Broncos free agency: Best remaining available free agents

Hicks could be a special addition in the Fangio scheme.

So the Denver Broncos came away from Day 1 of legal tampering in free agency with a new defensive back and starting tackle, easily the biggest pressing needs. I can’t say I have some sort of in depth insight on Kareem Jackson as I’ve yet to look at his film with any focus. I will say it was a move that originally made the list you’re about to read. It looks like the kind of short term move that should fill out the depth chart prior to the draft. Still, it left me with a couple questions.

If you’re sure Kareem’s going to be an All Pro super stud, you probably aren’t worried one bit. I can’t be certain, as every report I read on him suggests 2018 was a career year.

So as I look to study up on him this week, I’m left wondering if the Broncos just paid for market rate for the best year of his career and he’s about to regress to the mean. 1 yard may not seem like a lot, and there’s multiple factors at play, but consider this: in 2018 Jackson outperformed Kyle Fuller. In 2017 Orlando Scandrick averaged less yards per pass.

As for Ja’Wuan James? It’s a big deal. $13 million is no joke, historical even, but here’s the thing. It’s also the fair price for a starting tackle in this market. There is little doubt that James was the best option in front of the Broncos and Elway has shown previous interest. I’m going to study the tape to get a better read on it, but if Munchak likes the guy enough to sign off I’m for it.

The Broncos apparently feel that signing Ja’Wuan James and Kareem Jackson are preferable to high 2020 compensatory picks.Meanwhile, the Dolphins will get a 3rd rounder on the board for James. https://t.co/l2CUea37P8

— Nick Korte (@nickkorte) March 12, 2019

Anyways, beyond the big moves, I know many in Broncos Country saw the moves being made yesterday afternoon and began to sweat the Broncos inactivity. Here’s the thing though, what other deal made yesterday do you wish Elway would have made?

There’s still plenty of talent to be had. Let’s take a look.

Offensive Line

Matt Paradis – He made #7 on my Most Valuable Broncos rankings. At one point yesterday he looked destined for the Jets, but as I hit the hay Mike Klis broke this news.

Billy Turner – #25 on my list, but the versatile tackle/guard is a valuable commodity. If he comes home Denver has a starting guard or swing tackle.

Broncos also re-started talks with versatile O-lineman Billy Turner today, although his status is now unclear given the agreement with RT Ja’Wuan James. #9sports

— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) March 12, 2019

Andy Levitre-There was a long streak where the ex-Falcon was one of the better guards in football. Now he’s 32 and coming off a season where he played in 2 games. But for a decent price he could step in as a solid short term option.

Ty Nsekhe-A longtime backup tackle, the 34-year old looked promising when given a chance to play. He’s nowhere near a first option, but could give the Broncos a strong veteran option at an affordable contract.

Tight End

Darren Fells -The thing that should make Fells such an enticing option to any GM is that he won’t count against his new team’s compensatory picks in 2020. That he can play is a huge bonus. With Jesse James off the market, he’d be a decent well rounded tight end and short term solution.

Jared Cook -I suspect he’s going to make some big money, but if the Broncos want a veteran receiving tight end Cook is the best on the market.

Jeff Heuerman -With how shallow this free agent market is, it wouldn’t be a complete surprise if the Broncos find a way to bring him back into the fold.

Defensive Line

Danny Shelton-A former first round pick to the Browns, Shelton has flourished with New England. At 6’2 344 lbs, he’d be just what the doctor ordered at nose.

Linebacker

Rumblings the last few days were that Ravens LB CJ Mosley could wind up getting around $16 million per. Turned down a good offer in Baltimore.With Kwon Alexander getting $13.5 million, that doesn’t seem out of whack.

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 11, 2019

Last I checked, it looked like it’d be the Browns, Colts, or Ravens.

Jordan Hicks – Hicks is one of the better “B” tier free agents on the market. There’s some serious questions due to his injury history, but if he can stay healthy he’d provide Denver with a special skillset as a true coverage linebacker.

K.J. Wright -He’s been on a bit of a decline in recent seasons, most notably in pass coverage. He also played just 5 games for the Seahawks last year. For a short term deal though, he could be worth a flier.

Jamie Collins – Like Darren Fells, Collins was released by the Browns. Unlike Fells, Collins was one of the best, more versatile linebackers in football when he played for New England.

Aaron Lynch -Lynch makes sense because he played for Fangio with both the 49ers and Bears. He’d fit as a strong depth player on the edge.

