8 Denver Broncos Who Deserve Long-Term Extensions
The Denver Broncos have made quite a splash in the offseason.
John Elway and company have done their best to assemble a team that they feel can compete for a Super Bowl.
But in this business you can't only think about the present. You have to plan and adjust for the future.
Which players on the current roster are worthy of contract extensions?
Who do the Broncos need to assure that Denver is their home for the long term?
Here are eight Broncos that deserve long-term deals.
8. Demaryius Thomas
Demaryius Thomas won't be an unrestricted free agent until 2015.
I don't care.
Thomas should be re-signed just for this play in the AFC Wild Card game this past season when he stiff-armed the Pittsburgh Steelers' Ike Taylor and took the opening play of overtime for a game-ending touchdown.
Thomas looks like he can be franchise type player. A new contract probably won't come until after this next season at the earliest.
But barring a complete meltdown, it should be in the works.
7. Robert Ayers
This could be a make-or-break season for the Broncos' Robert Ayers.
The defensive end was drafted out of the University of Tennessee with the 18th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft.
Ayers has now played in the league for three years and his production has been inconsistent at best.
He is coming off of his most productive season so far. He registered 39 tackles and three sacks as he finally stayed healthy in all 16 games.
Ayers needs to show that he can be a force opposite Elvis Dumervil.
If he does, he can expect a new contract that will extend his current deal.
6. Eric Decker
Eric Decker is another player that is under contract until 2014.
However, his value may go up significantly playing with Peyton Manning.
Playing in an offense that ranked 31st out of 32 in passing, Decker still caught 44 passes for eight touchdowns.
That's a valuable player that you need to reward with an extension when the time is due.
5. Britton Colquitt
Yes he is a punter. But think back to the average and below-average punters that we have had in this town.
Feel free to stop me.
Colquitt has been very solid in his two seasons in Denver. He will become a restricted free agent after the upcoming season.
He has a two-year average of 46.1 yards per punt with 52 punts inside the 20-yard line.
Let's go ahead and reward the guy before the punter carousel resumes again.
4. Ryan Clady
Ryan Clady is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2013.
The Broncos would be wise to get him signed to an extension as soon as possible.
Pro Bowl left tackles are not growing on trees, and Clady has been elected to the Pro Bowl twice in his four-year career.
I would be very surprised if the Broncos don't make Clady a Bronco for life.
3. Matt Prater
The Broncos designated kicker Matt Prater as their "franchise player" following the 2011 season.
That means the Broncos have another year before they have to give him a new deal. They will also be able to match any offer that he may receive.
There is very little question that Prater is deserving of a new contract.
Prater is currently the most accurate kicker in NFL history when attempting kicks of over 50 yards. He has been nearly perfect on extra points (130/132) and has made over 80 percent of his kicks since joining the Broncos in 2007.
2. Marcus Thomas
Marcus Thomas has had a very solid if unspectacular career so far with the Broncos since being drafted in 2007.
So why is he No. 2 on this list?
Simple. The Broncos need defensive linemen.
And I mean right NOW.
With the departure of Brodrick Bunkley, a struggling defensive line has managed to get even weaker.
Thomas needs to be resigned immediately.
1. Von Miller
Von Miller is just coming off his rookie season so he won't be due for a new contract for a few years.
But Miller has already established himself as one of the most exciting defensive players in the league.
Don't believe me?
Watch the video.
In just his rookie season Miller made 50 tackles and logged 11.5 sacks.
Von Miller needs to be a Bronco for a long time.