The Denver Broncos are just one year removed from their Super Bowl win, so there’s certainly plenty of talent on the roster. Quarterback remains a question mark, but if the Broncos can figure out that all-important position, they’ll once again be contenders in the AFC.
When it comes to free agency, the Broncos are one of the more aggressive teams. John Elway has never shied from big moves, and with nearly $44 million in cap space, we can probably expect a handful of substantial signings. The offensive line in particular is one area that needs to be addressed, as does the run defense.
Here are six players the Broncos should target in free agency.
RT Sebastian Vollmer (Patriots
Donald Stephenson was a huge disappointment for the Broncos this past season, struggling mightily at right tackle. As a result, the Broncos need to upgrade that position, which is where Vollmer would step in. Although he’s been riddled with injuries, Vollmer is a good right tackle when healthy. His injury history will drive his price down, likely forcing him to settle for a short-term deal that doesn’t come with much guaranteed money. The Broncos should make that happen and upgrade at Stephenson’s spot.
USA TODAY SportsGreg M. Cooper
LB Kevin Minter (Cardinals)
The Broncos felt the loss of Danny Trevathan last season, and while Brandon Marshall is a good linebacker, they need someone to play alongside him. Minter hasn’t been the most consistent player in Arizona, but he had a solid year in 2016 and has earned himself a more lucrative deal in free agency. With experience in the 3-4, Minter would be a good fit at inside linebacker for the Cardinals, pairing nicely with Marshall in the middle of the defense.
OG Ronald Leary (Cowboys)
The Broncos could use an upgrade at guard with the future of Max Garcia and Michael Schofield not exactly certain. Leary would step in and be an immediate upgrade over both players after putting together a great 2016 season. As the starting left guard for the Cowboys, he was consistent in pass protection and a good run blocker, fitting in nicely on Dallas’ stacked offensive line. If the Broncos want to get back to their ways of consistently running the ball the way they did toward the end of their Super Bowl run, they need to add help on the O-line.
Tim HeitmanTim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
LT Andrew Whitworth (Bengals)
The Broncos made Russell Okung a free agent by declining his option, which wasn’t much of a surprise. That was the easy part, and now the real work begins. Whitworth isn’t a young left tackle and would likely play for only a few more seasons, but he would shore up the left side of the line and provide good protection for Paxton Lynch’s (or Trevor Siemian’s) blind side. He won’t be cheap, but Elway has never been afraid to spend money for short-term return.
USA TODAY SporTimothy T. Ludwig
TE Jack Doyle (Colts)
The Broncos need a good pass-catching tight end, which is exactly what Doyle is. He broke out this past season with 59 catches for 584 yards and five touchdowns, proving to be a reliable target for Andrew Luck. With two young quarterbacks in Denver, a solid weapon in the middle of the field is exactly what the Broncos need. He can be a safety valve for them while also making big plays in the passing game. Doyle is a decent blocker on the line of scrimmage, too, and can help tackles with chip blocks.
DT Brandon Williams (Ravens)
The Broncos let Malik Jackson get away last offseason, and it had a big negative impact on the defense. The same could happen to Sylvester Williams, who’s a run-stuffing nose tackle – albeit, one who doesn’t make many plays. It sounds likely the Broncos will bring in a replacement, which is where Brandon Williams could step in. He’s one of the best nose tackles in the game and would be an absolute force on Denver’s defensive line. He would be a huge upgrade over Sylvester Williams and help shore up the Broncos’ run defense.