Best and Worst Moves the Denver Broncos Made in Free Agency
With a month left before the NFL draft, the Broncos need to focus on signing a replacement for Dumervil or think about getting young talent from the draft pool.
Here is a look at the Denver Broncos' best and worst moves so far in free agency.
Best: Wes Welker
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The Denver Broncos made a sweet deal March 13 when they signed wide receiver Wes Welker to a two-year, $12 million contract. Welker was expected to sign a large deal with the New England Patriots, but instead, the Denver Broncos got an elite wide receiver.
Welker leads the league in catches (768) and receiving yards (8,580). The Broncos not only gained a valuable piece of the Super Bowl puzzle, but they also directly weakened their rival. Adding Welker to Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker will give Denver the best trio of wide receivers for the 2013 season.
Once the chemistry builds between Peyton Manning and Wes Welker, the Broncos offense will be tough to beat.
Worst: Elvis Dumervil
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The agreed-upon reduced salary. The too-late fax and subsequent release. Firing his agent following the fiasco, then signing with the Baltimore Ravens.
The possibility of re-signing Elvis Dumervil came to a dramatic head March 15 when paperwork on his restructured contract didn't reach NFL offices in time and John Elway and the Denver Broncos were forced to release Dumervil. The next day, Dumervil fired his agent and the Broncos issued a new proposal. This time, the Baltimore Ravens had the upper hand and signed Dumervil to a five-year deal.
Dumervil will be sorely missed in a Broncos uniform, not only for his leadership and productivity he had on the field, but also for his personality in the locker room. Dumervil had 63.5 sacks over seven years in Denver, three Pro Bowl selections and was a favorite amongst his teammates.
The Broncos are hoping to sign either John Abraham or Dwight Freeney to replace Dumervil.
Best: Terrance Knighton
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On the same day the Denver Broncos signed Wes Welker, they also added depth to the defensive line by signing defensive tackle Terrance Knighton to a two-year deal. Knighton is a five-year veteran who will also be reunited with defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.
Knighton has tallied 259 defensive stops, 7.5 sacks, 21 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and one interception in 50 regular-season games with the Jacksonville Jaguars. In 2012, Knighton had two forced fumbles and 17 quarterback pressures.
With this added depth, the defense got a needed boost in free agency to push the Broncos closer to a Super Bowl in 2013.
Focus: Replacing Dumervil
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After losing out on re-signing Dumervil, the Broncos have some big shoes to fill. Who will fill the void? Below are the two main options:
Dwight Freeney: He's played 12 seasons in Indianapolis, which means he would already have familiar faces in Peyton Manning and possibly Brandon Stokley if he's back in orange and blue. Freeney has 107.5 career sacks and 44 forced fumbles. Although his production declined in 2012, the chemistry would automatically be there if the Broncos are able to reunite Freeney with Manning.
John Abraham: Abraham and Freeney are very similar. Abraham will be going into his 14th NFL season in 2013 with 122 sacks and 44 forced fumbles. If the Broncos don't land Freeney, then they'll definitely go after Abraham to fill Elvis Dumervil's shoes.