The Denver Broncos keep adding players, fighting in free agency for what they need and still falling short. Its early, but Denver has work to do. Dan Salem and Todd Salem debate in part two of this week’s TD Sports Debate. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate the NFL and sports.
The Denver Broncos did not heed your warning. The Broncos signed DeMarcus Ware only moments after our discussion was published, almost rubbing their decision in your face to be honest. Some other interesting news did come out from that same time frame though. According to SI, apparently Denver offered Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie a 6-year, $54 million deal, and he turned it down. They moved on to attempting to get Darrelle Revis (briefly) and then onto Talib as we saw. This now seems like a drastic miscalculation by Rodgers-Cromartie and his brass, but it explains why Denver didn’t immediately sign him back. They tried!
As for what the Broncos can do from here, they still have a number of holes to fill, as we mentioned. Linebacker is an area of need, although a number of the top free agent options are gone. The same goes for offensive line, with the same mantra in response, that a number of the top options have signed elsewhere. If Denver now decides to be patient, is it because they suddenly got smarter or is it just out of necessity? Obviously they couldn’t sign the best player available at every position of need, but it’s interesting to see where they spent their oodles of money.
One cheap option that I am surprised Denver didn’t investigate was trading for Darren Sproles. He seems like a perfect complement to Montee Ball in the backfield, and is there any better back for a Peyton Manning-led offense? Sproles is the ultimate underneath and checkdown receiver, which is all Peyton throws these days. He also came cheap, costing the Philadelphia Eagles just a late round pick in acquiring him.
Since Sproles is no longer an option, does Emmanuel Sanders cut it as the receiving weapon replacement for Eric Decker? He had solid production in Pittsburgh, but supposedly folks were worried about some injury history. He is certainly another big name added to Denver’s offseason collection. There are also a couple of big name, free agent pass rushers still out there: Jared Allen and Shaun Phillips. Phillips signed late with the Broncos a season ago and put together a great year on the cheap. They might be waiting out the market in an attempt to do something similar this season. Of course, they might not be waiting for anything; Denver might be about done with its moves, or certainly winding down, preparing for the draft. If that is the case, how did they do?
Lots of great questions and only one answer when it comes to how the Broncos have fared so far in free agency. I’m trying to think of an analogy that isn’t so sexually crass… they jumped the gun, started the race prematurely, got on the wrong boat. All those fit the outcome as the Denver Broncos filled some holes, but left me less excited than before free agency started. I’m also questioning the team’s direction as a whole.
I don’t think Denver is done; they can’t be. They have too many unanswered questions on both sides of the ball and the NFL draft isn’t going to cut it. The Talib signing was good… before Revis landed with the Patriots. I realize he may have had no interest in going to Denver, once finding out that New England was interested, but overpaying for Talib only to watch his old team sign a better player at the same position leaves the Broncos looking over zealous and behind in the AFC race.
The Broncos have been smart to bolster their defense, however, ignoring the offense at the start of free agency will come back to bite them next season. Letting Eric Decker go was a big mistake. He was Denver’s Mr. Reliable, the man who gelled the offense and the wide receiving core. Emmanuel Sanders is a solid player, a great addition, but he isn’t going to fill Decker’s shoes. The Broncos still need another receiver in my opinion, which brings me to Sproles. Yes he was traded, but Denver should have been all over him. He is both a receiving and running threat, one of the best in the league and a perfect complement to what Peyton Manning likes to do on offense. Maybe Denver is targeting a Sproles style back in the draft, but missing on the man himself with so much money and clout to throw around was disappointing.
Its funny, after nearly a week of free agency very little has changed for the Denver Broncos. But unlike many other teams, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Broncos made the Super Bowl last season and have the best, or at worst second best, quarterback in the league. They will be back next year, playing deep into the post season. And there are a few moves they could have made, or can still make, to push them over the top as odds on favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl again. Those same moves would combat the brutal defenses of the NFC’s best teams, but Denver has yet to make them. They haven’t gotten worse, but spending to stay put is a step back in my book.