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Denver Broncos Free Agency: Potential Signings, Rumors and Storylines

DJ SiddiqiCorrespondent IIIMarch 13, 2012

Denver Broncos Free Agency: Potential Signings, Rumors and Storylines

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    UPDATE 3/21: Jason La Canfora of NFL.com is reporting that the Jets have traded their 4th and 6th round draft picks to the Broncos for Tim Tebow and their 7th round draft pick.

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    3/19: Peyton Manning to Broncos

    Chris Mortensen of ESPN is reporting that Peyton Manning will sign with the Broncos. Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that the Broncos will attempt to trade Tim Tebow. He reports Peyton Manning's contract is 5 years, $96 million dollars.


    After the Broncos' season ended 45-10 at the hands of the New England Patriots two months ago, we thought we had all of the questions and answers mapped out.

    We thought Tim Tebow would for sure enter the 2012 season as the starting quarterback of the Broncos, with Denver likely signing a veteran quarterback as a free agent and/or a rookie mid-round pick to at least push Tebow as the starter under center.

    Oh, how things change.

    Just a week ago, when Peyton Manning was officially released after 14 years spent with the Indianapolis Colts, the Broncos surprisingly emerged as one of the dozen teams that expressed interest in Manning's services.

    Now let's be honest. Last Tuesday, when Manning was released, who actually expected the Broncos to emerge just a week later as the most likely destination for the four-time MVP?

    Somehow, someway, the Broncos have managed to become the most likely destination for the biggest free agent on the market.

    That's life in the NFL.

    Just when you think you have things mapped out, you have the potential of striking gold with a future hall-of-famer.

    Along with Peyton Manning/the quarterback situation, here are several of the Broncos' most pressing issues when it pertains to free agency.

What Will the Broncos Do at Quarterback?

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    3/26: ProFootballTalk is reporting that the Broncos have signed QB Caleb Hanie. He will backup Peyton Manning.

    UPDATE 3/21: Jason La Canfora of NFL.com is reporting that the Jets have traded their 4th and 6th round draft picks to the Broncos for Tim Tebow and their 7th round draft pick.

    3/19: Peyton Manning to Broncos

    Chris Mortensen of ESPN is reporting that Peyton Manning will sign with the Broncos. Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that the Broncos will attempt to trade Tim Tebow. He reports Peyton Manning's contract is 5 years, $96 million dollars.

    Let's start with the topic that interests not only Bronco fans, but just about every NFL fan that is out there.

    What will the Broncos do with their quarterback situation?

    Will they sign Peyton Manning, the biggest name on the free agent market in years? If they do so, will they confirm the rumors that they will trade Tim Tebow in the event of the signing of Manning?

    There are so many things to dissect about this situation, that one could literally go paragraph after paragraph analyzing this topic.

    What does this say about how the Broncos feel about Tebow as the franchise quarterback? How will Manning return from several neck surgeries over the past couple of years? How will Tebow respond to questions on and off the field if Manning isn't signed after the Broncos made it clear that they'd get rid of him in the event of the signing of Peyton?

    Entering the off-season, and as recently as last week, it was expected the Broncos would sign a veteran free agent quarterback the likes of Chad Henne to give the quarterback position more depth. It was also expected the Broncos would draft a quarterback in the mid-rounds, such as Brandon Weeden.

    However, to the surprise of many, the Broncos emerged as a viable candidate to sign Manning as early as last week.

    No matter where Peyton signs, he's already had a huge impact on the Broncos' off-season plans.

    Update: Pro Football Talk is reporting via Twitter that the Chiefs have agree to terms with QB Brady Quinn.

How Will the Broncos Address the Safety Situation?

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    3/15: ProFootballTalk is reporting the Broncos have signed veteran DB Mike Adams.

    With Brian Dawkins possibly retiring and the Broncos having a rather young nucleus in the defensive backfield with players such as Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter, it would only make sense for Denver to acquire a veteran safety through free agency.

    As of now, Oshiomogho Atogwe is now a possibility. Atogwe was released by the Redskins on Monday, after having a solid season in which he had 60 tackles and three interceptions in 13 games played.

    With Dawkins' future uncertain, it looks more and more likely with each passing day that the Broncos will have to fill Dawkins' void with a veteran safety.

    The duo of Carter and Moore struggled heavily in Dawkins' absence, including being a part of a defensive effort that got shredded for six touchdowns by Tom Brady in the Broncos' 45-10 loss in New England during the Divisional Round of the Playoffs.

    Other notable free agents include Laron Landry and Thomas Decoud.

    If the Broncos are to continue to improve defensively, the last line of defense will need to be re-stocked.

Will the Broncos Tinker with the Running Back Position?

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    2011 free agent signee Willis McGahee had a resurgent season that saw him lead the Broncos to the best rushing attack in all of football.

    McGahee wound up running for 1,200 yards and 4.8 yards a carry after taking over the starting job a few weeks into the season after Knowshon Moreno was slowed down by injuries and inconsistency.

    Although Moreno is not a free agent with one year left on his deal, Knowshon was recently arrested for a DUI, and after three underwhelming seasons as a first round draft pick in 2009, it wouldn't shock anybody to see the Broncos completely cut ties with Moreno.

    With McGahee turning 31 years old in 2012, it wouldn't hurt for the Broncos to sign an insurance back in case McGahee finally breaks down due to nearly a decade spent in the NFL.

    This is where a guy like Mike Tolbert enters the picture. According to Tolbert in a radio interview, the Broncos are one of seven teams that are a possible fit for Tolbert.

    Other possible options include former Bronco Peyton Hillis and Michael Bush.

Will Denver Re-Sign Brodrick Bunkley to Stabilize Defensive Tackle Position?

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    One of the reasons the Broncos were able to have a dominant stretch defensively, which aided in the Broncos' mid-season seven game winning streak, was in large part due to the play of pre-season acquisition Brodrick Bunkley.

    Bunkley stabilized the interior of a defensive line that lacked a true anchor since maybe the days of Trevor Pryce playing on the inside.

    However, Bunkley is a free agent entering the offseason, and there isn't the slightest clue what the Broncos' intentions are when it comes to the re-signing of Bunkley.

    If the Broncos want to continue their climb up the defensive rankings, Denver has to re-sign Bunkley, who at the age of 28, is in the prime of his career.

    With Marcus Thomas also a free agent, the Broncos could target a defensive tackle either through the draft, or free agency.

    Viable free agent defensive tackles include the likes of Paul Soliai,  Jason Jones and Antonio Garay.

How Will Denver React to DJ Williams Suspension?

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    Update: Adam Schefter of ESPN reports the Broncos have come to a three-year deal with linebacker Joe Mays.

    With the recent news that captain DJ Williams will be suspended for the first six games of the 2012 NFL season subject to appeal, it opens up another need for the Broncos.

    The reason this is the case, is because Denver has four pending free agents at the linebacker position. Those four linebackers would be Wesley Woodyard, Braxton Kelley, Joe Mays and Mario Haggan.

    With the exception of Kelley, every single one of those linebackers were starters at some point of the season for the Broncos in 2011.

    The recent revelation of Williams being suspended due to violating the NFL's substance abuse policy puts the Broncos in a position where they need to re-sign a few familiar faces. If they fail to do so, they will need to look towards free agency to rectify what was one of the Broncos' deepest positions of depth in 2011.

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