Broncos 2015: What Will They do at Kicker?


As we all know, “special” had no place in the special teams for the Denver Broncos.

The last four seasons it has been a detriment to the football team. Anytime the Broncos kickoff or punt, you hold your breath in fear something terrible is about to happen. When Denver returns a kick or punt, you hold your breath in fear something terrible is about to happen.

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The lone aspect of the Broncos special teams that was reliable is the field goal kicker but they have a decision to make on that as well.

As we inch closer to the open of NFL free agency on March 10, John Elway and Gary Kubiak took the first step when they hired Joe DeCamillis as the special teams coordinator. He immediately makes the unit better, and once DeCamillis starts to work with the players they will get even better.

The Broncos will take the next step when they decide to cut Britton Colquitt (which should have happened long ago). The punter eats way too much cap space and has not lived up to that deal the last two seasons. Colquitt has been unreliable and unable to take advantage of playing in Denver for eight games. There’s no doubt the coverage team has done Colquitt no favors, but when you average 38.8 and 37.6 yards per punt the last two seasons, the Broncos may have well gone for it on fourth down.

That production does not warrant his cap number of $3.75 million. If Colquitt is cut before June 1, the savings for Denver is $2.25 million but there’s $1.5 in dead money. If Colquitt is cut after June 1, the savings on the cap goes up to $3 million and the dead money drops to $750K. Hence why Colquitt will get Col-cut.

Dec 21, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones (12) makes a reception during the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. The Texans defeated the Ravens 25-13. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

When free agency opens, Elway, Kubiak and the Broncos should keep an eye on Jacoby Jones who was released by the Baltimore Ravens. As I said on Friday, Jones knows Kubiak very well, and Jones fills an immediate need at kickoff and punt returner as well as the fourth receiver. That move would then allow Denver to cut Andre Caldwell and get rid of his $1.55 million cap number while saving $1.35 million (thus only $200K in dead money). Jones serves as a contingency plan for Jordan Norwood, but only at a price similar to or beneath Caldwell.

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That leaves what Elway, Kubiak and DeCamillis do at kicker. There is no way they keep two kickers on the roster. When it’s said and done, the guy will be Connor Barth. As with C.J. Anderson, Barth earned the right to be the guy with how he produced last season. Barth set records after coming in as the stop gap.

The issue with Barth is his kickoffs. Since he plays in Denver, put him on a high school field with a member of the Colorado Rapids or a specialist everyday until he gets it down. He plays and practices in a situation that should benefit him. For the other eight games, DeCamillis will have him covered (pun intended).

The “special” may actually return to the Broncos special teams.

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Sep 23, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos defensive tackle Mitch Unrein (96) during the second half against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 37-21. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports