With the mayhem of free agency just around the corner, this 2011 AFC West champion Denver Broncos team has a lot of needs to fill.
This offseason, the quality of top-tier talent is not lacking in any way, shape or form. The Broncos have holes all around the depth but have plenty of cap room left. They are in a perfect place to boost their roster and fill their holes via free agency and before the draft.
Questions loom around the offense, more specifically around quarterback Tim Tebow. Tebow had a solid year in 2011, and put on a show for NFL fans. But the offense that the Broncos are running—a simple college-style, read option philosophy—was busted by playoff time. Defenses got a hold of their weak spots.
Anyhow, the defense could use a little help, also. CB Champ Bailey had a phenomenal year once again, but he is aging very quickly. Additionally, they need aid at the defensive line.
Here are five free agents that would be beneficial to the Broncos in 2012 and beyond.
Steelers QB Dennis Dixon backed up Ben Roethlisberger for multiple years in the Steel City. Dixon is not ready to be an NFL starter just yet, but would be a reliable No. 2 stringer under Tebow. Dixon is blazing fast, and should the Broncos continue with their read-option extravaganza, Dixon could be utilized in multiple packages and situations.
Dixon would solidify the quarterback position for at least a year. In the 2013 draft, quarterback talent is of no shortage. If Dixon were to sign a one-year contract as a change-of-pace QB, the Broncos could save a draft pick this year and wait until next year to select a signal caller.
Toward the end of the season, Tebow seemed tired and out of gas. To give Tebow some extra energy heading into the playoffs, Dixon could even be used on a drive-to-drive basis.
Dixon is perfect for the Broncos' read-option system, and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy would surely draw up extra packages for the backup quarterback to star in.
Beast Mode plus Tebow Time?
The media's dream would come true.
Marshawn Lynch is nothing short of powerful. He and current RB Willis McGahee would form a lethal duo of power-backs that could easily tear through a defense.
Lynch wouldn't change the Broncos offensive philosophy, but would change their actual offense. If they establish a rotation between McGahee and Lynch, both will have fresh legs come December and January. The Broncos offense got worn out last season, so having another strong back on their roster would not hurt.
Also, RB Knowshon Moreno has one year left on his contract. He has extremely underperformed during his tenure in Denver, and was arrested this offseason for DUI. His license plate read "Sauced."
The Broncos would benefit immensely from the acquisition of Lynch. If the Broncos get him on their roster, they will be far more dynamic.
The Broncos had a decent year defensively last season, but definitely need some assistance on their depth chart.
Their pass-rush features Pro Bowlers DE Elvis Dumervil and DE/OLB Von Miller, but other than that, they are woeful.
Avril would increase the level of pass-rush immensely.
There is a tremendous chance that Avril will get franchise tagged by the Lions, but he clearly does not want to take that route. He wants to stay in Detroit; however, the two sides are struggling to meet.
The Broncos would be a fantastic defense if they got a first-round defensive tackle, Avril, and an interior linebacker. They would then have the option of bolstering their secondary, which they sure would love to do.
Giving Tebow targets is vital for the progress of his quarterback play.
If the Broncos are ready to commit to Tebow, they are going to need to build around him. That means acquiring Dixon and Lynch, but also getting Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe.
Bowe is part of a talented wide receiver free agent class. Vincent Jackson and DeSean Jackson are two other stars that headline that group.
The Broncos need to give Tebow far more targets than they currently have. WRs Eric Decker and Wild Card round hero Demaryius Thomas both have a lot of potential, but aren't quite ready to be No. 1 wideouts.
Bowe, a 27-year-old wideout from LSU, would bring a lot to the table. A big, athletic target is quintessential for every quarterback's development, and Tebow is no exception.
Another Chief makes the list.
Cornerback Brandon Carr was exceptional this season. The 25-year-old had 45 tackles and four interceptions. He has the potential to be the next Darrelle Revis.
Future Hall-of-Famer Champ Bailey is 33 years old and may switch to free safety in the near future. The Broncos are thin at cornerback, free safety and strong safety, so solidifying the defensive back core is a glaring necessity.
Carr would give the Broncos a future after Bailey retires. If they can sign him for a long, multi-year contract, they wouldn't have to worry about that position nearly as much as they do now. Denver would undoubtedly have an elite defense if it got Avril, Carr and a first-round defensive tackle.
To build the future and make the Broncos a true Super Bowl contender, they are forced to upgrade their defensive back core. Carr would immediately fill that hole, and get the Broncos one step closer to the NFL dream.