Broncos Must Keep Pace in a Suddenly Competitive AFC

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January 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway late in the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots in the 2013 AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

How are the Broncos keeping pace?

In short, GM John Elway and Co. simply need to stick to their original plan going into this free agency period, that being to not break the bank on any one free agent, but to sign many plug-and-play players.

Denver has already addressed the vacancy at tight end, bringing back breakout candidate Virgil Green, whilst signing veteran Owen Daniels and “rookie” Joe Don Duncan. Daniels, if you didn’t know already, has only ever played for Gary Kubiak and his offenses. Last season, he graded out as the sixth best tight end in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

Elway has a ways to go before he can call the Broncos a complete team, though.

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Continuing with Denver’s offensive needs, question marks still hover over the left guard, center, and right tackle positions. The only report that has risen in regards to filling these spots is the possible signing of veteran centers Chris Myers or Stefen Wisniewski. Myers, in particular, is a former Houston Texan under Kubiak and is the most likely candidate to become the Broncos new center.

Currently, various meetings with players have been reported but nothing has actually come of these meetings. Nose tackle Vance Walker was signed Thursday, a great get in its own right, but that’s about it for the Broncos when it comes to defense.

Some solid news to report is that it looks like linebacker Brandon Marshall will be back in the mold in 2015. Marshall emerged as a future star in Denver last season and was playing at an All-Pro level before he got injured in Week 15.

In any case, the Broncos are truly letting the market play itself out.

Yes, you can certainly expect Elway to make some more moves in free agency by the time it’s all said and done, but don’t plan on any Aqib Talib-like signings this offseason.

After all, the Broncos have an incredibly young and talented roster from top to bottom. They have rare depth at almost all of their skill positions, which helps out beautifully when replacing guys like Terrance Knighton and Rahim Moore. Case and point, Julius Thomas (Who?).

In a vastly more competitive AFC, coupled with the loss of seven starters, the Broncos are still top dogs, and they haven’t even done much yet in free agency to prove so.