The Denver Broncos secondary seemed to be a hot topic all season long, particularly at cornerback.
From Tracy Porter’s medical issue that led to the rise of Chris Harris and Tony Carter, to the wear and tear of a long season that led to their respective demise, cornerback play seemed to be up for discussion every week. Bring up the topic of soon-to-be 35-year-old Champ Bailey, and everyone seems to have an opinion whether he should move to safety.
Regardless of how you feel, the Broncos will be looking to acquire a cornerback or two this off season for stability and depth. Harris does better in the nickel, Carter isn’t ready to be a starter on the outside just yet. Omar Boldin also needs another year to mature before making the jump to a starting role.
It makes sense for the Broncos to look at the free agent market to pick up a starting right cornerback. Let’s take a look at who’s out there.
Antoine Cason – In theory, Cason has all the necessary tools to be a shut down corner. That’s what the San Diego Chargers thought when they drafted him in the first round of the 2008 draft. He’s been a healthy starter, never missing a game in his career, and he has at least two interceptions in each of his five seasons.
He’s struggled against bigger receivers and his play has been inconsistent. However, with Bailey as a mentor and a very aggressive pass rush, Cason could thrive with the Broncos. With a new coaching staff, the Chargers don’t necessarily have any loyalty to Cason so there’s a good chance that they won’t re-sign him.
Cary Williams – The Ravens have a lot of big contract decisions to make, and they don’t have the funds to keep everyone.
On the open market, Williams has a big price tag on his head. He had 75 tackles, 4 interceptions, 1 sack, and 17 passes defended to accompany his 2012 Super Bowl ring. He would be an asset in any secondary, but the Broncos can’t pay him what he will likely be asking for.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie - Rodgers-Cromartie is more affordable, and brings consistent play with him. He can match up against any one at 6’2,” and with his sub-4.3 speed. Last season, he had 51 tackles and 3 interceptions for the Philadelphia Eagles.
This is another guy that would thrive with a team that has a good pass rush.
Chris Houston – After three seasons with the Atlanta Falcons and three seasons with the Detroit Lions, Houston has 11 career interceptions.
A second round pick out of Arkansas in 2007, Houston has missed nine career games.
Greg Toler – Toler is a big role-of-the-dice. His monster year came in 2010 when he had 90 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and a sack in 14 games. A torn ACL forced him to miss all of 2011. Last season, he had 27 tackles, and 2 interceptions in 11 games.
Leodis McKelvin – If the Broncos didn’t have Trindon Holliday, I would say give McKelvin a good look.
He’s mediocre on defense, but really shines through on special teams. For the Buffalo Bills last year, he had over 900 yards in kick and punt returns combined to go along with two touchdowns. On defense though, he had 21 tackles and an interception in limited action.
Making a play for Antoine Cason or Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie might be worth it in this stocked free agent market.