The Denver Broncos have been getting slammed on Twitter by many who feel the Bryce Callahan signing was a waste of resources.
Peruse Denver Broncos Twitter for any amount of time over the last 24 hours, and you’re likely to find someone who is mad online with their torch and pitchfork, ready to criticize the front office for the signing of cornerback Bryce Callahan which, to this point, has not worked out.
The Broncos signed Callahan to a three-year, $21 million contract this past offseason and had obviously hoped that he would play a huge role in the defense this season, but it hasn’t worked out.
Callahan was recovering from a foot injury he suffered in December 2018 when he signed with the Broncos, but he was ready for most of the offseason program including training camp, where he was out making plays.
Something happened in training camp, however, where Callahan was stepped on and that is the most likely moment he re-aggravated the foot injury. More specifically, the screw that was inserted to surgically repair his foot was bent.
That has caused discomfort that some players try to just play through, but Callahan hasn’t been able to play through the pain and ultimately, was placed on injured reserve this week, ending his 2019 season.
His absence through nine games drew enough criticism from the fan base, not only towards John Elway for signing him but towards Callahan as well for not being able to play.
Many in Broncos Country seem to think that this move, in hindsight, was a waste of time and have already written off Callahan as a Bronco, which is a shortsighted take and I’m here to tell you why.
As Vic Fangio stated on Friday, the foot injury Callahan suffered is not uncommon, and for that type of injury, his surgery was ‘routine’. There was nothing from the original injury indicating it would be a longer recovery than it should have been, and the bent screw in Callahan’s foot was more the exception than the rule.
That alone should indicate that this was more of a freak issue than the masses would lead you to believe, but the fact of the matter is, even if the Broncos were taking a calculated risk by signing Callahan, they were doing the right thing by signing him.
On a per-snap basis, Callahan has been one of the most productive cornerbacks in the NFL over the past four seasons.
In exchange for his productivity on the field, the Broncos paid $21 million over three years with $10 million in guaranteed money. Those $10 million in guarantees rank Callahan 35th in the NFL among cornerbacks in guaranteed money, just ahead of former Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby, who got $9.5 million in guaranteed money over one season from the Houston Texans.
The $10 million in guarantees over the course of a three-year contract makes Callahan a bargain, even if he only ends up playing one or two seasons for the Broncos.
Even if Callahan doesn’t play at all, this type of move in free agency is one I would want the Broncos to make 10 times out of 10. Callahan is a fantastic player when healthy who was coming over from Vic Fangio’s defense in Chicago, and plays a position of critical importance in this defense.
The Broncos haven’t gotten immediate returns on their investment in Callahan, but he’s a stud when he’s out there on the field and it speaks to his talent that the Broncos would take every possible measure to get him on the field in 2019.
Hopefully, Callahan will get surgery on his foot sooner rather than later and be able to participate in most of the Broncos’ offseason program, but this move was not a bad one by the front office, nor was it a poorly researched move based on a player’s injury history.
What happened to Callahan’s foot to cause him to miss the season was atypical of this kind of injury, and as Fangio said, hopefully a trip to a better hardware store for a new screw will result in all of us seeing what Callahan is capable of bringing to this defense.