10 Free Agents the Denver Broncos Must Target This Offseason
While most Denver Bronco fans are focusing on the playoffs, as they should be, I thought we could use the well-earned bye week to look ahead to the offseason.
Denver has been playing well on both sides of the ball for months; however, there is always room for improvement. The 2013 free-agent class contains some intriguing names; ones that could fit well into the Broncos' system.
Here's a look at the players that Denver should consider when making plans for the future of the franchise this offseason.
Brandon Moore, OG, NY Jets
It is no secret that the New York Jets had a turbulent season with very few bright spots.
Even though Brandon Moore will be 33 at the start of the 2013 season, he just might be the best offensive guard out there this offseason and has been a standout at guard for New York in his 10th season in the league.
With Peyton Manning now behind center, Denver can always use more depth on the offensive line to protect its valuable signal-caller moving forward.
In Moore, the Broncos would gain a veteran leader who is hungry for a Super Bowl. With the current state of the Jets organization, it should be easy to entice him to finish out his career in Denver with a decent price tag.
Randy Starks, DT, Miami Dolphins
With both Justin Bannon and Ty Warren having contracts that terminate in 2012, it is imperative for Denver to acquire a defensive tackle this offseason.
At 6'3", 305 lbs, Randy Starks has had a solid career without too much attention and hype surrounding him. In his nine-year career in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins, Starks has 307 tackles with 32.5 sacks.
In Starks, they would gain a durable veteran who is a major factor on the inside for the Dolphins defensive line. He not only can make key plays against the run but also contributes to the pass rush as well.
If Starks is affordable and available during the 2013 free-agency period, it would behoove the Broncos to give him a look as he would fit well into their defensive scheme.
Danny Amendola, WR, St. Louis Rams
Danny Amendola is an unrestricted free agent in 2013, and it is still unclear whether the St. Louis Rams will use their franchise tag and pay over $10 million for the slot receiver.
The return of Brandon Stokley most likely will depend on the outcome of the 2012 postseason for the Denver Broncos. If Stokley decides to ride off into the sunset, "again," Denver will need a go-to slot guy that Peyton Manning can trust and count on.
When healthy, Amendola is one of the best slot receivers in the league. However, he did miss five games this season with a heel injury and his durability could be a concern.
If St. Louis and Danny Amendola are not able to hammer out a contract this offseason, Denver should take a serious look at adding the wideout, as he could be a great fit for the 2013 Broncos offense.
Reggie Bush, RB, Miami Dolphins
After finding success with the Dolphins in both the 2011 and 2012 seasons, Reggie Bush finds himself on the market again in 2013.
Bush has proved to be a solid runner between the tackles and is also capable of catching the ball as well as making plays out of the backfield.
With Miami having to consider using a franchise tag on him, Reggie Bush will most likely test the market and see what options he has available for his future in the league.
Depending on Bush's price tag and what Denver decides to do with the running back position, he could be a great fit for this Bronco offense moving forward in 2013.
Cliff Avril, DE, Detroit Lions
Since Cliff Avril and the Detroit Lions were unable to work out a long-term deal in the 2012 offseason, it seems highly probable that he will test the free-agent market in 2013.
With 39.5 sacks and 168 tackles in his five-year career, Avril is one of the better pass-rushers to hit the market this offseason. He is a versatile defensive end and has the ability to apply pressure to opposing signal-callers as well as create key turnovers.
At 6'3", 260 lbs, Avril has the physicality to contribute to the Broncos crushing defensive line. He will only be 27 years old in 2013 and still has some great years ahead of him.
As stated previously in this article, with contracts expiring at the end of this season for several current Broncos defensive linemen, Denver will need to acquire some depth and experience up front to complement Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil.
William Moore, S, Atlanta Falcons
The Broncos will most likely look to add a safety to their secondary this offseason, whether it is through free agency or via the draft.
William Moore is an imposing safety with good hitting power, natural instincts and is a solid tackler.
He does have a tendency to be injury prone and is currently dealing with a hamstring issue. If Moore can manage to stay healthy, he could be a great addition to the Broncos secondary for 2013.
Moore's health issues may bring down his price tag, and Denver could get a great deal, adding some depth at safety.
Keenan Lewis, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers
The outstanding performances of backups Chris Harris and Tony Carter this season have been a pleasant surprise for the Broncos defensive unit.
With Tracy Porter's medical issues along with an aging Champ Bailey, it would be in Denver's best interest to go after a cornerback during free agency.
Keenan Lewis is a young, solid corner who can instantly come in and make a difference in Denver's secondary without a hefty price tag attached for Broncos' owner Pat Bowlen.
Lewis started all 16 games in 2012 and was a major contributor to the Steelers' No. 1 ranking defense against the pass. He finished out the season with 56 solo tackles and one forced fumble.
If Pittsburgh is not able to retain him, Lewis could potentially be a solid acquisition for Denver's secondary moving forward in 2013.
Matt Moore, QB, Miami Dolphins
As a leftover from the previous regime in Miami, it is doubtful that Ryan Tannehill's backup will remain in a Dolphin uniform in 2013.
Luckily, Denver's "all in" approach with prize free agent Peyton Manning this season worked heavily in their favor. However, this offseason, the Broncos will most likely look to procure a No. 2 signal-caller as insurance to prepare for the worst.
Matt Moore is a stable game manager and has the potential to orchestrate a few wins if needed.
Out of the potentially available quarterbacks on the market this season, Moore is the top guy suited for the role of Manning's clip board jockey next season.
Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams
Steven Jackson has shown this season that he still has something left in the tank and deserves a chance to finally make the playoffs.
The 29-year-old is still a bruising, solid runner who just rushed for his eighth straight 1,000-yard season in 2012. Jackson is also a consistent pass blocker and can catch balls under pressure as well.
Adding Jackson to the Broncos' roster would give Peyton Manning another weapon that he can have confidence in to move the chains in 2013.
Jackson wants to play on a winning team and finishing out his career in the Mile High City would be a great move for this playmaker.
Dannell Ellerbe, ILB, Baltimore Ravens
Dannell Ellerbe has played both weak-side and middle linebacker this season, filling in for the injured Ray Lewis when he was sidelined due to a torn triceps.
This season for the Baltimore Ravens, Ellerbe contributed to 92 tackles with 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. He missed three games due to an injury, and Baltimore lost all three of those games.
While their losses cannot be solely attributed to Ellerbe's absence, it was obvious the Ravens missed their dynamic pass blitzer and solid rush defender. He has become a valuable member of the Ravens defense, and they will most likely look to retain him, especially since Ray Lewis announced his impending retirement.
Keith Brooking has done a decent job filling in at middle linebacker this season; however, the Broncos will probably want to add some depth and fresh blood over the offseason to solidify their linebacking corps.
If Ellerbe decides to test the market and is not retained by the Ravens, he would be a tremendous addition to the already outstanding Broncos defensive unit in 2013.