Denver Broncos: Ranking each of the team's free-agent losses

The Denver Broncos had what seems to have been a strong offseason, but a few players won't be back in 2020.

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ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 24: Derek Wolfe #95 of the Denver Broncos runs onto the field before an NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on November 24, 2019, in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)

Turnover is generally always high in the NFL. It's the nature of the business. Since the beginning of free agency back in the early 1990s, NFL teams have to strategize with the salary cap in order to help decide which players to keep and which players to move on from.

This offseason, John Elway and his staff elected to make the biggest splashes through trades, acquiring both A.J. Bouye and Jurrell Casey in swaps with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans, respectively.

The team also signed Graham Glasgow and Melvin Gordon as priority free agents, but there were a few players who moved on for more money, a better opportunity or were just weeded out by the team.

The players that the team lost this offseason will be the focus of this discussion and the rankings will be determined based on a criteria of what that player meant to the team and what the team did to fill that hole.

So, the "best" player may not necessarily be in the No. 1 spot if the team did a good enough job finding his replacement whereas a role player may be higher on the list if the team did little or nothing to replace him.

With that in mind, here are those players, ranked in descending order.

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Casey Kreiter leaves Denver after 4 seasons as the team's long snapper. 

5

Casey Kreiter

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Replacement: Jacob Bobenmoyer or Wes Farnsworth

Casey Kreiter was solid in four seasons with the Broncos, even qualifying for the Pro Bowl in one of them. In 2020, he'll be suiting up as the long snapper for the New York Giants.

A simple snap from center can be one of the most simple, yet crucial, aspects of the game. It is often overlooked because many fans expect it to be automatic. that exchange is amplified when it is the long snapper who makes sure all punts and field goal attempts get off without a hitch.

Kreiter did that as well as anyone could have been expected after being signed by the Broncos ahead of the 2016 season. Prior to that, he spent two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys but was never given much of an opportunity there.

To replace Kreiter, the Broncos will have both Jacob Bobenmoyer and Wes Farnsworth in camp.

Bobenmoyer is likely seen as the favorite right now after being signed by the team in March. He played at the University of Northern Colorado in college and while there, handled long-snapping duties while also playing some defense as an edge rusher.

Farnsworth was signed by the Broncos following the conclusion of the 2019 season. Undrafted out of Nevada, he signed with the Miami Dolphins but failed to make the team.

Kreiter was a better option than both of these guys, but the Broncos made no real attempt to re-sign him following the season. Hopefully whoever wins the job can show the same level of consistency that he once did.

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4

Connor McGovern

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Replacement: Lloyd Cushenberry or Patrick Morris

Another player the Broncos didn't make a great effort to re-sign this offseason was Connor McGovern, who then accepted a three-year, $27 million deal from the New York Jets. He is in line to be the team's starting center there.

That is the position he used to hold in Denver and while that center-quarterback combination is important to keep intact, the team has capable replacements.

The Broncos used a third-round pick to obtain Lloyd Cushenberry, the guy who played center at LSU last season with Joe Burrow. The Broncos have lost their last two starting centers to free agency but Cushenberry is the kind of player who could be in that role for the next decade.

If he is not ready to go in Week 1, the team has a lot of confidence in Patrick Morris, a player who has gained a lot by working with Mike Munchak in each of his two NFL stops.

McGovern started in 31 games over the last two seasons and became a solid piece of the offensive line. But in today's NFL, you can't keep everyone and the Broncos felt they could get better at the position without bringing him back.

Aside from Cushenberry and Morris, the Broncos also have free-agent signing Graham Glasgow, who could also chip in at center if needed.

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DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 15: Will Parks' departure leaves a hole at safety. 

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Will Parks

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Replacement: Trey Marshall

This is the spot where the Broncos didn't bring anyone in to replace the guy they lost. Because of that, Will Parks almost moved up to the No.2 position on this list.

But that also speaks volumes about how the team feels about Trey Marshall, the guy who will likely see the snaps Parks used to get. He'll need to be ready to have his number called.

The Broncos are thin at the backup safety spots, but they are also confident in Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson as the starters. If Marshall can follow their lead, the team should be fine.

Parks was a player many fans appreciated for his ability to check in on many different down and distances and make plays all over the field, filling the team's "dime backer" role. But he wasn't outstanding in coverage and he was a player the team could afford to lose.

He has 148 total tackles, four interceptions and 13 pass deflections during his career.

It will depend on what the team gets from Marshall, but he played well down the final stretch of last season. If he can keep that pace, there's no reason to believe he can't give the team the same things Parks did. If he struggles, the team has little else to go on in terms of a No. 3 safety.

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Derek Wolfe

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Replacement: Jurrell Casey, McTelvin Agim

The team did a much better job in replacing Wolfe than they did Parks, but you can't discount what Wolfe meant to the team in his eight years with the team. Besides, the replacements listed were brought in to address the entire defensive line more than just to replace Wolfe, who most felt would leave this offseason.

At one point, it seemed like the two sides would come to an agreement to keep Wolfe in Denver, but he decided to take a one-year. $3 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens.

In his time with the team, Wolfe had 299 total tackles and 33 sacks. But it was the leadership and mentality he brought to the defense that will be what is missed most.

The former second-round pick was one of the better defensive players of the last decade in Denver and wasn't always given that kind of credit considering the caliber of defensive players that he played with.

He had at least 5.5 sacks in four of his eight seasons and despite several different injuries, played in 108 of a possible 128 regular-season games. He also helped the team win Super Bowl 50 as part of one of the best defenses in recent memory.

Wolfe should be sorely missed by fans. It will be tough to see him suit up for the Ravens.

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1

Chris Harris, Jr.

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Replacement: A.J. Bouye

Not only did the Broncos lose Chris Harris, one of the best cornerbacks in team history, but he then signed with a division rival. This was easily the team's biggest free-agent loss, even if it was a bit expected.

When the Broncos traded for A.J. Bouye, the writing was on the wall for Harris to start looking for a new home. He found that home with the Los Angeles Chargers, turning down bigger money offers to sign with them, likely because he wants to face his former team twice per season.

Harris was always available on gamedays and always brought consistency and solid play to the field, often shutting down some of the league's best wideouts. In 139 career games with the Broncos, he had 20 interceptions, returning four for touchdowns.

But the true value of a cornerback is the stats you don't see and that is because opposing teams start to shy away from throwing the ball in their direction. During the prime of his time in Denver, Harris was definitely that guy.

Now, worse than seeing Wolfe with the Ravens, the Broncos will see Harris twice a season as he lines up for the bitter rival Chargers. You know that he is just licking his lips for the first time Drew Lock comes his way with the football.

Next: Where does Chris Harris rank among best CBs in Broncos history?

Harris seems to have left on bitter terms with the front office, but hopefully, when his playing career is done, that can all be patched up and he can retire as a Bronco and enter the team's Ring of Fame.