The NFL offseason is drawing near, which means the Denver Broncos have decisions to make about in-house free agents. Bradley Roby wants to come back.
Denver Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby has been among the team’s biggest disappointments this season.
The team picked up his fifth-year option and put a lot of faith in him by trading away Aqib Talib to the Los Angeles Rams.
Roby responded by having one of the worst years of his career, or at least one of the most up and down years. There have been some weeks where Roby has looked like the shutdown corner the Broncos drafted him to be, and there are other weeks where he looks like a replacement level starter.
Despite the up-and-down season Roby has had, the Broncos will undoubtedly consider bringing Roby back in free agency if the price is right, and he’s apparently interested in a return.
Just because Roby wants to come back doesn’t mean things will all work out. There’s the important matter of price to consider in a situation like this.
What kind of contract would Roby command on the open market? There are a few factors that need to be considered, but let’s look at the major ones.
Age: 26 (will be 27 in May)
Usage: 68.83% of Broncos defensive snaps played
Forced Fumbles: 8
QB rating allowed: 93.0
The Broncos have utilized Roby as part of their nickel package mostly until this past season when he became a full-time player.
His 68.83 career snap percentage is representative of how the Broncos have really played defense since he came into the league in 2014. Denver is in the Nickel roughly seven out of every 10 plays, and Roby has been a key piece of the defense since he was drafted.
He’s also proven to be a difference maker in five seasons, forcing eight fumbles and picking off eight passes. He may not always be in position, but he can make plays on the ball and is aggressive.
Considering how poor Roby played this past year, it’s safe to assume his value will take a bit of a hit. The class of free agent cornerbacks is also pretty solid on paper, and that doesn’t work in Roby’s favor either.
Still, he’s only 26 going on 27 and it’s reasonable to assume we have yet to see the best of what he can do.
Recent free agent CBs to compare Roby to
T.J. Carrie, Browns (4 years, $31M, $10M guaranteed)
Aaron Colvin, Texans (4 years, $34M, $18M guaranteed)
Bobby McCain, Dolphins (4 years, $27M, $13M guaranteed)
This is the tier Roby has played himself into at this point. He received a pretty hefty guarantee in his fifth-year option as a former first-round draft pick, but it would be a shocker if he makes anything close to that on an annual basis.
In all likelihood, Roby is looking at a three or four-year deal similar to the ones listed above with a year, maybe a year-and-a-half or two guaranteed.
Colvin’s deal is on the high end of guarantees here, but he was also playing much better football at the time of his signing compared to Roby. McCain’s deal is low in total money, but higher than Carrie’s in guaranteed cash.
My guess is, the Broncos would be able to sign Roby for a deal comparable to the one Carrie signed in total money, but more in guarantees.
The Broncos could sign Roby to a four-year deal with about $16 million in guarantees and maybe around $32-33 million in total money.
That deal makes sense for both parties because it gives Roby a bit of stability, it gives the Broncos an out essentially after two years and would also allow Roby to hit free agency again when he’s 30 going on 31 if he plays well through the duration of the deal.
Roby could even opt for less years (and less guaranteed money) to try and get a new contract sooner than that.
This is a deal I would be interested in if I were Denver. Unless you think you can go out and find a veteran cornerback who is a proven commodity at a cheaper price, you cannot justify paying Roby more money than Chris Harris Jr. There’s zero chance of that.
The Broncos have always done a good job of manipulating the cap and finding ways to save money, and they will not have to break the bank if they want to keep Roby. My guess is, his market value around the league is going to be something the Broncos will gladly pay for a player the have relied on for five years now.