Recapping every move the Denver Broncos made in NFL Free Agency
It has been a busy couple of weeks in Broncos Country as new Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton, alongside general manager George Paton, set out to improve the team substantially in the first NFL Free Agency period under the Walton-Penner Ownership Group. As historic of a free agency as it was just looking at the people involved, it was even more historic considering how much money the Denver Broncos spent. In the first two weeks of the new league year, the Denver Broncos have handed out a whopping $136 million in guaranteed money alone on new contracts for over a dozen players.
How much better is the roster overall? How much better is the team? The offseason has to be looked at through a completely different lens given the acquisition of head coach Sean Payton, one of the best and most successful coaches in modern football history. Payton's Saints teams won an average of 11 out of every 17 games played while he was with the New Orleans Saints, with 15 years of games to work with as a sample size.
We're going to break down every move that was made, big or small, and talk about some of the major implications these moves can and must have on the 2023 Denver Broncos roster for this team to get back to its winning ways.
Denver Broncos free agency recap: Running back Samaje Perine
The running back position was a very important position for the Denver Broncos to attend to in the 2023 offseason. Javonte Williams suffered a pretty bad injury early in the 2022 season, and his availability for the start of the 2023 season is currently in question. At the very least, the Broncos should not be chomping at the bit to rush him back out there at anything less than 100 percent. That's why the team prioritized signing someone in NFL Free Agency, and they landed a player they feel can help on all three downs in Samaje Perine, formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals.
I can give you my thoughts on this move, but let's let Sean Payton describe it first...
"“I see position flex. If you really watch Perine and study the tape, you see him on early downs, and you see him playing third down. He’s a really good receiver. Obviously, he could block the blitz. He’s big, he’s physical, he’s smart, he’s tough. He’s built to last. That was an important piece for us knowing the injury that we’re dealing with. He was really important.”"- Sean Payton (via Denver Broncos PR)
What Payton says really jumps out in the times you see Perine play for the Cincinnati Bengals. He does all of those little things well and he's got a physicality about him that can wear down opponents over the course of the game. He obviously didn't touch the ball as much as Joe Mixon, but Perine made good use of his touches and targets and the Broncos have found themselves a very trustworthy player on all three downs.
On a two-year deal worth $7.5 million in total money, this is a nice value for the Broncos and someone who can give you peace of mind when you consider the severity of Javonte Williams' injury, the injury Payton is referring to in that previous quote about "the injury that we're dealing with." Perine may not be the featured back in this offense, but he raises the floor of that position group and allows you to go into the NFL Draft with confidence that you've already added someone who can play significant snaps at that position.