With training camp and preseason slowly creeping up on us, I wanted to visit the Denver Broncos offseason departures and additions, as well as their potential impact to the team.
They lost some previous first-round draft picks, added some veteran talent, and landed some big-name free agents to help bolster both the offense and the secondary.
In the 2019 NFL offseason, the Broncos added some pieces and lost some pieces, as is tradition in the NFL. Especially for a team that won 6 games the previous year. Some key departures for this squad were incumbent starter at center Matt Paradis, who signed with the Panthers, Brandon Marshall, who signed with the Raiders, Case Keenum, who was traded to the Washington Redskins, Bradley Roby (Texans), Shane Ray (Ravens), Shaq Barrett (Tampa Bay), and Darian Stewart (FA).
The Paradis loss stings, but he wanted more money than the Broncos were willing to shell out, especially considering he’s been often injured the last two seasons, ending 2018 with a broken leg.
You have to feel bad for Case Keenum. Led the Vikings to a Conference Championship, then is kicked to the Broncos to try and recapture that lightning in a bottle for a huge pay-day, and ultimately falls back to earth as a good journey-man quarterback.
The Brandon Marshall loss means very little, as he was losing healthy reps on defense to young Josey Jewell, which means that Marshall’s contract was too big for his value, and he was on his way out. Darian Stewart was splitting time with Will Parks and Sua Cravens at the end of the season, all of whom weren’t crazy effective, so his $9 million dollar cap-hit needed to be relieved.
Both Roby and Shane Ray had their shining moments as Broncos, but Shane’s injury history made the money he was requesting not reasonable, and Roby’s struggles last season, as a number CB2, left a ton to be desired. The biggest disappointment for me was the Shaq Barrett loss because he was representing my Alma Mater (Colorado State University) and he seemingly was always making plays even with minimal reps.
Major Free Agent Additions
QB Joe Flacco, CB Bryce Callahan, SS Kareem Jackson, and RT Jawaan James as well as a huge coaching change this offseason in which they brought in coach Vic Fangio, who led the Chicago Bears defense to a top-five rank last season. They also brought in coach Mike Munchak, who’s known around the league as one of the best offensive line coaches in the league, and Offensive Coordinator Rich Scangarello who joins the Broncos after building the 49ers, with a backup, no-name quarterback, into a solid offensive unit.
Flacco will be the starter at quarterback this season, with no competition as stated by the Broncos Brass. Flacco is coming out of Baltimore, where he started the season on pace to have his best statistical season of his career, which was then derailed by injury and ultimately lead to him losing his job to Lamar Jackson.
Bryce Callahan re-joins Fangio from Chicago and fills a huge void at the second cornerback spot left by Bradley Roby.
The Broncos secondary has an opportunity to return to dominance with Justin Simmons, Chris Harris Jr., Bryce Callahan, Isaac Yiadom, Kareem Jackson and Will Parks. Kareem Jackson has the flexibility to be a nickel, defensive back, cornerback, or even one of the safety positions depending on where he’s needed.
Finally, Juwaan James has a chance to solidify the revolving door that the Broncos have had at right tackle since the Peyton Manning days (Michael Schofield, Menelik Watson, Jason Veldheer, Donald Stephenson, Billy Turner).
These offseason moves, coupled with internal player development and another solid draft has the opportunity to get the Broncos back on the positive side of a .500 record.