Drayton Florence thought he was going to be making $4 million this season in Buffalo, but once the Bills drafted CB Stephon Gilmore 10th overall, they were forced to get rid of 31-year-old Florence.
The Broncos swooped in quickly and gave the cornerback a two year contract worth $4.5 million (with up to $1 million in incentives).
The Broncos cut Andre Goodman who appeared to lose a step and picked up Florence and Tracy Porter in free agency, and also drafted Omar Bolden. That’s a nice mix of guys to cushion around Champ Bailey and Chris Harris.
“All good teams in the league have competition at every position, and that’s how you build a successful team,” Florence said.
He understands that there’s competition in the secondary and nobody is guaranteed a spot except Bailey. Florence feels that his age is going to help, not hinder him in that regard.
“The older you get, the smarter you should be getting,” Florence said. “You’ve seen a lot. Nothing should really be new. Week in and week out, you know how to prepare for teams. In this business, you’ve got to keep improving. If you don’t you won’t have a job.”
Florence has bounced around from coast to coast during his ten year career. He was drafted out of Tuskegee in the second round of the 2003 draft by the Chargers. That’s where he played his first five seasons and became very familiar with the Broncos which included Jake Plummer, Rod Smith, and Ashley Lelie on the roster.
“I enjoyed my time out in San Diego playing against the Broncos,” Florence said. “This division was always tough. The team that won that division usually had a pretty good chance at winning the Super Bowl.”
Then Florence played a year in Jacksonville under Jack Del Rio. After that, it was on to Buffalo in 2009 where he put together a 60 tackle season his first year there. Last season, Florence had 50 tackles, 3 interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), and 1 forced fumble.
Florence is looking forward to his time in Denver. He expects to be playing from ahead for much of the time which gives the defense a lot of opportunities.
“That’s going to be fun,” Florence said of playing with a lead. “The type of offense we have, it enables the defensive coordinator to send a lot of pressure on the quarterback.”
That makes the secondary’s job a lot easier and it gives them a chance to make plays on errant passes.
Now that Florence is riding the tail end of his career, he’s looking to the future. He wants to leave the league as a player with a Super Bowl ring. Then he wants to get into the front office side.
“I’ve been around this game a while,” Florence said. “I know what it takes to build a winning team. I know what kind of guys you’ve got to have to have that atmosphere.”