Free Agent Frenzy
“I’ll say this: We’re going to look at all the options. Once they become available, we’re going to look at all the options. … Because it’s not only about winning next year; it’s also about what it does to the future, too.” - John Elway
In Elway We Trust. That's been the mantra for six years. Ever since he swooped in, like a Savior, in the wake of the Josh McDaniels disaster. Since then he's brought us Von Miller, Peyton Manning, five AFC West titles, two Super Bowl births and one Super Bowl title.
Elway is the architect of the team, and it's been a heck of a run. The Broncos missed the playoffs last season, but even in a "down" year the team finished 9-7 and was probably one of the best six in the AFC.
Heading into the off-season, with a new coaching staff in tow, the Broncos' brass promised they'd make a splash and address the team's needs. Those needs begin and end on the line, primarily, as the offensive tackle spots and the defensive tackle position are gaping holes for the Broncos.
But as day one commenced, it seemed every move the Broncos tried to make failed, and the moves they didn't try to make were even more glaring. The Broncos bid on Calais Campbell and Chris Baker, but both chose suitors in Florida, the Jaguars and Buccaneers, respectively.
But more jarring was the lack of traction on the offensive line. The market was compressed, the contracts handed out were lavish, and the result is the Broncos still have a glaring need at left and right tackle.
Last year the Broncos used Russell Okung and Donald Stephenson at tackle. Neither was great, but while Okung was just average, Stephenson was among the worst in the league. Conventional wisdom was the Broncos would move on from Stephenson and, maybe, try to work things out with Okung.
Instead, Okung signed a ridiculously large deal with the Chargers, while Stephenson remains a Bronco. In fact, today, Stephenson, Michael Schofield, and Ty Sambraillo seem to be the options at tackle on the roster. The Broncos will likely draft some offensive linemen, but that's no sure thing either. So the tackle situation, arguably the most important position on offense, is a huge question mark.
The Broncos did pry guard Ronald Leary from the Cowboys. With Max Garcia, a presumably healthy Matt Paradis and Leary across the middle, the Broncos have a solid core. But with gapping holes on the outside, will that matter?
Then there's the whole Tony Romo thing. He was destined to come, now he seems destined to head to Houston. Trevor Siemian has been rumored to be headed to the Jets and been confirmed as a part of the Broncos' long-term plan.
In other words, we still have holes, on offense and defense, and plenty of questions. It's only one day into free agency, but things haven't gone as expected.
For Broncos fans the only comfort is our mantra for the past six years, "In Elway We Trust." We do, but let's hope that faith is rewarded.