John Elway: What Will He Do With His Own Free Agents?


The question is not so much who John Elway targets, but who of his “own” he targets. Or keeps.

As we inch closer to the new NFL year in early March, and with it the start of free agency, that’s the most intriguing aspect of the offseason for the Denver Broncos. Fans of the Broncos and the NFL know that Elway will remain a big player for free agents if it helps the team “from now on.” As he showed last offseason when he signed Emmanuel Sanders, Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward and DeMarcus Ware.

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It’s also clear that Elway keeps the in-house players he deems valuable and “must keep.” One could presume those players this offseason are Demaryius Thomas, Orlando Franklin and Terrance Knighton.

But who Elway decides can walk should fascinate Broncos fans. There’s no doubt some in Broncos Country will be surprised by some of the players put on that list (though they shouldn’t be).

It’s already been speculated that safety Rahim Moore is out. Local talk radio show host Brandon Spano reported that Denver will let Moore go unless it can get him back at a huge discount. Moore’s replacement could be filled a by guy already on the roster in Kayvon Webster – who would make the move from cornerback to safety (I like the move and don’t think Moore should be back). Elway and the Broncos could also look at the draft for a safety.

What about tight end Julius Thomas? He’s expendable and not needed; especially if/when Denver re-signs Virgil Green, who, by all accounts, is just as a good of an athlete as Thomas but also can block. When given the chance, and in this new offense, Green will shine.

Dec 28, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Virgil Green (85) makes a catch in front of Oakland Raiders defensive back Ras-I Dowling (36) for a touchdown in the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 47-14. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The players Elway decides to let walk or cut is so intriguing. What does he do with his two kickers? What about Britton Colquitt? The terrible (and that’s being nice) Manny Ramirez? Tony Carter? Nate Irving? Wes Welker? Jacob Tamme? Mitch Unrein?

What Elway does in this area will give fans and the rest of the NFL an idea of how this roster will start to take shape, and who he could target in free agency. And perhaps the draft.

The next few weeks are huge for next season, and it has nothing to do with Peyton Manning and his decision (he is coming back). This is about the other 52 guys on the Broncos’ roster and who Elway decides makes the cut or gets cut. The next few weeks will show Broncos Country who will lead the organization to its third Lombardi Trophy.

The next question: Of the guys Elway does decide to let go, how many end up in Chicago with new Bears head coach and quitter John Fox?

Let the fun, and speculation, begin

Next: Are there any safeties on the Broncos' wish list?

Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) warms up before the game between the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports