The Denver Broncos were historically fantastic on the offensive side of the ball last year. They had some issues on defense, particularly against the pass (ranked 21st according to Football Outsiders), which didn’t serve them so well when they got beat to hell in the Super Bowl. With Peyton Manning’s career only expected to last another year or two, the Broncos need to win now, and they’re spending money like it.
Here’s what the Broncos have done so far:
-Signed cornerback Aqib Talib to a six-year, $57 million deal with $26 million guaranteed. There’s no way Talib plays out the entirety of that contract, so consider this something like a two-year deal for $13 million a year. That’s a good price for one of the top corners the league. Plus, they took him right out from under the Patriots, a direct competitor to the AFC throne.
-Signed safety T.J. Ward to a four-year contract for $23 million with $14 million guaranteed. Again, this may not be more than a two or three year deal, depending on how things work out. Ward is also an elite backfield defender, and he comes from… the Browns. Who could maybe have been decent? I guess that’s a stretch.
Now, there’s reason to believe that the Broncos are closing in on DeMarcus Ware, who was cut by the Cowboys yesterday. [UPDATE: Yep, they got him.] That means the Broncos would have signed three of arguably the top 10 best free agents on the market this season, for something like $25-30 million a year. Couple these guys with Von Miller, and we’re talking a much improved team from one that went 13-3 and made the Super Bowl. That’s scary.
There is precedent for thinking an NFL team that signed a bunch of good free agents would be one of the best, however. Remember the 2011 Eagles, or as Vince Young called them, the “Dream Team”? That team has since been scattered like ashes to opposite ends of the earth (Young, out of the League; Nnamdi Asomugha, out of the league; Michael Vick, the Jets [?]). There’s no guarantee that good players make a good team. Chemistry and scheme are way more important to the NFL game than most fans realize.
So what will it be, Broncos? Can you load up on talent without sacrificing what made you so potent last year? Or are we going to find out that the secret to all your success was actually Eric Decker? Just six months to go until we find out…
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