With the Denver Broncos on a bye in week 10 and no real desire to rewatch games from this season, we asked some of our contributors to assess the Broncos’ 3-6 record, what they’re hoping to see in the final seven weeks of 2018, and what 2019 and beyond should bring.
This is part five of our roundtable featuring Broncos Europe TV’s Michael McQuaid and Colum Cronin, and columnist Kade Rucker looking at which players the Denver Broncos should consider signing in 2019 to help turn around the team.
What should be the Broncos’ player priorities be in 2019?
Kade: Priority positions in the draft should be offensive line and cornerback. But the Broncos main priority is to draft guys that are good football players, former captains, and leaders on and off the field. Basically just do what they did last year.
They need to build a stronger foundation of young players instead of relying on free agents to fill holes every year.
Vets the Broncos should move on
Jones is just on the team because of his history with Vance, so don’t expect him to stick around next season anyway. Booker’s job has been taken over by two more than capable rookies. Roby hasn’t been very solid as the #2 CB.
If the Broncos got him at a reasonable contract number and moved him back to CB3 it would be worthwhile to keep him.
Who to retain might be a more pertinent question. Only Von Miller, Chris Harris, and perhaps Justin Simmons, at a stretch, are untouchable.
Brandon Marshall, Darian Stewart, and Roby should all be shown the door as soon as this wretched season concludes.
Michael: There are a number of vets that the Broncos should move on. Brandon Marshall arguably will leave. He is 30 next year and is due $9 million. The dead money is $4m, so saving $5m for the team is probably a good option. Remember John Elway was happy enough to let Menelik Watson go and eat the dead money.
Another vet that the Broncos should move on from is Darian Stewart. Quite simply, he has regressed over the last season and enough is enough. If the Broncos do end up letting Stewart go before June 1, 2019, he would only cost around $2.8m against the cap space.
The 2019 NFL Draft is a really interesting scenario. Does Elway have a plan in place for what he wants? One can look at the approximation of the cap space in 2020 (approx $95m as of November 14, 2018) and can suggest that perhaps, there may be a long-term plan here.
There is not a quarterback option in this draft. Bradley Roby is set to become a free agent in the offseason. Therefore, getting a cornerback will be a huge priority for the franchise and one of the best prospects in the 2019 class is Greedy Williams from LSU.Embed from Getty Images
Which trades or free agent acquisitions would you like to see the Broncos make in the 2019 offseason?
Michael: Well, one guy the Broncos do not need is Le’Veon Bell. How he has acted this season is nothing short of a disgrace. [Editor — sour grapes because a certain Irish idiot drafted him in the first round this year]
As of right now, the player on another roster that would have the biggest impact in Denver is Aaron Rodgers. He could walk into this franchise day one and turn the team around.
With the defense that is already there, the offense could pick up again and with a young gem in Courtland Sutton and veteran Emmanuel Sanders as receivers, Rodgers could instantly find a connection. If only…
Looking at the cap space available for the Denver Broncos, the free agency options available are not as good as the previous year — especially in regards to QBs — where all avenues lead to a hugely important draft in 2020, along with sufficient cap space.
If the team can show some sign of progress and it is obvious that there is a long-term plan in relation to 2020-2021, one would think most fans would accept that.Embed from Getty Images
Kade: After seeing Bradley Roby struggle at the CB2 spot, a lot of people were hoping the Broncos would trade for Arizona CB Patrick Peterson to start alongside Chris Harris Jr this season.
A trade like this could still happen and would immediately help bring back the No Fly Zone.
If we’re talking no-holds-barred trades, then there is no reason why the Broncos shouldn’t trade for someone like Aaron Rodgers.
He would obviously make this team a playoff contender and then the Broncos could focus on rebuilding their secondary and offensive line. But there’s no way the Packers would trade Rodgers, and no way the Broncos could afford his salary.
With guys like Tyrod Taylor and Teddy Bridgewater on the verge of becoming unrestricted free agents at the end of the season, the Broncos should consider bringing one of them in to compete with Keenum for the starting QB spot.
They may not make a huge impact but they could potentially be an upgrade until the Broncos find their next QB of the future.
Tight Ends like Tyler Eifert, Jesse James, or Jared Cook would be upgrades at that position, especially if Jake Butt can’t stay healthy.