What is the Broncos’ top priority in free agency 2023?

Denver Broncos, Dre'Mont Jones (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos, Dre'Mont Jones (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

The 2022 season has uncovered a bunch of needs for the Denver Broncos. What should their top priority be in the coming free agency period?  I think the answer should be obvious, but the team does have needs on both sides of the ball.

So, let’s break it down.

In the coming free agency period, the Broncos are not projected to have a ton of cap space, but they can easily create plenty by releasing and restructuring players and their contracts.  Also, now that the team has a cash-rich ownership group, the free agency period might be a bit easier for the team.

I would say to look to the Los Angeles Rams and how active they have been in free agency with a cash-rich owner for how the Broncos could operate.

The team, with the right moves, can get themselves into the $40-$50 million range for 2023, which is plenty to overhaul certain parts of the roster.

Broncos top priority in free agency 2023?

The first unit that needs love is the special teams.  Both Brandon McManus and Corliss Waitman are having terrible seasons and should be replaced.  It’s weird that the team cut Sam Martin for Waitman in the first place.

McManus is on a rich kicker contract and has been one of the worst starting kickers in the NFL this year.  It’s about time for the team to move on from the only roster holdover from Super Bowl 50.

Kickers and punters are easier to find than most positions, so while these two positions are needs, they aren’t super urgent nor should they be hard to fill.

What about the defense?

Well, you’d like to re-sign Dre’Mont Jones and Alex Singleton.  The only other free agent of note is Kareem Jackson, but he’s had a down year and likely won’t be brought back, so there really isn’t much of a loss there.

The team will likely put a tender on Jonas Griffith and bring him back, so focusing on retaining Alex Singleton and Dre’Mont Jones are huge.

I think an extension for Singleton gets done rather easily, to be honest, but my concern is Dre’Mont Jones, and I have a feeling based on conversations I’ve had that he is not returning to the Broncos. If that’s the case, Denver may need to dip in free agency to find a replacement or look to the draft.

With players like Randy Gregory, Baron Browning, DJ Jones, and Josey Jewell still on the team for 2023, the front seven should likely be fine even if Dre’Mont Jones leaves in free agency.

The offense is the big one that needs the most attention. The team will likely make additions within each position group on the offense.

The quarterback room needs a legitimate backup for multiple reasons.  The tight end room needs a higher-quality veteran presence behind Greg Dulcich.  The running back stable is going to miss Javonte Williams in all likelihood for a chunk of 2023, so a new RB1 will need to be brought in.

The wide receiver room will need new faces.  All of the projected top four have or were injured this year.  KJ Hamler should be traded, and the team cannot rely on Tim Patrick returning from a torn ACL until he can prove it.

Courtland Sutton is likely not going anywhere, but the trio of Sutton, Patrick, and Jerry Jeudy have not been able to stay on the field much together, so a new face or two that can contribute significantly will need to be figured out.

With all of that said, the biggest and most urgent priority for the Broncos in the 2023 free agency period is the offensive line.  The unit regressed this year under Butch Barry, but there is an overall lack of talent within the unit itself.

To me, the only safe player on the starting offensive line for 2023 is Quinn Meinerz.  I do think there is a scenario where everyone else could be replaced.  It’s a huge need, and a formula that the team might follow to fix this unit is to simply bring in multiple free agents like the Bengals did last year.

Their offensive line took some time to get going, but over the last six games, that unit has not allowed more than two sacks in a game and has kept Joe Burrow more upright this year.  Denver needs to follow the same formula and open up their checkbooks to bring in some talent along this unit.

Russell Wilson needs to be kept upright, and the offensive line is the biggest priority in 2023 for the team.