The always anticipated free agent period officially begins Tuesday in the NFL. The Broncos have not only the challenges of bringing in championship caliber players, but also resigning some of their own.
Here’s a to-do list for John Elway as he looks to shore up the AFC champion Broncos.
- Let Eric Decker walk. The Josh McDaniels draft pick became a top commodity thanks to Peyton Manning. He’s in the market as a number one receiver even though he may be the third option in Denver behind Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker. He could give the Broncos a hometown discount, but will probably get paid handsomely by a team willing to overspend.
Possible replacements-Golden Tate, Kenny Britt, Paul Richardson (draft)
- Re-sign Knowshon Moreno. The Broncos are currently a finesse team. The only chance they have of winning a Super Bowl next year hinges on whether Elway pulls the trigger on nastier guys. Moreno was the heartbeat of the Denver offense, running with purpose and bouncing up after getting tackled. The former University of Georgia tailback doesn’t have immense upside at this point in his career, but he’s the best available at his position. Plus, Montee Ball would benefit from another year splitting carries with Moreno.
Other options-Donald Brown, Ahmad Bradshaw, James Starks
- Get an impact defensive lineman. Both Robert Ayers and Shaun Phillips may not be back next year. Would Elway be so bold as to grab Tony McDaniel or Clinton McDonald from the Super Bowl champion Seahawks? It would make sense.
Other options-Justin Tuck, Kevin Williams, Ziggy Hood
- Upgrade at cornerback. Broncos’ fans will be thrilled to not see Quentin Jammer as a starting cornerback anymore. Let’s hope Chris Harris returns to form once recovered from his season-ending injury. The Broncos need to make sure Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie doesn’t go anywhere. He was the team’s most valuable defensive player in 2013. If there’s money left over, Elway should toy with signing Aqib Talib. Talib is one of the most underrated cornerbacks in the NFL and can create turnovers. It’d also be fun to take another top player away from Bill Belichick one year after grabbing Welker.
Other options-Charles Tillman, Captain Munnerlyn, Drayton Florence
- Make a splash at safety. Mike Adams played solid in his several years as a Bronco. But he’s an older safety and doesn’t produce game-changing plays. Antoine Bethea, Jairus Byrd and Donte Whitner strike fear into quarterbacks and receivers. Any of the three would remind fans of Steve Atwater and John Lynch, the last two quality safeties to wear a
Other options-Chris Clemons, Steve Gregory, Yeremiah Bell
You can’t win the Super Bowl in March. But you can take a step backward with a poor free agency period.
Elway will be under the microscope more so now than any other point in time as boss of the Broncos.