When Brandon Marshall left Denver for Miami before the 2010 season, some heads and jaws dropped as we wondered who would fill the big shoes that Marshall left behind.
Brandon Lloyd stepped up and led not only the team, but the entire NFL in receiving yards that season. Initially when Lloyd packed his bags for St. Louis in October, people had their reservations about letting him go. Yes, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker were next in line and the team could pepper in Eddie Royal, but was it enough?
While the Broncos receivers came up with some big catches at times, the number of drops significantly rose. Was it their inability to gel with their new quarterback? Were they caught off guard when a ball was thrown in their direction rather than keeping it on the ground? Was an overall lack of experience the issue? These were all questions that popped into our heads when a ball was dropped.
Royal is a free agent this year, but he said that would like to remain in Denver. Thomas and Decker have another year of experience under their belt and a full offseason to work with the coaching staff as opposed to the locked out offseason last year.
Do the Broncos need to bring in an experienced veteran wide receiver though?
Let’s take a look at some options.
Dwayne Bowe – The Chiefs will resign him. They may not be consistent at QB, but this receiver makes the pass game look better than it really is.
Deion Branch – He wants to stay in New England, but the Patriots may look somewhere else to enhance their deep threat. Branch is 33 years old and struggles to get open at times but he averaged 46.8 yards per game and had 5 touchdowns.
Plaxico Burress – Red flag off the field and in the locker room.
Marques Colston- If the Saints can’t afford to resign him, he will be a huge pickup for any team. Colston is big and has great hands. In five of his six seasons, he has at least 1,000 yards receiving and seven TDs. This acquisition would automatically make Tim Tebow a better QB.
Pierre Garcon – The Colts will make huge effort to keep Garcon. The team is trying to make Andrew Luck’s transition to the NFL as easy as possible.
Ted Ginn – His numbers have dropped since entering the NFL, but we can’t rule out a Brandon Lloyd-type guy here. His stints with the Dolphins and 49ers haven’t sparked anything spectacular, but entering his sixth year in the league, maybe all he needs is the right fit. He averaged 15.7 yards per game with the 49ers in 2011.
DeSean Jackson – Another guy who the Broncos can’t afford and don’t need in the locker room.
Vincent Jackson – High risk, high reward guy. Two DUI arrests in three years spark the red flags, but he’s a game changer.
Stevie Johnson – The Bills would really like to keep him. Tebowing in the end zone is fine, but Johnson’s end zone antics often draw penalty flags.
Brandon Lloyd – He won’t come back to Denver after a somewhat ugly departure.
Mario Manningham – Manningham will demand a lot of money, but as the Giants’ third receiver, they will have a hard time offering him a giant contract. He’s on the Bengals radar.
Robert Meachem – Meachem is like Manningham in that he will demand a large contract and he’s also on the Bengals radar. Meachem averaged 38.8 yards per game and had 6 TDs for the Saints in 2011.
Laurent Robinson – As Tony Romo’s go-to guy, his highest priority is staying with the Cowboys.
Jerome Simpson – His impending court case will play a major role in how his free agency period plays out. His flip was heard and seen around the world, but so was his indictment on drug charges.
Steve Smith (Eagles) – Played in just 9 games and had 13.8 receiving yards per game.
Mike Wallace (RFA) – Tremendous wide receiver that could be let go if Todd Haley scraps the Steelers’ current offense. He averaged 74.6 yards per game and had 8 TDs.
Reggie Wayne – Another guy the Colts want to keep around for Andrew Luck.
Wes Welker – The Patriots will likely slap the franchise tag on him.
Roy Williams- Had 33.8 yards per game and 2 TDs with the Bears last season.
Should the Broncos spend some money on one of these big name free agents or do they bank on Thomas and Decker evolving?