Defensive Back

Adrian Amos -With the way the safety market blew up yesterday, Amos may well get something between Mathieu’s and Collins’ deal. He remains my number 1 free agent want because he was that good with Fangio, but cost is now a huge question. Reports last night were that the Broncos are out of the race.

Bryce Callahan – Like Amos, Callahan’s on this list in no small part because of his past success under Vic Fangio. Also like Amos, reports suggest the Broncos are done pursuing him.

Pierre Desir – Mum’s the word on where Desir’s likely to land, though if the Colts want him, they certainly have the room under the cap to do so. He’s a strong tackler and would fit the new scheme.

Darqueze Dennard -Dennard’s a bit of an odd duck on this list. He was a strong run defender last year but needs to improve his play against the pass. A former first round pick, he fits the kind of talent that Fangio claimed to like taking chances on.

Jason Verrett- How lucky can you get? With Verrett that has to be the big question as he only has one season since entering the league where he suited up for more than 6 games. He was a stud for the Chargers in 2015, but that was a long time ago. Perhaps Elway can strike gold on a one year deal.

Mock Draft Monday

10. Drew Lock, QB – If Elway’s ideal is the rocket armed gunslinger, Lock’s the best option in the next two drafts. A lot of work needs to be done, but I expect this to be the pick at 10.

41. Deionte Thompson, S – If the Broncos miss on Adrian Amos Thompson could soothe the broken hearts. Has legitimate Pro Bowl potential and some of the best secondary coaches in the business.

71. Julian Love, CB – A gamer who’s willing to attack the run game. Broncos would be lucky if he’s here in the third.

125. Bobby Evans, OL – A toolsy tackle prospect who could eventually step in on the left side if needed. Munchak gets an athletic 300 pounder to mold.

148. Kaden Smith, TE – May project as an inline TE2 type, but the Broncos could use stability there with little else on the roster and a think veteran market.

156. Dontavius Russell, NT – A 4 year starter in the SEC. Russell has the frame and game to give the Broncos an answer in base personnel.

182. Ben Burr-Kirven, LB – A bit undersized, Burr-Kirven may be limited to special teams but has the kind of range and game you want to root for. Forced 6 fumbles over the last two seasons.

237. Miles Boykin, WR – A shot in the dark, but Boykin has the kind of athletic tools guys taken 3 rounds before him would kill for. If he can put it all together the sky’s the limit, but has a long way to go.

On to your Broncos links

The Denver Broncos found themselves a corner! They have reportedly signed Kareem Jackson to a 3 year, $33 million deal.

Two of the best players on the roster are definitely staying in Denver for at least another season.

If the Denver Broncos are looking for a veteran speed receiver, it’d pay to reunite John Brown with Joe Flacco.

Orange and Blue Radio’s Andrew Mason argues they are not, and Ryan Edwards points out some compelling reasons players may choose the Raiders as a ‘destination’ instead.\

NFL Free Agency is upon us, and most people believe the Buffalo Bills will address the right tackle position. Erik Turner breaks down the film on Ja’Wuan James and Daryl Williams, two of the premier options.

BRONCOS Drew Lock, QB, Missouri John Elway has reportedly been smitten with Lock since the fall. After back-to-back losing seasons, Elway hopes he’s finally found his long-term franchise quarterback.

10) Denver Broncos: Ed Oliver, DL, Houston Last year, the Broncos added an elite edge rusher in Bradley Chubb, and bolster their pass-rush with a versatile defensive lineman capable of lining up at the three, five, or seven technique and provide relentless pressure on the quarterback.

The quarterback world continues to turn in Denver, with Case Keenum out after just one season and Joe Flacco now in. Nobody believes Flacco is a long-term solution under center, and whether he’s even a viable short-term starter is debatable. If there is a quarterback available that the Broncos and John Elway like they should pull the trigger. Word is they like Lock. Physically Lock has it all, including a prototypical frame, a very strong arm and terrific athleticism as a former prep basketball standout. There isn’t a throw Lock can’t make and at times he looks like a true franchise signal caller. The term “arm talent” was invested to describe a guy like Lock. The issue is consistency as he does not handle pressure well and tended to struggle against better competition. Even though Lock clearly possesses top of the draft talent there is too often a disconnect with the results on the field, so the precautionary Boom or Bust label may be appropriate. With that said Lock is going to be easy for some team to talk themselves into because he’s so toolsy and charismatic with such tantalizing upside.

The Broncos met with a few of these guys at the Combine.

After taking some time to reexamine players coming out of the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, Daniel Jeremiah updates his ranking of the draft’s top 50 prospects. There’s movement up and down the board.

