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jsthomp2007

Let the Offseason Begin

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Now that the Broncos lost last night, I think the Broncos are virtually mathematically out of the playoffs and sadly it looks like the Broncos will record their second straight losing losing season, something that hasn't happened in the Broncos' organization since 1971; that was before many of us, sans AKRNA, were even born...this is a cool distinction that VD.J. gets to have in Bronco history. 

This tells me one thing. VD has to go..kill the virus. And, his coaching staff needs to go. 

I'm not sure how it can be manufactured, but I'd like to see the Broncos do what they need to do to get a quality QB. I'm not sure if they can cut and trade for Matt Stafford. Or, since the Broncos are rather young do they trade up for Haskins and let him and the young Broncos mature together inside the NFL. If they go that route I think a veteran coaching presence is needed and would be happy with McCarthy or a trade for John Harbough. 

Other thoughts?

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16 hours ago, thebestever6 said:

Would eli be a better option than keenum along with a rookie qb to groom?

OMG no!  I’m in NY.  Eli is the worst possible option.  He’s done. A statue behind the line when he was young.  Now like a tree back there.  A turnover machine - always at the worst of times.  Look whate he’s done this year with all the offensive weapons the Giants have.

would he be better than Keenum - the probably goes without aging, as right now, outside of Bortles, Case is probably the worst starting QB in the league.  But Eli would literally be the worst option we could pursue. 

 

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1 hour ago, DiehardBronxFan said:

OMG no!  I’m in NY.  Eli is the worst possible option.  He’s done. A statue behind the line when he was young.  Now like a tree back there.  A turnover machine - always at the worst of times.  Look whate he’s done this year with all the offensive weapons the Giants have.

would he be better than Keenum - the probably goes without aging, as right now, outside of Bortles, Case is probably the worst starting QB in the league.  But Eli would literally be the worst option we could pursue. 

 

The other part is that Eli bails out really early now.   If it's not a TO, it's an early throw into the feet of the outlet RB (to avoid a sack), and sometimes, he even just goes down and takes a sack without the hit.   He's really seeing ghosts out there, a function of 3+ years with no OL help.   It's frustrating as an OBJ owner in FF, because he gets open so much...but Eli's not able to deliver the ball, or hang in that extra split second to let the play work.    

The Gmen are one of those teams that are primed to have a huge turnaround with a change at QB.   Keenum is awful, but Eli's not much of an upgrade, and he's less mobile.  It's too bad, Eli from pre-2016, sure....but this is now 3 seasons of decline in play.   At this stage, a big no thanks.

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Re: offseason, we should take the approach other teams do - go high and low for QB, albeit cheaply this year.   We brought in the CFL's best QB, Bo Levi Mitchell.  He'd be min. wage, and controllable for 4 years....why not.   Worst case, min-wage contract gamble spent.    One of the backup QB's probably will come cheaply - no problem there.

Ultimately, though, our solution that's long-term is the draft.  It's just that there's no good Rd1 candidates likely where we will pick.   I'm not even that high on the top guys that are there this year, as their levels of success and QB skills don't match up nearly as long or as well as last year's top class.  But even the top 2-3 guys are likely gone when we pick (none of whom I'd have put ahead of anyone in Rd1 last year).    But I recognize Elway's going to have a really hard sell without having someone else other than Keenum to challenge him. 

The issue is at 10M guaranteed, it's just enough to make a cut painful (11M more to keep Keenum), and the overall commitment makes paying significant $ for a Bridgewater type guy very unappealing to Elway.   In a perfect world, Keenum was supposed to be a 2-year bridge which allowed us to attack the 2020 draft if our other lottery tickets didn't work out.   The problem is 2-fold - Keenum's not even a bridge QB...and our lottery tickets have all gone poof.     It's just a matter of how much we pay for the next batch of lottery tickets, and when we dive in hard to a future guy we're willing to commit to for 2-3 years (Rd1-2 picks).

 

Now, while QB is one issue - we have other issues to address.    We really do need a bunch of other fixes, namely:
 

-Cover CB to help CHJ (and to replace Roby)

-More OL help, preferably T, but honestly, more trench help is never a bad thing (Turner's a backup, and Veldheer is done.  Wilkinson is probably a swing guy at best).

-A top 3 WR who can play outside - DeSean Hamilton is best suited for slot.  Sadly, these are really hard to find in FA, at least not without paying a fair amount of cash.   While Elway struck gold with Sanders so many years ago, the track record with spending big $ in FA is really sobering.   Guys are usually in decline, and they're often not true top 2 WR's anymore, but knew their old team's system and fit so well...and often underperform badly when making the move (Sanders was the perfect combo of a guy stuck behind an established star receiver in AB and their decision to go cheap and young with WR2 in Martavyius Bryant, but you seldom see young guys with emerging talent let go nowadays).

