The initial flurry of free agent activity has subsided and the Broncos were as active as any team in the NFL. Their list of acquisitions looks like an oversized draft class. They signed players at a variety of positions, which is good because the Broncos have a variety of needs.
Here are some thoughts about the Broncos’ moves in free agency. Keep in mind that I am an optimist and look for the bright side of things.
I like what the Broncos did here. They brought in experienced NFL players Correll Buckhalter, J.J. Arrington and LaMont Jordan. Add them to a group of young backs including Peyton Hillis, Ryan Torain, Selvin Young and Andre Hall and the Broncos will have plenty of options once training camp starts.
They simply had to bring in some guys who have produced in the NFL. They accomplished that. When Coach McDaniels was in New England, the Patriots used several running backs instead of one workhorse back. I can see the Broncos using the same philosophy at running back in 2009. If they do, they’ll have some good candidates from which to choose.
I think Buckhalter, Arrington and Jordan can and will be productive, assuming all are on the team in September when the regular season opens.
And let’s not forget that Hillis showed he is an NFL-caliber player in 2008 and Torain showed flashes of good play in his short time on the field before injuring his knee.
There is no doubt that the Broncos upgraded at the safety position. If all goes according to plan, they signed their two starters in Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill. At 35 years old, Dawkins isn’t the same player he was five to eight years ago. But I think there’s enough left in his tank for him to help this team.
And from everything I hear, Dawkins will be a terrific addition to the locker room. The Broncos’ defense has lacked a passionate leader since Al Wilson played here. Dawkins could very well be the type of leader the Broncos’ D so desperately needs.
I can’t say I know a lot about Renaldo Hill but I have to believe he will be, at the very least, pretty good. He started 38 of 39 games for the Dolphins the last three years and has started virtually every game the last six seasons.
I also like the signing of cornerback Andre Goodman, another starter for the Dolphins a year ago. As we discussed in an earlier blog, the Broncos had to sign a starting cornerback to play opposite Champ Bailey. They did that and they seemed to have landed a good one. Of course, time will tell.
With the NFL still looking into Brandon Marshall’s situation, the signing of Jabar Gaffney could prove to be a really good move. Gaffney hasn’t put up huge numbers in his career and isn’t an elite, number one receiver, or at least hasn’t shown that type of ability to this point in his career.
Gaffney, however, has been pretty reliable. Given an opportunity to play a bigger role, he might be a surprise, especially with a quarterback like Jay Cutler delivering the ball.
If Marshall misses some games, we can’t expect Gaffney alone to replace Brandon. But he would certainly be a good option to have.
I really like the signing of Andra Davis. He also fits the mold of a player you might not immediately think of when recalling the elite players at his position. But he has been a really good player for the Browns, who haven’t exactly been that good over the years.
Let’s not lump the signing of Davis into the “Browncos” experiment from a few years ago. The Broncos picked up a tough and talented player. They also added some depth at the linebacker position and they’ll need that as they switch to the 3-4 defense, or at least play more of that scheme.
The Broncos did themselves a favor by adding Chris Simms to the roster. Here’s a guy who led the Buccaneers to the playoffs just a few years ago and then suffered that horrific spleen injury. No doubt that set him back.
But I think Simms has good football left in him. Every team needs a quality back-up quarterback. I think Simms puts the Broncos in good shape at this spot.
No doubt the Broncos have work left to do. To me, however, they took some good first steps in free agency. They added talent and experience at several positions.
Are the Broncos a playoff team with the recent additions? I don’t know. But I do think they are a better team with the players they added. It will be fun to see what other moves they might make leading up to the draft. And then it will be most interesting to see whom they draft in late April.
There’s one other topic I’d like to briefly discuss before ending this blog, and that’s the Jay Cutler trade talks.
It is the type of story that elicits immediate and passionate reaction. I understand why that is so. I appreciate those of you took the time to post comments on the situation but I must also admit I was disappointed at the name-calling and inappropriate remarks that cropped up. It wasn’t widespread, but it was there.
A few of you asked my thoughts about the trade talks and what transpired once the talks became public. I almost always take a wait-and-see approach before weighing in on things like this because the initial information rarely represents the whole picture.
Coach McDaniels and Jay are scheduled to meet soon. In the near future, I’ll offer some thoughts about the situation.
Feel free to weigh in on what you think about the Broncos’ free agent signings. I appreciate your reading and posting your thoughts.