Broncos Planning Upgrades For Departing Free Agents?


Denver Post columnist and television personality Woody Paige is one of the most decorated in sports journalism, and he presented some interesting ideas — in ways that only he can — in his latest for the Post.

Paige suggests that the Broncos, who are primed to move on from a lot of big name free agents, could actually upgrade at all the different positions. Despite losing (potentially) all of Julius Thomas, Orlando Franklin, Terrance Knighton, and Rahim Moore, Paige thinks the draft and the open market provide better bang for the buck, and obviously the Broncos agree.

Otherwise, they’d pay their own and make sure they were happy/comfortable.

The suggestions Paige gives are largely nothing new — Maxx Williams at tight end, Dan Williams at nose tackle, Bryan Bulaga or Derek Newton at right tackle, even Devin McCourty as a safety option — but some of the suggestions are fresh and presented in such a way that makes you think the Broncos really could significantly upgrade this team before the draft starts, even as the roster would stand if impending free agents didn’t leave.

Paige mentions role players like Pernell McPhee of Baltimore, Brooks Reed of Houston (reuniting with his former defensive coaches), and even tight end Jordan Cameron of the Cleveland Browns.

More from Predominantly Orange

He also anticipates the Broncos will re-sign all of Virgil Green, Nate Irving, and Quinton Carter, though he’s the first to state that about Irving or Carter this offseason. Those would be nice moves for the Broncos at a low price, and would at least allow John Elway to keep some of his first draft class with the team in tact as he continues to build toward the future.

One thing is for certain — the Broncos are going to have to build a lot through free agency this offseason, no matter what way you cut it. A team with Super Bowl aspirations is not going to let as many holes as Denver has right now go unnoticed or unattended to until the draft, and even if they don’t address all of the needs forthcoming, they’ll still be put in good shape.

The Broncos are a team and Denver is a place that free agents are drawn to. The city is great, the organization is phenomenal, and the new facilities are second to none in the NFL.

Of course, in an ideal world, we could all fall in love with these players, they would re-sign for discounted rates, and no one would ever have to leave and we could just be one big happy family for a decade at a time, recycle, and start over. That’s not the case. Money talks, players talk (looking at you, Pot Roast) — even their dads talk — and ultimately, bridges are burned. But that’s okay in today’s NFL.

The NFL has always had a large hint of “it’s all about who you know” and that’s why the Broncos are funneling free agents to teams with connections. Knighton and Julius are expected to reunite with Jack Del Rio in Oakland. Rahim Moore is an excellent fit for an ailing Bears secondary, now led by head coach John Fox. Those players will get the money they (probably) deserve and the Broncos won’t be any worse off for it. The fans might not like it, but the team is going to go out kicking and screaming. If those guys weren’t part of the long term plan that involves kicking and screaming, Elway has the right to do what he wants to the roster, so he will.

Statistically speaking, Dan Williams could be an upgrade over Terrance Knighton, and like Paige notes, he’s already well-versed in the 3-4 defense. Devin McCourty is a Pro Bowl cornerback/safety who would be an upgrade over Moore. Maxx Williams has the competitive fire it seemed Julius Thomas lacked at times.

If the Broncos want to go out kicking and screaming, Woody Paige’s ideas make a lot of sense.