Cover CB, OL's and WR1's cost a mint in FA - so I'd imagine we go 2 of our first 3 picks to address 2 of those areas - the nice part is that BPA philosophy matches well, as WR/OL help are particularly strong and Rd1 CB would likely represent overall BPA where we pick too.


Internally - I imagine that there are 2 contracts where Elway is going to likely walk away from - Leary & Sanders, given their injuries and likelihood of decline and saved $.   Sanders really crushes me, but that's an injury where explosion rarely returns.  Leary is an easy call, decline phase is already here with him.    If Elway is comfortable with Jewell's development, then another easy cut is Brandon Marshall.     A more interesting call will be Wolfe and his near-11M salary, of which less than 2M is dead money.    He's not elite, but cutting him would also likely mean we'd be going Day 1-2 in the draft (it is a draft incredibly strong in the trenches, but we only have so many picks).  The thing is, March is when some of his extra $ becomes guaranteed, so if there's a decision, it's coming well before the draft.   

Extension-wise, Shelby Harris will get a RFA tender likely at the 2nd round, and then Elway should work on an extension.  Dude is our inside glue now in both run and pass rush interior pressure.   A more interesting case will be Paradis - he'll command top 5 C money, so it's just a Q of how much Elway's willing to spend.   The injury offers a chance for a discount, but it's not going to be a major savings.   

2 guys who could definitely get discounts that are worth retaining are Jeff Heuermann and Shaq Barrett.  It's bad practice to pay market rates for a 2nd contract, we've seen that with our aging vets.   But TE's are a notable exception given how long it takes for them to develop, they don't usually cost that much.   Hopefully that's the case with Heuermann, who really only started coming on the last year or so.    Barrett's another case where we could get a market-friendly deal, but unlike Heuermann,  a really smart competitor could offer the moon $$ wise (and the chance to start regularly, and get paid again later down the road), and he'd be silly not to get paid, if someone shows him the $.   Given how teams are always looking for EDGE help, he's certainly at greater risk to find a team willing to show him the $$ and walking.

Edited by Broncofan

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If the Broncos sign Bo Levi, could we please hire Jim Bob Cooter as the HC?  

Mostly, I agree with Broncofan's assessments.  It looks like the younger guys who have been stepping up make for easy decision to let guys go like Paradis, Marshal, and even Sanders.  Hopefully, the Broncos have some cash, outside what they will owe Keenum.  

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4 hours ago, Cutler06 said:

What kind of cap money will we have ??

Just cutting Sanders gets us into the $55M range for cap space, with only Shaq Barrett and Matt Paradis being significant guys to retain. Ronald Leary's a prime candidate to restructure, possibly saving a few extra mill there as well. 

As for offseason needs; an outside WR (and/or gamebreaking TE), an outside corner, an interior DL, a right tackle. And a QB, obviously. I actually think our offensive line was pretty good before the interior all died on us. Would have no problem bringing back Bolles/Leary/Paradis/Garcia.

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6 hours ago, Cutler06 said:

What kind of cap money will we have ??

This is going to be a hot topic of discussion over the next few months. HERE is a good place to find cap information, it's very detailed and updated very quickly when news breaks. I would suggest bookmarking it for everyone here who hasn't. 

To answer the question, here is what we are looking at. 

Right now, the projected league-wide cap is being pegged somewhere between $187m and $191m. We have $6.4m worth of rollover so, with a cap of $189m, we would have about $44.6m in cap space before we make any moves. 

Cutting the following players would save us the following amounts: 

  • Case Keenum - $21m cap hit, $10m dead: Savings = $11m.
  • Emmanuel Sanders - $12.9375m cap hit, $2.6875m dead: Savings = $10.25m
  • Derek Wolfe - $10.925m cap hit, $2.375m dead: Savings = $8.55m
  • Ron Leary - $9.375 cap hit, $1.75m dead: Savings = $7.625m
  • Brandon Marshall: $9.0m cap hit, $4.0m dead: Savings = $5.0m
  • Darian Stewart: $6.4m cap hit, $2.8m deal: Savings = $3.6m

If we cut all of these players, we would save $46.025m, bringing our cap space to $90.625m. That sounds like a lot but bear in mind that before they make any moves, the Jets have over $100m in cap space. Of those six listed above, I would be surprised to see Sanders, Leary, Marshall and Stewart come back, at least at those prices. I think Wolfe is kept but perhaps he is restructured to save money. I don't think, unless we trade or somehow otherwise acquire a bonafide staring QB, Case goes anywhere.

