2016 Broncos' Season — Von, Aqib and offseason problems
It's the off-season, and we still have nearly three months until the regular season begins. That being said, it's never too early to express concern. And the Broncos have two stories — both involving their top-ranked defense — that bear watching.
Aqib Talib: This began last weekend, when Talib was shot while at a night club in Dallas. That's problematic enough. But while it seems like Talib will recover well from his injuries, there are larger questions now at work. Talib faces an investigation that could yield criminal charges, especially if he shot himself with a weapon that was unregistered while intoxicated. That could me actual prison time. But even if Talib doesn't serve actual jail time, he could be looking at a suspension. Both those prospects are rough for the Broncos.
Some have asked whether the Broncos should release Talib outright. While earlier in the off-season I argued the team could move on from Talib, now it doesn't make sense. The draft has come and gone and the best free agents are on teams. Moving on from Talib now just leaves a hole on the roster and dead money on the cap.
But what if Talib misses time? That becomes an interesting question. Bradley Roby easily slides into the starting role, but what about depth? That was already an issue for the Broncos with Omar Bolden and David Bruton having left the Broncos. Without Talib, and with Roby in the starting role, that means Kayvon Webster and some of the young safeties need to step up, and quickly.
The best hope is to find out Talib's fate quickly.
Von Miller: The second blow of the week for the Broncos came when Von Miller rejected the Broncos' long-term offer, which was six years and more than $114 million. The dispute seems to be over guaranteed money. The Broncos offered $38.5 for the first two years, $58 total. Miller wants more in the first two years or more total, somewhere around the $75 million mark. That makes sense and seems fair, but it's a question of how this deal gets done.
The reports are now that Miller might consider sitting out the year if a long-term deal doesn't get done. That would give him leverage as the Broncos wouldn't be able to us an exclusive rights tag on Miller next summer. It also leaves plenty of on field questions.
If Miller doesn't play, that puts more pressure on Shane Ray and Shaq Barrett to step up, and on DeMarcus Ware to hold the outside. That also puts more pressure on Derek Wolfe and the other defensive lineman to create pressure. In short, it means a lot of people have to step up. And I think it also means the Broncos' defense won't be as dynamic.
Let's hope it doesn't come to that. I think the Broncos get the long-term deal done because Von is too important.
It's June, and there's still time for this to get resolved. But these are definitely issues involving two of the Broncos' best players and defenders that need to be dealt with sooner rather than later.