8 Cost-Effective Moves Denver Broncos Should Make This Offseason
But once the dust settles in New Jersey, the Broncos will enter the offseason and preparation for the 2014 season will begin, just as it will for all 31 other NFL teams.
The Broncos will have some tough decisions to make.
Whether it be re-signing a pending free agent, trying to lure someone in free agency or cutting ties with a player, we will examine some ways for the team to stay competitive.
How can the Broncos get the best bang for their buck? Click forward to find out.
Cut Jacob Tamme, Joel Dreessen, or Both
One of these guys is almost certain to go after this season.
Jacob Tamme is guaranteed $3.5 million on his contract while Joel Dreessen will see $2.5 million. With Julius Thomas putting together a Pro Bowl season this year, the team simply doesn't need all of these tight ends—especially at that cost.
Tamme has certainly stepped up when his number has been called, but Dreessen has caught just seven passes on the year. That makes him the most likely to go.
Denver will hang onto Virgil Green to pair with Thomas. The big decision will come down to Tamme. The team has just $500,000 in dead money tied up in Tamme's contract and another $3 million would become available in the salary cap by releasing him.
Re-Sign Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Where would the Broncos be without this guy? Bringing him back is essential.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was by far the best cover guy in the Denver secondary this season. He had three interceptions and 15 passes defensed. He also played great defense in the AFC Championship game against New England.
Last offseason, he agreed to a one-year contract to come to Denver after two disappointing seasons in Philadelphia. He has certainly earned a new contract.
The Broncos should make signing Rodgers-Cromartie to a new contract one of the biggest priorities of the offseason.
Release Chris Kuper
At one point, Chris Kuper was one of the best guards in the NFL. Because of injuries, he just isn't anymore.
It's nice that the Broncos are able to keep Kuper on their bench, but he isn't worth a contract that averaged $3.9 million per year. Only eight players on the entire roster have a contract that averages more than that.
They could certainly attempt to restructure the contract of Kuper, but he didn't play in a single game this season and played in parts of just seven games last year. It's time to move on.
Restructure Champ Bailey's Contract
Champ Bailey has finally reached his goal of playing in a Super Bowl. His skills have also greatly diminished.
With a cap number of $10 million next season, the Broncos have absolutely no choice but to restructure his contract or let him go.
Bailey played in parts of just five regular season games this year and he wasn't on the field as much as fans are used to seeing even when he was healthy.
Of course, there's always the chance that Bailey walks away from the game if Denver wins the Super Bowl—a very likely scenario.
Sign Sam Shields
Whether they do it through the draft or free agency, the Broncos need to bolster the secondary. Sam Shields of the Green Bay Packers will become an unrestricted free agent on March 11.
In four seasons with Green Bay, Shields has 13 interceptions and 45 passes defensed. On top of that, he would bring with him the experience of playing against tough NFC North wide receivers such as Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.
Shields could step right in and be productive in Denver and he could also help compensate for the potential losses of Champ Bailey and Tony Carter.
Work a Deal for Vincent Rey
Vincent Rey had a very good season for the Cincinnati Bengals and many fans have probably never even heard of him.
Rey could bolster the linebacker corps for the Broncos with his aggressive play. Rey tallied 57 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions on the year while filling in for an injured Rey Maualuga
Undrafted out of Duke, the Bengals would receive no compensation if they offer him an original-round tender. That means Cincinnati will have to pay him quite a bit more than the $630,000 he made this year.
Despite him being more effective than Maualuga, head coach Marvin Lewis benched Rey when Maualuga returned. That could bode well for a team like the Broncos.
Denver needs better play at the inside linebacker position and Rey would be a great addition to their rotation.
Don't Overbid on Decker
Because of the numbers he has put up (172 receptions, 24 TDs the last two seasons), he will be the most sought-after wide receiver in free agency. On top of that, the Broncos will need to save money to retain Demaryius Thomas next year.
Decker will likely see offers for $10 million per year from other teams, or more. Denver shouldn't try to keep him for anything north of $7 million. The Broncos have the ability to offer Decker the chance to stay with a successful team for less money.
If he wants the monster pay day, let him take it elsewhere.
There could still be one other way to keep Decker. If Champ Bailey decides to call it a career following the season, the $10 million Denver would save against the cap would allow them to make the deal with Decker.
Bring Back Knowshon Moreno
Denver needs to do whatever it can to make this happen, after all, Knowshon Moreno has earned it.
Written off by many due to his history of injuries and ineffectiveness, Moreno is a huge reason why Denver has reached the Super Bowl. This season, he ran for 1,038 yards, caught 60 passes and scored 13 touchdowns.
That kind of season is going to get him a nice contract somewhere. While the Broncos will have their work cut out for them to keep him, they need to find a way to do it.
What the team decides to do with Moreno could signal what happens with Ronnie Hillman. It's hard to imagine that they will both be part of the team next season.
Moreno is coming off the last year of a $17 million deal that paid him about $3.4 million annually. Denver will have to do some maneuvering in order to give him the deal he will certainly be looking for.