That being said, the following contributors from this year will be free agents when the new league year starts in March: Matt Paradis, Shaq Barrett, Domata Peko, Billy Turner, Zack Kerr, Tramaine Brock, Bradley Roby, Shane Ray, Shelby Harris, Jeff Heuerman and Max Garcia. All are unrestricted free agents meaning we will have to compete with other teams for their services. 

Hope this helps.

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AAA, I am fine with those cuts.  I love Emmanuel Sanders, and if he offered a hometown discount/restructure, great!  If not, the Broncos are retooling anyway and it was clear they wanted to get younger at WR.  Case is just bad.  I would actually like to keep him, if in another year he is cool with being QB2, which by now, he has realize that is as good as he is; he is an A1 QB2...he can win you a few games in a pinch like Foles does for Philadephia and that's about it.  And, I think he'd be a good mentor to the rookie we draft. 

Nevertheless, another good draft and $90MM to spend should put the Broncos on a better path, assuming we get a worthy coach and the ownership issues are resolved.  If they aren't, I'd say stash the money till they are. 

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5 hours ago, jsthomp2007 said:

AAA, I am fine with those cuts.  I love Emmanuel Sanders, and if he offered a hometown discount/restructure, great!  If not, the Broncos are retooling anyway and it was clear they wanted to get younger at WR.  Case is just bad.  I would actually like to keep him, if in another year he is cool with being QB2, which by now, he has realize that is as good as he is; he is an A1 QB2...he can win you a few games in a pinch like Foles does for Philadephia and that's about it.  And, I think he'd be a good mentor to the rookie we draft. 

Nevertheless, another good draft and $90MM to spend should put the Broncos on a better path, assuming we get a worthy coach and the ownership issues are resolved.  If they aren't, I'd say stash the money till they are. 

There's a lot to be said about that approach, just blow the whole thing up. I think we keep Case because, as you say, he's a good reliable backup even if we land a sure-fire starter (the odds of which are remote, IMO). I also have it on pretty good authority (my Broncos beat reporter source) that they will keep Wolfe as he is viewed as very important in the locker room. He is a prime candidate for a restructure, however. 

If we move on from the other four, however, we save $26.475m, putting our cap space at over $70m. 

Edited by AnAngryAmerican

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The 2 cuts that will create a lot of hard feelings will be Sanders & Wolfe, and I get why - both true high-character guys who've been warriors.   It's just that neither is really justifiable at those cap #'s, especially with Sanders' injury (pre-injury, no-brainer to keep him).    It's also going to be tough optics-wise to cut them and retain Keenum, but I don't see any other likely outcome, given the 10M dead money.   It's just going to suck hard looking at that 21M cap hit for the performance we're getting, but at least it will be done with after this year.    If Wolfe can be restructured to having a smaller base and more incentives, then it's worth considering.  Sadly I don't see any real way out for Sanders being retained, it would be a pure leap of faith where the history and age for the WR are huge no-go's.

I don't think we should retain Leary even with a restructure.    His back troubles are a cascade injury from chronic knee problems.  Once you are into this type of problem, the fall is swift, and it's ugly.   Marshall is an easy cut.    Stewart sadly has little to no trade value - if we can get it, great, but if not, it's another tough cut optics-wise, but in reality Stewart's play has declined the most out of all our safeties (sad to say it, really hoped we could squeeze 1 more year and then get something with a trade, but Father Time remains undefeated).

I do think we can get Heuermann back relatively cheaply, and that's worth it, he shouldn't be expensive, and TE's take so long to develop, it's worth it to get the 2nd contract, esp. if it's something in the 3M range.  Barrett is likely going to be a much more expensive prop, given how teams are always looking for EDGE help.   It really depends on how expensive it gets.    Shelby Harris will likely get the 2nd round tender, and should be a priority extension.   Paradis is going to be an interesting case - if he chases the $, it's going to put Elway's resolve to the test.  

Most of all, though - I really hope Elway does NOT go on a vet spending spree.   The vet route has done nothing to really help us with impact guys other than Peko the last 2 years.   Veldheer, Clinton McDonald, Tramaine Brock, etc....were not the answer.  And TBH we shouldn't be that surprised, the game is such a meat grinder, it's why targeting FA only for near elite-level impact guys (or mining for younger value) works best.   Much rather we save the $ for real impact players in 2020+.   And most importantly, not create the tight 2017-18 cap situation over again.   If we are back to being real contenders, then I don't have a problem with that approach - but we need to build the core from the foundation, and that's with cheap rookie-level contracts.   Even if only half the guys work out, it sets up a cheap foundation that we can bank on.  And then we can go back to filling in.  But for 2019, a big no-thanks, not ready for that yet.

