Taking a look at the long list of Broncos free agents.
The Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 after a dominating performance by their defense. Von Miller was named your Super Bowl MVP and Peyton Manning went to Disney.
Now the confetti is done falling, the Lombardi is back in Denver, and the Super Bowl parade is in the books. This means the long offseason is upon us and it is time to start looking at free agency.
So with that said, let's take a look at all 25 of the Broncos free agents this year.
Unrestricted Free Agents:
The priorities: Malik Jackson and Brock Osweiler:
According to 9NEWS Denver's Mike Klis, the Broncos are making defensive end Malik Jackson and quarterback Brock Osweiler their priority this offseason.
Bronco notes: Osweiler, Jackson are priorities https://t.co/2PGyStK59K #9news #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) February 10, 2016
He says that the Broncos will begin serious contract talks with both during the NFL Scouting Combine which is in two weeks.
Now, what are the chances that the Broncos retain these two players? I think it will be complicated.
Malik Jackson is going to get paid very well this offseason, and it probably won't be by the Denver Broncos.
He is a young interior pass rusher who can play all over your defensive line. Players with a skill set like his are really hard to find. If you combine that with his age, you see a free agent who is going to big contract this winter. I think the Broncos will try to get something done, but ultimately won't be able to meet his asking price.
On Super Bowl Sunday, it was reported that the Broncos and Jackson already had some contract talks late this season. The Broncos offered Jackson a contract, but he turned it down. Soon after that, the Broncos re-signed defensive end Derek Wolfe to a contract extension. Did John Elway move on from Jackson? The report said that the two sides decided to table their talks until after the season, so we will soon find out.
As for Brock Osweiler, I think the Broncos will get something done. I will not guess on the type of contract the Broncos will offer him because it's going to be a complicated one. He's going to be asking for starter money, but only has a total of 7 starts under his belt since being drafted.
I still think the Broncos get this done, they have too. Peyton Manning is done with the Broncos(according to his father) and is likely retiring, Osweiler is a free agent, and that only leaves seventh-round pick Trevor Siemian as the only quarterback on the roster.
The top free agent quarterbacks is Sam Bradford, and the top three quarterbacks in the 2016 NFL Draft will all be long gone by the time the Broncos pick. So Osweiler is probably the best bet for the Broncos.
You have to think Denver is a very attractive landing spot for him as well. He has been here for awhile, knows the city, knows and fits well into Gary Kubiak's offensive scheme, and this defense gives the Broncos a good shot at repeating as Super Bowl champions.
The Franchise Tag: Outside linebacker Von Miller:
Hours before Super Bowl 50 kicked off, it was reported that Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller would be franchise tagged by the team if they could not reach a deal before free agency begins.
REPORT: Broncos plan to place the Franchise Tag on Von Miller #Broncos #SB50 https://t.co/SGWINNQ5FX pic.twitter.com/VsDGbtlMa9— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) February 7, 2016
Von Miller isn't going anywhere this offseason, and probably not for many years to come.
With the Broncos having so many free agents to negotiate with before free agency begins, I think the Broncos will just slap the Franchise Tag on Von and get something done this summer.
Von is likely to become the highest paid defensive player in the NFL, especially after his dominating performance in the postseason this past year.
The 50/50 guys: Guard Evan Mathis, and Safety David Bruton Jr.:
These are two players who I could see get resigned by the Broncos, but at the same time could be replaced by someone currently on the roster.
Guard Evan Mathis fits that bill.
He signed with the Broncos in late August and was penciled in as the Broncos starting left guard. He started off slow due to rust and injuries but eventually turned into the Broncos best offensive lineman. Now he is set to hit free agency and possibly sign the final deal of his career.
I could see him returning to the Broncos next season. He fits the scheme, is coming off a Super Bowl Championship, and is coming off another season of high-level play. So it would make sense for them to bring him back.
Now with that said, they did draft Max Garcia last season to be that guy at left guard. Prior to the signing of Mathis, he was expected to start at left guard, and they gave Garcia plenty of playing time this season. Also, Mathis will be turning 35 years old this year, so he is set to decline sometime soon. So it could go either way.
Safety/Special teamer David Bruton Jr. is a tough one to figure out. He is a team leader and a beloved Bronco on the field and in the community, but he is set for free agency.
This past season Bruton did his usual great play on special teams, but he really stepped up his game on defense. He filled in nicely for safeties Darian Stewart and T.J. Ward at times this season and played rather well.
