receiver could be traded before the draft, and if so, Callaway would make sense as a replacement. He knows Payton and has had success with him in the past. We have already seen the Broncos add one former Saints receiver and I do not think he will be the last.
Other notable free agents who may interest the Broncos
- CB Marcus Peters
- RB Damien Harris
- S John Johnson
- S Taylor Rapp
- RB Devin Singletary
- TE Irv Smith Jr.
- S Adrian Amos
- CB Bradley Roby
- IDL Matt Ioannidis
- TE Foster Moreau
- RB Jerick McKinnon
- IDL Shelby Harris