The Denver Broncos have several key free agents to worry about after the Super Bowl, and one of them is feature back Knowshon Moreno, who had a breakout year. Part of it was thanks to genuinely improved play from Moreno, but he also has to thank arguably the league’s best offensive line, as well as the “Four Horsemen” and Peyton Manning for creating easy running lanes. The Broncos high-flying passing attack gave Moreno easier fronts to work with, and the line paved the way to perfection. But it’s easy to downplay Moreno’s accomplishments too much, because he was a workrhorse this past season for the Broncos offense and gave the team important balance. Plus, he ran for 1,309 yards and ten touchdowns and was a consistent threat on the ground.
That said, the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Broncos do not expect to be able to re-sign Knowshon Moreno (as in, they want to sign him but probably won’t, and it sounds like cap issues are the main reason), and this news doesn’t come as much of a surprise. They are going to run up against cap issues this offseason, and Moreno isn’t a priority to re-sign. After all, the Broncos did take Montee Ball with a high pick for a reason, and the rookie out of Wisconsin showed plenty of promise. Ronnie Hillman is also a nice change-of-pace back, so they can afford to lose Moreno and probably don’t have the money to afford him. It’s important to remember that this report is an early one and is just an expectation, but it makes sense that the Broncos aren’t expected to keep Moreno.
Make no mistake, though, losing Moreno would be a tough blow to the Broncos offense, because he is underrated as an all-around back. I mean, he did haul in 60 passes for 548 yards and three touchdowns this season, and he is also a great, smart pass protecting back. Even though Manning helped Moreno accumulate those receptions and the line took care of plenty of blitzers, Moreno is definitely a skilled back on passing downs and can play all three downs as a result.
It will be interesting to see where the solid, well-rounded RB ends up in free agency, and my guess is that if he doesn’t stay with the Broncos, he will be a significantly-used No. 2 back. For now, though, the main focus for both Moreno and the Broncos is definitely on the Super Bowl, and the easy-to-root-for RB will look to have a strong game against a dominant Seattle Seahawks defense.