The Denver Broncos are a list of many needs. Despite the abundance of surplus capital the front office has had to play with over the past few design cycles due to swapping and acquiring compensatory choices, resulting in a greater number of cost-controlled rookies on the team, a quick look at the Broncos’ current depth chart would be any fan uncomfortable.
This is not surprising, given that the Broncos are tied for the second-longest playoff drought in the NFL currently dating back five seasons (surpassed only by the New York Jets with 10 consecutive years of no postseason). With problems in the coaching staff, instability in the front office, and a lot less than great draft years and generally unsatisfactory quarterback play, it’s just too many variables that count for the Broncos.
Despite the Broncos’ recent stay in the land of the incompetent teams, things really seem to be heading in the right direction in Dove Valley. The Broncos have one of the more engaging young assault weapon groups in the league, a young toolsy quarterback with an achievable advantage, an ascending attack line, and the spirit of the defensive flavor du jour in the NFL with Vic Fangio’s defense of the match quarters. The struggles have been painful, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
But as a team coming out of a 5-11 season with money to spend versus the rest of the league, where should the Broncos buy this off-season in free agency and the NFL draw? The Broncos have a fair amount of salary cap, even after the recent flurry of new deals and new signings, which will be enough to hopefully fill as many gaps in the two-deep depth chart as possible before the concept takes off.
After all, free agency is about addressing needs, while the concept is about adding the best talent available. But what are the ‘needs’ of the Broncos from now on?
On the doorstep of free agency, NFL.comis Adam Maya has tried to identify the greatest selection needs of all 16 AFC teams entering the off-season. Unsurprisingly, given the allocation of resources to the offense over the past two years, the Broncos’ greatest needs all end up on the defensive side of the ball to safety, pass rusher and cornerback according to Maya, but thankfully the Broncos controlled a few of those boxes last week in the Von Miller option, re-signing Justin Simmons and signing by corner kicks Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller.
The Broncos got off to an early start by re-tagging Pro Bowl safety Justin Simmons. Long-term trapping of the budding star appears to be the next step. Its high price tag could spell the end of fellow security Kareem Jackson in Denver. Von Miller is also still on the books, but if he were to return for next season, it would presumably be a restructured deal. However, the Broncos’ pass rush will look very different in 2021, regardless. Shelby Harris is a free agent and Jurrell Casey has already been dropped after playing in just three games last season. Cornerback will be further addressed in the wake of AJ Bouye’s release.
Maya was certainly right when she said the Broncos needed a corner back. It was so obvious that it was not at all shocking to see GM George Paton throwing some pet dollars into the free agency position and he could follow suit in and the design. However, it was somewhat surprising to see the mention of safety and edge rusher, but that was before the Broncos re-signed Simmons, moving from Kareem Jackson, and choosing Miller an option.
With Shelby Harris re-signed and Jackson gone, security is defensively the biggest remaining need, but let’s not negate Denver’s need at linebacker either, a position the team is reportedly looking for more athleticism in this off-season. . Another offensive tackle to add depth to the position given Ja’Wuan James’ long-drawn-out sabbatical of football, and an experienced quarterback to compete with the incumbent Drew Lock, are all also options to fully meet Denver’s greatest ‘needs’. to fulfill.
RELATED: Broncos Free Agency Tracker: Signatures, Cuts, Tenders, and Rumors
The Broncos were a bad team, but with what appears to be a good young offensive core, the brains of the most sought after defense plan in the NFL, currently with Fangio, and some cap space and a top-10 pick in the 2021 draft, this team will hopefully close the gap on the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West and make their way back to the playoffs for the first time since Super Bowl 50.
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