2017 Broncos Season, Free Agency Check In
We're 10 days into Free Agency, but there have been few splashes for the Broncos. We're a month from the draft, Tony Romo is still a Cowboy and there's plenty of question marks. But it's time to look at the Broncos' two biggest areas of need, and how things have gone so far.
The Broncos' biggest areas of need are the offensive and defensive lines. While the media likes to speculate about quarterback, and that's fair, the lines are where games are won and lost. The Broncos needed work. Let's see how we're doing.
Departures: Russell Okung, LT, to the Chargers
Additions: Ronald Leary, OG, and Menelik Watson, RT
Thoughts: The signing of Leary is great. Presuming center Matt Paradis returns fully healthy, the Broncos interior could be fierce with Leary, Paradis and Max Garcia across the front. The tackles remain a work in progress. The biggest work is left tackle since the Broncos don't really have one. Conventional wisdom heading into the off-season was that the Broncos would move on from Donald Stephenson, a free-agent signing from last year who graded out as one of the worst at right tackle in 2016. Instead, the Broncos chose to keep him, although at a reduced rate. So, as of now, they have four potential tackles, Stephenson, Watson, Michael Schofield and Ty Sambraillo. Aside from Watson, the former Raider who comes with his own set of questions, all of the players have tried, and failed, on the Broncos' line the past two seasons. That's not encouraging. Having a great middle of the line is good. Having quality tackles is a must. And free agency doesn't yield many options. Meaning the Broncos would have to swing a trade, which is possible, or hit a home run in the draft, which is difficult. They have also talked about giving Watson and Stephenson a shot at left tackle. In other words, this is still a big work in progress. This was the critical area of need for the Broncos and, so far, it still is.
Departures: Sylvester Williams, NT, to the Titans, DeMarcus Ware, DE/OLB, Retired
Additions: Domata Peko, NT, Zach Kerr, DT
Thoughts: The Broncos had a big swing and a miss with Calais Campbell, who ultimately signed with the Jaguars. They also let Williams, a former first round draft pick, walk, but that wasn't unexpected. Still, that leaves plenty of questions. Peko has been a great player in the past, but there's questions about how much he has left. Kerr is a project, but could be a good depth/rotation player. The Broncos still have Derek Wolfe and Jared Crick, but there's some depth concerns. The Broncos are rumored to be brining back Vance Walker — who missed all of last season with a knee injury — to help with depth, but this was an area of concern for the Broncos and, like the offensive line, still is. Drafting can help, but the Broncos must improve this unit, either through better play or better pieces. Work still needs to be done here.