Last year Elway brought in analytics guru Warren Sharp for advice, and then added more metrics and skill-based assessments to his draft.   Elway said he was planning to add more metrics and skill based analysis to the draft in 2019.  I hope so.  It shouldn't be the only tool used, but it's also pretty clear the best draft teams are integrating its use as part of the equation.  

Edited by Broncofan

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Given the expected cuts, we’re likely going to have somewhere in the neighborhood of $60-$70m to spend on free agency, which includes retaining our current guys. I would pay Paradis, who I think does sign for a (somewhat) team-friendly deal. He doesn’t seem like a money chaser, he has a ring here and a strong standing in the lockerroom as a team captain. Throw in his injury (price reducer), his position (one of the lowest paid) and I think he stays for a fair price.

I think the free agency money needs to be spent on signing depth/rotational guys and not on breaking the bank for 1 or 2 big names. I would prioritize signing a veteran WR, a (cheap) veteran QB, one or two OLs and a starting ILB. 

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Is there a single franchise tag number for offensive linemen or are guards/centers measured separately to offensive tackles? If it's the latter then we might want to think about tagging Matt Paradis, but if we'd have to pay him like an elite left tackle then that's a no from me.

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42 minutes ago, AnAngryAmerican said:

Given the expected cuts, we’re likely going to have somewhere in the neighborhood of $60-$70m to spend on free agency, which includes retaining our current guys. I would pay Paradis, who I think does sign for a (somewhat) team-friendly deal. He doesn’t seem like a money chaser, he has a ring here and a strong standing in the lockerroom as a team captain. Throw in his injury (price reducer), his position (one of the lowest paid) and I think he stays for a fair price.

I think the free agency money needs to be spent on signing depth/rotational guys and not on breaking the bank for 1 or 2 big names. I would prioritize signing a veteran WR, a (cheap) veteran QB, one or two OLs and a starting ILB. 

http://walterfootball.com/freeagentspreview2019.php

I think the key is keeping the core of the Defense together.  Especially the DB's and Edge Rushers is really important.  I am super disappointed in the Su'a Cravens signing, but am hopeful that he can get on the field next year.  But signing a S like Earl Thomas/Ha-Ha Clinton Dix/Landon Collins would be an upgrade at that position.   If C Harris gets back and we re-sign Roby, I think we are better off at CB than we were to start the year.  Most every guy at CB can play.  Looking at an ILB is probably smart, but our guys are serviceable at that position.  If we were to go after a C.J. Mosley, I would not be mad.  I think re-signing Shaq Barrett is a smart move too, he is a CSU Ram; nuf said.  Keeping Peko is important as well.  There are two or 3 DTs that are interesting too. Sheldon Richardson and Grady Jackson are guys I really like.  But given the depth at DT in the draft, this this may not be a position to spend the money on.

While I agree that we should not break the bank, we need to make a splash at key positions on the offensive side of the ball.  ER, OL and QB.  Keenum is NOT the answer.  He can't play.  Trading for a Flacco?  Signing Teddy Bridgewater? Tyrod Taylor is a FA?  Trading with PHI for one of their guys?  Cutting Keenum and replacing with one of these guys would be a big upgrade and bridge us to win soon and draft the QBOF this year or next. 

I would also really like to see us look at a Golden Tate/Donte Mocreief/Tavon Austin at WR.

We need help at TE in a big way given that Heuerman is a UFA and we are a mess here with injuries.  Tyler Eifert and Jared Cook are UFA.  Man I would love to see us with one of them.  It would put us in a great position to see if Jake can once again come back from injury and resign the young kids in Matt Lacrosse and Brian Parker.  Both of whom showed they can play. 

I really think the OL boils down to resigning Veldheer and Paradis, Max Garcia and Billy Turner.  Outside of QB, I think keeping the OL together and looking to draft OLOF is our most important priority.

My Early take is:

Hire:

A Harbaugh

Resign:

Roby,  Paradis, Barrett, Garcia, Veldheer, Peko, Turner, Shelby Harris, Jordan Taylor.

FA Signing:

Tyrod Taylor (assuming we don't trade), Jared Cook, Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, Donte Moncreif.

Draft:

QB, WR, DT, CB, ILB, OG, OT, TE, QB, QB, QB

 

 

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