The Denver Broncos made a huge move last offseason by going out and getting Peyton Manning, maybe the biggest free agent acquisition of all time in sports. This year, they may be looking for an encore.
Peter King, one of the most trusted journalists in sports, thinks that Denver’s man in charge could try to convince owner Pat Bowlen that obtaining Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis could put the Broncos over the top.
“If the Jets choose to shop him, I have a feeling Denver football operations czar John Elway will try hard to convince owner Pat Bowlen that Revis would be the missing piece to a championship team,” King wrote in his Monday Morning Quarterback column. “The Broncos are $14.2 million under the cap this morning, but that doesn’t include the estimated $10 million they’d need to budget for free agent tackle Ryan Clady, who’s a must-keep. That could be lower, of course, with a long-term deal for Clady. And they could save money by reworking Peyton Manning‘s $20 million cap number this year.”
I had previously read that the Broncos were closer to $18.5 million under the cap, but maybe that was erroneous. Either way, the New York Jets would probably require something pretty good in return for Revis, though I’m not sure that they could get a king’s ransom for a guy coming off of ACL surgery with one year remaining on his contract, seeking a deal for the ages.
Obviously, the Broncos would have to make some moves to fit Revis into their future plans, which includes keeping Ryan Clady, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and Von Miller.
The Broncos can save nearly $10 million if they cut injured linebacker Joe Mays ($4 million) and troubled linebacker D.J. Williams ($6 million), which would afford them a potential franchise tag number for offensive tackle Ryan Clady. They wouldn’t have to pay him nearly as much if they can get him locked into a long term deal.
As King pointed out, the Broncos can also re-work the contract of Peyton Manning, who is set to make $20 million in 2013 if he passes a physical. That’s obviously going to happen, since Manning was healthy all of last season and his neck appears to be in good shape going forward.
Manning deserves every penny of what the Broncos have signed him to, but winning a championship is the first priority. He could live comfortably on $10 million a season, probably even less, but I don’t think the Broncos would ask him to take any less than $15. You don’t want to offend the sheriff.
The Broncos also need to look into re-negotiating the contract of Chris Kuper, who is set to make $6 million in 2013 as well. This is a very good draft for guards, and if Kuper is unwilling to negotiate, he could be shown the door in favor of a youngster.
If Revis is brought in, his 2013 cap number is going to be $6 million. The Broncos could easily build a contract off of that number instead of leaping straight to paying him $14-16 million per season.
What I’m trying to point out is, the Broncos can easily make this trade work financially, and not only that, but they would allow themselves to be able to keep re-signing their own star players as well in the future like Eric Decker (2014) and Demaryius Thomas (2015).
This would also shake up the scope of the draft. What would the Jets do with potentially two first round selections? Would they take a quarterback? Keep adding pass rush depth? The options are endless with their roster. Maybe they would go after a new big play running back like Andre Ellington or Eddie Lacy. Maybe add a big name receiver.
The Broncos may believe that adding Darrelle Revis could put them over the top in 2013, and I think they’d be hard pressed not to pursue this move if they think he’s going to be that impactful.