Denver Broncos unrestricted free agents: who stays and who goes?

The offseason is officially underway and the Denver Broncos have some decisions to make. What better way to kick off the offseason than by contemplating which of the Denver Broncos unrestricted free agents should be with the team for another run at the Super Bowl.

Eric Decker

Let him go.  Decker is a #2 wide receiver that some team will pay #1 wide receiver money in free agency.  Decker is not a freak athlete like Demaryius Thomas and his production is inflated with Peyton Manning playing quarterback.  He is also inconsistent and lacks toughness.  The Broncos could use more toughness at the wide receiver position.

denver broncos

Eric Decker won’t be on the Broncos roster next season. (Credit: Stuart Zaas, Denver Broncos)

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

The Broncos must keep DRC.  On a one-year “prove it” deal, DRC proved to be the best cornerback on the roster and one of the best in the NFL.  Although he can lose focus at times, the uncertainty surrounding Champ Bailey coming back and Chris Harris’ availability after tearing his ACL late in the year makes this signing paramount.

If he can’t be signed to a deal, using the franchise tag may be the best course of action.  By doing so, the Broncos can draft at least one cornerback to grow into a quality starter without forcing him into the starting lineup too soon.

Knowshon Moreno

Let him go.  Moreno won the hearts of fans by giving his blood, sweat and tears to the team this year.  However, one year of decent production does not erase a history of injuries.  Paying big money to an injury-prone running back entering his sixth year is incredibly foolish especially when a second round draft pick was used on his replacement.

Zane Beadles

The Broncos need to keep Beadles.  Granted, he is the weakest link on the line, but he was still a solid player.  I have wanted the Broncos to find an upgrade at guard the past two offseasons, but if he leaves now who is out there to replace him?

There are no sure-fire starters at guard in the draft this year and he is better than many of the guards that will be available in free agency.  Unless he gets a ridiculous offer elsewhere, the Broncos need him back at least until they can find a better option in the draft.

Shaun Phillips

Keep him if the price is right.  He was only signed to replace Elvis Dumervil after the fax fiasco and likely would not have been in the Broncos’ plans otherwise.  It is hard to argue with his production, having logged 10 sacks, but he disappeared for stretches during the season and did not apply consistent pressure.

I am on the fence with Phillips.  He was a solid addition, but Quanterus Smith will be healthy in 2014.  By season’s end Smith will get after the quarterback more consistently than Phillips.  However, the uncertainty of Derrick Wolfe’s health gives the Broncos a need for depth that Phillips will satisfy.

Wesley Woodyard

Let him go.  This is a tough decision because Woodyard is a fan favorite and has worked his tail off to rise from an undrafted player to a major contributor.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a spot for him.

Danny Trevathan has solidified himself as the weak side linebacker and Woodyard is too small to handle middle linebacker duties.  He will get a decent money offer to play weak side linebacker, but not with the Broncos.

Mike Adams

Let him go.  Adams was a solid depth player, but is no longer reliable in coverage.  When all the young Broncos safeties return to health, it is unlikely he will earn a roster spot anyway.

Robert Ayers

Keep him.  He should not have been a first round draft pick, but he is a solid rotational player and adds versatility to the defensive line by sliding inside in certain passing situations.  He will be needed if Wolfe continues to have health issues.

Chris Kuper

Let him go unless Beadles is not signed.  If Beadles leaves, Kuper can be a decent starter or add quality depth.  However, it is high time for the Broncos to draft interior linemen, forcing Kuper off the roster.

Andre Caldwell

Keep him.  He will be necessary, as the Broncos will let Decker walk.  If he is with the Broncos next season, Caldwell must step up and realize his potential.  He has under achieved so far in his career, but he can stretch the field with his speed and fill in until the Broncos can draft and develop Decker’s future replacement.

Jeremy Mincey

Keep him.  Mincey was a solid signing late in the season.  I expect that he will be even better with more time in the system and contribute to the defensive line rotation.

Paris Lenon & Quentin Jammer

Let them go.  Both players are at the end of their careers and upgrades are a dire need.

Michael Huff

Let him go.  Huff’s contributions to the defense were very minimal.  He has no long term potential with the team.

Steve Vallos & Winston Justice

Keep them both.  Their price tags are low.  Their presence on the roster will provide offensive line depth through training camp and preseason at least.  Hopefully the Broncos will draft offensive linemen able to win rosters spots, pushing these two off the team.  Until then they have value.

  • Jeff

    I think being able to free up the majority of $$ on Moreno and letting Bailey go to, will help us with affording Decker. That WR corps, along with Julius Thomas, is a great bond. I don’t think breaking them up is a good idea. Ball is a great fill in for Moreno, as we saw that this season. We’ll draft an RB in May. We need to draft a few good CB’s and pick up another FS or Strong Safety. Our O Line is in a hurt, and picking up a Center is key. Although I hate seeing what happened to Kuper, yes, he needs to go. Retirement is best for him, given the injuries.

  • jpnanook

    I agree with much of what you say. We need to keep DRC, Shaun Philllips, Beadles, and Caldwell. However, I think we need to let go of Mincey and Ayers. The lack of a rush in the Super Bowl was never so apparent. Anyone can play as well as these guys, so let’s get some upgrades. I also think that we should try to keep Decker, if he will not demand too much money. If he stays, we are the best receiving corp in the league. I think that he is smart enough to realize that he could have another Super Bowl appearance in the next couple of years, if he stays.