When free agency begins on March 13, the Denver Broncos front office will need to get the checkbook out to land some much-needed help in many positions.
There is no shortage of talented players up for grabs this season, but many of the high-profile names will be beyond John Elway’s grasp.
One reason is no huge need in 2019 at running back, defensive end or outside linebacker; the other is that some players will command salaries the Broncos can’t manage this season, especially with several key players also hitting free agency in 2019 or 2020 and the ongoing need to find a franchise
We rounded up three Broncos Europe contributors to get their take on where the Broncos need to target in free agency and which players could make a difference.
Mark: The offensive line remains a work in progress. Last year it improved massively from 2017, but it still needs an extra player or two.
Right tackle Jared Veldheer is a free agent and not guaranteed to return, so we may need to dive into free agency there and finally find our guy, but he was solid in 2018.
The secondary is still a problem, but Bryce Callahan from the Bears has the coaching connection with Vic Fangio and is an instant upgrade on Bradley Roby.
A combo of Chris Harris Jr., Callahan and Roby would be an impressive trio to enter 2019.
Colum: Chiefs tight end Demetrius Harris or veteran Jared Cook would be solid options.
Neither is sexy, but the franchise has been without a reliable tight end for too long.
Broncos fans should remember Harris from his touchdown catch from Dontari Poe in 2016. Had a limited role in Kansas City behind Travis Kelce, but is a good blocker and has potential in the passing game with his 6-7 frame.
Veteran Cook can make things happen in the passing game with his 6-5 frame and 4.49 speed, something Oakland used to good effect in 2018 as he put up 896 yards and six touchdowns on 68 receptions — his best season since 2013 in St Louis.
He also had 100-yard games against the Los Angeles Rams, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs in 2018.
Kade: Offensive line, cornerback, and backup quarterback are all positions the Broncos should try to fill in free agency.
If the Broncos are smart, they will bring back center Matt Paradis on a long-term deal to remain as the anchor of the line.
All other spots should be looked at as potential holes to fill, especially at the tackle positions.
Tampa Bay’s Donovan Smith would be someone the Broncos could look at for left tackle as he is considered one of the top free agent talents at that position.
That could allow new offensive line coach Mike Munchak to try Garett Bolles at right tackle or have him sit behind Smith to develop for another season.
Even if the Broncos draft a cornerback in the first round, they still lack depth at that position and could look at free agency for help.
They could bring Roby back on a team-friendly deal and put him back in his CB3 spot where he seemed to have more success.
Bryce Callahan could be an option to come in and take over the slot position to allow CHJ to move to the outside.
As the current roster stands, the Broncos have just Case Keenum and Garrett Grayson as their 2019 quarterbacks.
They will most likely take a QB at some point in the 2019 draft, but they still need experience behind Keenum, and possibly even someone to challenge for the starting job.
Teddy Bridgewater could be a good choice because he has a high ceiling, won’t command starter money, and just spent an entire season behind one of the best QBs in the league in Drew Brees.
He could at the very least provide a security blanket if Keenum were to go down or struggle again, but he also has the talent to surpass Keenum for the starting job if he can stay healthy.