I think the Broncos will offer him a contract, but will it be what Bruton is looking for? On the Broncos, he is a third safety and a special teams ace. On another team? He could be a starter and earn more money and playing time.
Cornerback Kayvon Webster has turned into a great special teams player who could step into Bruton's role. Also, a third safety isn't that difficult to find.
I hope Bruton returns, but I could see it going either way.
Players likely not coming back: Linebacker Danny Trevathan, running back Ronnie Hillman, wide receiver Andre Caldwell, defensive end Antonio Smith, safety Omar Bolden, tight end Vernon Davis, tackle Ryan Harris, tackle Tyler Polumbus, safety Josh Bush, wide receiver Kyle Williams, safety Shiloh Keo, and wide receiver Jordan Norwood:
Linebacker Danny Trevathan is the headliner on this list.
Danny Trevathan expects the #Bears to be interested in him during free agency #SB50 https://t.co/REUIy4NhiT pic.twitter.com/5Qpirggbvd— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) February 3, 2016
He is coming off a full season workload after an injury-filled 2014 season. He never missed a beat and helped man the middle of the Broncos defense alongside Brandon Marshall.
I just don't see John Elway bringing Trevathan back. It's the one position that he hasn't put a ton of money or stock into since becoming the Broncos General Manager. He let Wesley Woodyard walk, and Trevathan replaced him. Now he will let Trevathan walk, and probably replace him with a younger and cheaper option.
Also, Trevathan is likely to get overpaid on the free agent market. The Broncos are coming off a historic defensive performance, and teams will be coveting the Broncos free agents(again). I just don't see Elway getting into a bidding war for Trevathan.
Ronnie Hillman more than likely played his final snap for the Denver Broncos. He was ineffective during the postseason and just isn't a good fit in Kubiak's system.
I see the Broncos moving on from Hillman and either investing in a back through free agency or taking one early in the draft.
Wide receiver's Andre Caldwell, Jordan Norwood, and Kyle Williams likely won't be back with the team. Neither really played well enough to return, and players like Bennie Fowler, Cody Latimer, and Jordan Taylor will have a chance to step up. If I had to pick one, I think Norwood has the best chance to stick around.
Antonio Smith was a nice veteran addition, but likely only a one year guy for the Broncos.
Tackles Ryan Harris and Tyler Polumbus likely won't be back either. Harris played left tackle in a pinch after Ryan Clady and Ty Sambrailo went down with season-ending injuries. Journeyman Tyler Polumbus was brought in early into the season and really did not play much. He won't be back n 2016.
Safeties Omar Bolden, Shiloh Keo and Josh Bush probably will not return to the Broncos next season. Bolden has turned into an excellent special teams player but has struggled with injuries throughout his career. Keo and Bush were brought in late into the season and the Broncos could do better than that next season.
Restricted Free Agents:
Running back C.J. Anderson, linebacker Brandon Marshall, and linebacker Lerentee McCray:
I have noticed some 'experts' and fans are worried that the Broncos will not be able to retain running back C.J. Anderson and linebacker Brandon Marshall, but no need to worry.
Since both players are restricted free agents, the Broncos will be able to place a tender on the two and they will be under contract for one year for a reasonable price.
I would guess the Broncos would place a first-round tender on linebacker Brandon Marshall and a second-round tender on running back C.J. Anderson.
I expect all three to under contract for the Broncos next season.
Exclusive Rights Free Agents:
Offensive lineman Sam Brenner, kicker Brandon McManus, center Matt Paradis, receiver Bennie Fowler, and linebacker Todd Davis:
These players are not really 'free agents'. They cannot talk to other teams, and the team can keep them around for a fairly cheap price. The only way they become free agents is if the team decides not to sign them to their ERFA contract.
On this list, the Broncos have two starters and a potential starter waiting in the wings. I see all of these guys returning to the Broncos next season.
Kicker Brandon McManus was excellent this postseason, and probably will be the Broncos kicker for many years to come.
Center Matt Paradis went from the practice squad to a 19 game starter and Super Bow champ in one season. He is the Broncos starting center going forward.
Youngsters Bennie Fowler and Todd Davis will certainly return to the Broncos. With Dany Trevathan likely leaving, Davis is the top in-house option to replace him.
Guard/center Sam Brenner could return to provide interior depth along the offensive line. The Broncos saw enough from him to claim him off waivers, so I do not see them letting him go.