Denver Broncos Ready to Open the Checkbooks?


Much has been made about the Denver Broncos not drafting a defensive lineman until their compensatory pick in the seventh round on draft weekend, and for good reason. This is a team that has not had a competent defensive line since the “Browncos” came to town about five or six years ago.

So what gives? Well, the Broncos know fully well that free agency is going to start at some point here in the future, and whenever that happens, they will likely fill their holes at defensive tackle through that route. If Brian Xanders and John Elway are willing to open up the check books a little bit, they could significantly upgrade the defensive line in free agency.

The Broncos have already brought back last year’s surprise performer Kevin Vickerson, but he is currently the only tackle on the roster with significant NFL experience. If Xanders and Elway want to go the free agent route, does that mean they will go the relatively expensive route?

Well, the ideal scenario for Broncos fans might just include exactly that. The Broncos’ defensive front has been compared to Swiss cheese, and for good reason. So why not go out and sign Brandon Mebane and Barry Cofield, two of the best run stuffing defensive tackles on the free agent market.

Now, depending on the new CBA, the Broncos may or may not be able to bring these guys in, but it’s clear they want to go the free agent route to fill their needs at defensive tackle. The team likely will want to bring back Marcus Thomas, a fourth round pick in 2007 who showed some nice ability at times in his Broncos career.

Furthermore, the Broncos could look to a young guy like Mike Patterson, or possibly even a Tommie Harris to see if they can rejuvenate the former first round picks’ careers. Whatever path the Broncos take, they certainly have options. Another veteran stop-gap could be Kris Jenkins, who played under John Fox in Carolina. There has also been speculation that the Broncos could bring back Justin Bannan, but I think that ship may have sailed.

So, if you want to get young and talented up front, here are some options for the Broncos right now in free agency at defensive tackle:

  • Brandon Mebane, Seahawks
  • Barry Cofield, Giants
  • Mike Patterson, Eagles
  • Tommie Harris, Bears

In all likelihood, the Broncos will have to sign at least two or three players in order to replace the depth that they lost, as well as to have a decent enough rotation to be able to put up with an entire 16 game schedule.

The Broncos also need help at running back, and sure enough, the free agent class is solid and led by former Panthers’ back DeAngelo Williams. Williams was extremely successful under new Broncos head coach John Fox, and Denver needs a starting caliber back to pair with Knowshon Moreno.

If not DeAngelo Williams, the free agent class of running backs looks strong otherwise, again, depending on the status of the CBA.

  • Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants
  • Michael Bush, Raiders
  • Darren Sproles, Chargers
  • Kevin Smith, Lions
  • Ronnie Brown, Dolphins
  • Cadillac Williams, Bucs
  • Ricky Williams, Dolphins

Whenever free agency starts, you can expect the Denver Broncos to be aggressive and active.