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Broncos Did Not Get Return On FA Investment

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  • Broncos Did Not Get Return On FA Investment

    http://www.espn.com/blog/denver-bron...cy-this-season

    ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Much of the time, when John Elway talks about how the Denver Broncos will construct a roster, he will end an impassioned discussion about the importance of building through the draft with his customary final thought on the matter.

    And it always goes something like: “But we’ll look at free agency, we’ll look at everything. If we see a guy out there who can help the Denver Broncos, we’ll do what we think gives us the chance to compete for world championships."

    As the Broncos now wrestle with the team’s first playoff miss since 2010 -- and first since Elway returned in 2011 -- Elway is poised for an offseason of moves, decisions and some potential work with the checkbook. The season wasn’t over for even 24 hours when Elway was talking about how close he believes the Broncos can be to a return to the postseason. And, yes, free agency will be a part of that.

    How big a part? Well, the jury remains out. “We have to do some things offensively and defensively and with the draft," Elway said. “We have a bunch of draft picks and we’ll be involved in free agency." The goal, as always for Elway, is to play in the kind of games other teams are playing from this weekend through Super Bowl LI on Feb. 5.

    Will the Broncos extend Russell Okung for four more years, with his contract including a significant amount of guaranteed money?*In terms of free agency, it doesn't get better than the Broncos' response to a 35-point loss in the Super Bowl to close out 2013. Denver pounded out nothing but checkbook home runs in 2014. Oh yes, the Broncos went all shopping spree as they reeled in DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, Emmanuel Sanders and T.J. Ward. All four players have been named to at least one Pro Bowl thus far in Denver, and all four played key roles in consecutive AFC West title runs and a win in Super Bowl 50.

    “Those guys came in, and right away you knew it was going to be a fit," said linebacker Von Miller. “You knew great things were going to happen, just the way they came right in and started doing their thing."

    In 2015, the Broncos took a far more economically measured approach in free agency, but did land soon-to-be starters in Owen Daniels -- Daniels caught two touchdown passes in the AFC Championship Game last January -- Darian Stewart, Vance Walker and Evan Mathis. For the dollars spent, the Broncos once again got quality return.

    However, then there was 2016, a season that got away. What the Broncos hoped would happen never quite happened. Their defense was good, often dominant, but it didn’t manage the biggest moments like the 2015 defense did. And the offense stayed mired in struggle for much of the year -- 22nd in the league in scoring, 28th in rushing.

    “We have a defense to build on, but I think that this year was disappointing," Elway said.

    In those bobbles, it’s clear the Broncos’ work in free agency didn’t give produce the returns the team expected. The two biggest signings were tackles Russell Okung and Donald Stephenson. And after a season of struggle on the offensive line, Okung and Stephenson tied as the team’s most penalized players -- 11 each -- and face uncertain futures given the structure of their contracts. Okung’s deal was essentially a one-year contract, but an additional four years kick in if the Broncos pay a $1 million option bonus on or before March 9. Also, if the Broncos pay the bonus, an additional $21 million becomes guaranteed to Okung. And if Stephenson is on the roster on March 13, his base salary for the 2017 season -- $4 million -- is guaranteed.

    To release one or both of those players would be a rather stinging indictment of last season's work in free agency. But the Broncos will be in position to do more than dabble this March, if they wish, given they are expected to have plenty of cap space, perhaps as much as $40 million. And the team expects to receive at least three, perhaps four, compensatory picks in the draft to go with the six they already have.

    That combination should give Elway the flexibility to work the open market if the Broncos see help available to go with a hefty draft class. And certainly the offensive line will be at the top of the to-do list across the board. “[We’ll] go back to work on it and try to fix it again," Elway said. “I think, obviously, we didn’t do a good job up front, but also as an offense. ... I think offensively we have to take that on as a challenge and find guys who want to compete. We have to get better offensively. ... We're going to be good on defense, but as an offense we have to take it as a challenge."

    ~~~~~~~~~

    I like that Elway admits fault, and tells us what is going to be priority.

    And even though we paid a price for falling short on the roster, I am encouraged about the offseason and the fact that we will have some money to spend, extra draft picks..... and that in my opinion (as well as John's) we definitely can upgrade this team back to contention, as early as '17.

  • #2
    Thanks for posting Bud, great read!

    Elway with $$$$ to spend is a dangerous man...:lombardi:
    [sigpic

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    • #3
      I know they seem like bad signing, and as we have seen they pretty much are. But we didn't have that much money last year to spend, still had Miller to lock up...so it was a different situation. Cut one of them or both, we can spend the money else where. But in Elway's defense....at least he attempted to make the line better and knew where our main problem was going to be in the future(now present). Once again, and unfortunately, the Free Agent Tackles this year don't seem all that much better. We need someone to step up...And for the sake of Elway's drafting history in the 2nd and 3rd....I hope things change if we draft T.
      New England Patriots GM

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Taos_Broncomaniac View Post
        Thanks for posting Bud, great read!

        Elway with $$$$ to spend is a dangerous man...:lombardi:
        Yah....Elway is like Bruno Mars....he's a dangerous man with some money in his pocket!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Gbt31 View Post
          I know they seem like bad signing, and as we have seen they pretty much are. But we didn't have that much money last year to spend, still had Miller to lock up...so it was a different situation. Cut one of them or both, we can spend the money else where. But in Elway's defense....at least he attempted to make the line better and knew where our main problem was going to be in the future(now present). Once again, and unfortunately, the Free Agent Tackles this year don't seem all that much better. We need someone to step up...And for the sake of Elway's drafting history in the 2nd and 3rd....I hope things change if we draft T.
          You know what, I was ok with at least one of the signings, so I am not pretending to be smarter than I am (and that's been proven over and over to be a source of concern!!). I was hoping for Okung to do well, and I actually felt that Stephenson could fill a void on the right side.