Catching up with the rest of the NFL

The Texans had hoped to keep safety Tryann Mathieu. They won’t. Per multiple reports, the Chiefs will sign Matthieu when free agency opens on Wednesday. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that it will be a three-year, $42 million deal.

3. The case of Chiefs pass-rusher Dee Ford will be worth watching now, particularly with Justin Houston officially gone. So why is Kansas City willing to part ways with a guy who posted 13 sacks last year? As I understand it, with new DC Steve Spagnuolo in town, Ford might not have a home in the base defense or even the early-down sub packages, because of his issues holding up against the run. That’s not to say Ford can’t play for Spagnuolo—he’s a high-end pass rusher, and in today’s NFL there’s great value in that, even if it’s all you do. But if Ford will be just a situational player for Spags, it’s hard to justify giving him a contract in the range of what, say, Von Miller is making. Or even to pay him the $15.5 million attached to the linebacker tag (since he was a ’backer last year). From what I’m hearing, he would go for a second-round pick. The Packers and Niners remain in the mix, but both want to wait until after the first wave of free agency is complete, so they can take a look at pass rushers there, before getting more serious on the Chiefs star.

The Raiders and offensive tackle Trent Brown have agreed in principle to a four-year deal worth $66 million with $36.74 million fully guaranteed, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

Damn, that was quick — just 10 minutes into the open negotiating period. It leads me to believe there might’ve been some illegal tampering going on… https://t.co/rfaaRQPubi

— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) March 11, 2019

The Eagles are bolstering their defense. Per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, Philly is signing defensive tackle Malik Jackson to a three-year deal worth $30 million.

Even if the price is high for Malik (which should now be Sheldon Richardson’s floor), I appreciate how PHI accommodates their top asset (Fletcher Cox) by surrounding him w/talent on both sides (DT/DE), ensuring offenses have to pick their poison when designing blocking schemes.

— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) March 11, 2019

Nick Foles has a new team, one that comes as no surprise. The Super Bowl LII MVP is expected to sign a four-year, $88 million deal with the Jaguars, a source told NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

The Lions have landed yet another former Patriots player. Detroit is expected to sign DE Trey Flowers to a five-year deal worth more than $16 million per year, Ian Rapoport reported.

The Titans are expected to sign Adam Humphries to a four-year deal worth $36 million, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo reported.

With the Bucs losing DJax and possibly Humphries, here is a comparison between Combert and Licht adding receiving weapons.I don’t believe that either of the two have cracked the code, but interesting how Colbert is universally believed to have done it while Licht goes unnoticed pic.twitter.com/XEHUG7tiTa

— Moo (@Moo12152) March 11, 2019

Suggs, who will turn 37 during the 2019 season, leads active players with 132.5 career sacks and is coming off a seven-sack season in 2018.

Adding running backs on the wrong side of 30 isn’t usually the way to build an NFL roster, but the Bills will hope that Gore, McCoy and Ivory can provide veteran leadership and help take some pressure off quarterback Josh Allen.

[Updated] Oldest NFL running backs under contract for 2019:1. Frank Gore, 35, BUF (5/14/83)2. Chris Ivory, 30, BUF (3/22/88)3. LeSean McCoy, 30, BUF (7/12/88)4. Andre Ellington, 30, TB (2/3/89)5. Rex Burkhead, 28, NE (7/2/90)

— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) March 11, 2019

The cornerback entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2016. Williams, 25, played nine games with seven starts last season. He made 23 tackles, an interception and four pass breakups before injuring his knee and landing on injured reserve.

With life-changing money on the line, these are difficult days for all but the highest-ranked NFL free agents.

The Indianapolis Colts will dive into free agency with the signing of former Panthers receiver Devin Funchess to a one-year deal, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Even a $13 million “prove it” deal would be a tough call for a player to make in a league where long-term stability on a roster is a precious resource. Money has to be head-turning to get a player to consider that over a longer-term home elsewhere where $ comes in every year.

— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) March 12, 2019

“You know what, I don’t know that there was ever an option for us, quite frankly,” Rosenhaus said. “We never got in that position. It really wasn’t something that was up to us to decide. I don’t think the Steelers and the Bills were able to work something out.”

It sends a mixed message to the fan base. It sends a mixed message to the locker room. It puts tremendous pressure on a quarterback, who, by the way, may not be totally feeling bought in right now thanks to the club’s recent performance at the combine. It does not give you any clout in the “develop young talent” category.

How Oakland chooses to optimize around its new weapon will define its 2019 season.

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