In 2005, the Denver Broncos drafted two players amongst the best young talent at the cornerback position in Darrent Williams and Domonique Foxworth. In tandem, Foxworth and Williams solidified the cornerback position opposite of Champ Bailey that had long been a gaping hole in the Broncos defense. Both made an immediate impact with two interceptions each as rookies.
Foxworth showed versatility as an additional safety in nickel packages and also tallied a forced fumble. Not coincidentally, the shored-up defense led to the Broncos' last AFC Championship Game appearance in 2005.
In 2007, both of these young stars left the Broncos via very different paths.
Williams was tragically killed in a New Year’s shooting. Foxworth was unable to break the starting lineup with the Broncos with the introduction of free agent Dre Bly and was shipped off to Atlanta and eventually Baltimore, where he finally earned a permanent starting position on one of the NFL’s top defenses.
Fast-forward to 2012, this week the Baltimore Ravens seem motivated to part ways with Foxworth, cancelling his contract due to a failed physical. The main concern with Foxworth is the status of his knee. Foxworth has sat out of the past two seasons with a torn ACL.
But the reason the Ravens haven’t re-signed Foxworth seems to be more of an underlying money issue than a health issue. Foxworth was due nearly $7 million under the details of his contract if he returns to the Ravens roster this season.
We’ve seen it before in the NFL, a player “fails” a team physical only to later be released and sign with another team. Given Foxworth’s past work ethic combined with the amount of time he has had to rehabilitate this injury, signs point that he could very well make a return next season, just not with Baltimore.
Should the Broncos sign Foxworth?
Given his past history with the Broncos organization, it could be very likely he makes a return to the team that drafted him. Unlike other former Broncos who were cemented members of the Shanahan era, Foxworth has shown versatility in other defensive schemes with different NFL franchises, meaning he could easily adapt to the new system with John Fox.
The Broncos currently have serious needs in the defensive backfield, and will be sure to address this in the draft. However, that doesn’t mean that they still don’t need veteran presence; the kind that Foxworth could provide.
He has shown that he is a leader on and off the field as a member of the NFLPA Executive Committee, along with Brian Dawkins. The Dawkins connection could be a key for the Broncos to re-sign Foxworth to the roster.
Additionally, Foxworth has community ties to Denver. During his time in Denver, he worked with various charities, most notably the Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center.
Foxworth is just the kind of good player and good guy that the Broncos need in their ongoing rebuilding process, and the Broncos should make a genuine effort to sign him going into 2012.