The Broncos had a heartbreaking end to a very good 2013 season. It was the second year in a row that the Broncos had a heartbreaking defeat to end the season. The team did reach the Super Bowl this year but they fell short of the ultimate goal. In order to reach the Super Bowl again and win it, the Broncos will need to be very active in free agency and draft well this season. The first step is to resign their own key free agents. Here are the things that the Broncos should make their priorities this offseason with their own key free agents.
Resign CBs Rodgers-Cromartie and Harris
I believe that resigning cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Chris Harris are the top priority for the Broncos this offseason. Both corners played very well this season for the Broncos and the Broncos would be wise to hang on to them. The NFL is a pass happy league and teams need two stud cornerbacks to keep up with the elite offenses.
Keep WR Eric Decker
I know a lot of people think Eric Decker is long gone but I believe that the Broncos need to make him a priority this offseason. Decker is a good WR that is also young. I think that he would possibly be willing to take a hometown discount to come back to Denver. I would rather see the Broncos pay Decker, and pay Demaryius Thomas next year, to get their two young receivers locked up in the future. I would rather see the Broncos keep Decker than hold on to Wes Welker because Welker is older and has concussion problems, which is a concern.
Restructuring Champ Bailey Contract
Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey will take up $10 million in cap space next year and if the Broncos want to make another Super Bowl run they cannot have that much money committed to Bailey. Bailey has lost a step and was injured for most of the year last year but I believe he does have some left in the tank and I would like to see the Broncos bring him back. Bailey has to realize that his play slipped some last year and that the Broncos cannot pay him that much. I also believe that he would not have a lot of suitors if the Broncos were to cut him, which would open the door for a comeback to the Broncos if he is cut. Bailey is at the point in his career where he wants to play for a winning team. I believe the Broncos and Bailey will be able to come to a more cap-friendly agreement to keep him in a Broncos uniform for the 2014 season.
What to do about Shaun Phillips and Knowshon Moreno
Shaun Phillips and Knowshon Moreno both had fantastic seasons for the Broncos this year and became fan favorites, but I believe that the Broncos should only bring them back for the right price. I don’t think the Broncos need to break the bank on either one of these players. I love both players and think they excelled this season and would love to see them in Broncos uniforms next year but I think they may end up expecting more money than the Broncos are willing to spend.
Phillips is coming off a huge year and he really stepped up when players like Von Miller and Derek Wolfe went down. The issues I have with breaking the bank to sign Phillips are his age and that the Broncos have cheaper alternatives. Miller will return to add some pass rush for the Broncos and the Broncos also have promising young pass rushers, Malik Jackson, Quanterus Smith, and Lerentee McCray. Smith and McCray spent last year on injured reserve, but all three make much less than Phillips would be set to make.
Moreno also had a break out year this year and was Peyton Manning’s security blanket. The issue I have with paying a steep price to key Moreno is his inconsistencies. This season was the first season that Moreno really showed that he was not a bust. This was also the first season that he stayed healthy. My worst fear is that the Broncos give him the big contract he deserves and he turns into the injury-prone back he was in his first few years in the league.