          But I posted this with more of a positive feeling about FA this offseason, along with all our draft picks, and feel good about the prospects for next season. I have posted my feelings about next year, that coming off a 9 and 7 season, we may have hit bottom for the next 5 or more years.....in other words, a few tweaks, maybe a couple (or even a few) emerging players, and we're back in it!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by CanDB View Post
            You know what, I was ok with at least one of the signings, so I am not pretending to be smarter than I am (and that's been proven over and over to be a source of concern!!). I was hoping for Okung to do well, and I actually felt that Stephenson could fill a void on the right side.

            But I posted this with more of a positive feeling about FA this offseason, along with all our draft picks, and feel good about the prospects for next season. I have posted my feelings about next year, that coming off a 9 and 7 season, we may have hit bottom for the next 5 or more years.....in other words, a few tweaks, maybe a couple (or even a few) emerging players, and we're back in it!
            We can be if the right players come here for the right price. That is likely the key. NT, OL and ILB are the top 3. Quickly followed by TE and DE.

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            • #7
              I say we just cut Okung and Stephson. Neither proved they wanted to be there and were worth the money.
              sigpic

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              • #8
                I don't think Okung did that bad. He is worth the above average starting LT contract in my opinion. Stephenson is hot trash, cut him quick. Then I say we go hard after Kevin Zeitler from Cincy and Ricky Wagner from Baltimore. Those should be our 2 splash signings this year and alleviate the need to reach for an OT in the draft.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by KWHIT97 View Post
                  I don't think Okung did that bad. He is worth the above average starting LT contract in my opinion. Stephenson is hot trash, cut him quick. Then I say we go hard after Kevin Zeitler from Cincy and Ricky Wagner from Baltimore. Those should be our 2 splash signings this year and alleviate the need to reach for an OT in the draft.
                  You think Okung is worth the 4-years, $48 million left on his option? I surely don't.

                  I 100% agree about Zeitler and Wagner - I want to see them both in Orange and Blue next year. We have to go hard on the OL this year. A couple more guys I like are Ronald Leary from Dallas, Larry Warford and Riley Reiff from Detroit, and Earl Watford from Arizona. Even getting a guy like Andrew Whitworth would be huge, granted it would likely be two years max. Getting Joe Thomas seems like a pipe dream, but still holding onto hope that we can strike a deal to land him.

                  Cut Okung and Stephenson and wash our hands of that mess. Two of the worst FA signings in recent memory.
                  2016 Adopt-A-Bronco: CB-Chris Harris Jr.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KWHIT97 View Post
                    I don't think Okung did that bad. He is worth the above average starting LT contract in my opinion. Stephenson is hot trash, cut him quick. Then I say we go hard after Kevin Zeitler from Cincy and Ricky Wagner from Baltimore. Those should be our 2 splash signings this year and alleviate the need to reach for an OT in the draft.
                    No way on Okung. He did nothing to earn 10 million+ per year. I personally want Whitworth and Zeitler from Cincy. Of course, much depends on our next HC and OC. Do we remain a ZBS offense or switch to power.

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                    • #11
                      Okung and Stephenson may be released. I don't think Okung's extension was guaranteed, so it might be possible to release him with no cap hit. Stephenson is under contract through 2018, so releasing him would incur a cap hit of several million. We shall see.
                      "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes." ~ Publilius Syrus

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by samparnell View Post
                        Okung and Stephenson may be released. I don't think Okung's extension was guaranteed, so it might be possible to release him with no cap hit. Stephenson is under contract through 2018, so releasing him would incur a cap hit of several million. We shall see.
                        Stephenson....are their many out there better than he is? Just looking at the money and if it may not be so bad to keep him on. Okung? Heck no. Waaaaaaaaaaaay too much money to throw away on the FA bust.

                        Any other LT's going to be out there? And I think we are a few season's past the shine being left on Joe Thomas for people and pundits who keep throwing his name out there for trade.

                        What kinda money would Leary command? Isn't he kind of getting long in the tooth?
                        Last edited by BroncosIsLife; 01-09-2017, 02:44 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BroncosIsLife View Post
                          Stephenson....are their many out there better than he is? Just looking at the money and if it may not be so bad to keep him on. Okung? Heck no. Waaaaaaaaaaaay too much money to throw away on the FA bust.

                          Any other LT's going to be out there? And I think we are a few season's past the shine being left on Joe Thomas for people and pundits who keep throwing his name out there for trade.

                          What kinda money would Leary command? Isn't he kind of getting long in the tooth?
                          Did you just ask if there is anyone out there better than Stephenson?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ksubroncosfan View Post
                            Did you just ask if there is anyone out there better than Stephenson?
                            I hope so. I miss Orlando Franklin.
                            Last edited by samparnell; 01-09-2017, 11:08 PM. Reason: post scriptum
                            "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes." ~ Publilius Syrus

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                            • #15
                              I think a lot of our OL problems is coaching. Our current OL coach has been there for 3 of the worst years our OL has had since the 80s imo....and under two different HC. Was not that impressed with his TE coaching between OL coaching jobs either.

                              Not saying we would end up with All Pros with better OL coaching but I definitely think it is logical to conclude that may have something to do with how our young guys are developing. It also has some impact on the vets.

                              I think Stephenson is gone no matter what. The Chiefs knew his weakness against the bull rush and exploited it with multiple rushers.

                              Okung is not that simple. We need to identify all the possible options out there at OL...when all things are considered Okung may be one of the best options.

                              Posters seem to forget Elway is not then only GM out there signing players. It is not like Madden where other GMs can be turned off.
                              Let's Ride!

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