Denver Broncos Rumors: Fact or Fiction Before the Start of Free Agency
With the scouting combine in the rearview mirror, it’s time for the Denver Broncos to look forward to free agency.
There are several tough decisions the Broncos have to make with their own free agents. From what general manager John Elway said at the combine, it sounds like all of their players are going to be allowed to test the open market.
“I think they (free agents) have to hit the market. The market sets those. Especially when you look where we are and what we have coming up. Julius—both Thomas’s—are coming up next year…Wes is too. All that plays into it,” Elway said during a private interview with only a small handful of reporters from the Denver media.
The activity could be fast and furious for the Broncos once March 11 hits. They have several key positions to fill this offseason, and they could be helped by a salary cap that is rumored to be around $133 million in 2014.
Let’s investigate the news, buzz and rumors that are swirling around the team at this time in an effort to determine what is fact—and what is fiction.
The Broncos Could Trade for Darrelle Revis
The NFL world was intrigued when a recent report from Mike Florio, of ProFootballTalk.com, revealed the Denver Broncos could be interested in trading for Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis.
The logic behind the speculation is the Broncos want to upgrade the secondary, and they could absorb most of Revis’ $16 million salary by releasing Champ Bailey. With a cap number of $10 million and zero guaranteed money, Bailey is unlikely to stay in Denver at that price.
Fact or Fiction: FICTION
Never say never, but this is unlikely to happen. John Elway is first going to sit down with Bailey before any decision on his future is made.
The team has to try and sign Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to a new long-term deal. The Broncos have reportedly met with Rodgers-Cromartie’s representation during the scouting combine, per Ross Jones from Fox Sports. He’s unlikely to make the $16 million that Revis does. Instead, Rodgers-Cromartie could sign a deal near $10 million annually.
Eric Decker Could Leave Via Free Agency
At this time, many around the NFL expect wide receiver Eric Decker to leave via free agency. Based on John Elway’s comments, we know that Decker is going to have the opportunity to shop his services elsewhere.
Decker wants to stay in Denver. He recently told ESPN Denver, “I would love to stay in the Mile High City, but I need to do what’s best for my family.”
Elway has publicly stated the team would like to keep him around if at all possible. However, he realizes that may be tough to do with many needs and limited cap space.
Fact or Fiction: FACT
Many in Broncos Country may not want to see this, but we’ve likely seen Decker in his final year with the Broncos. Decker is arguably the best free-agent wide receiver on the market, and he could command a contract worth around $10 million annually. With so many needs at other positions, the Broncos may not be able to afford the fan favorite.
The Broncos Aren't Afraid to Spend Big Money in Free Agency
During his private interview at the combine with only a few members of the Denver media, John Elway was asked if the team would ask Peyton Manning to restructure his contract to create more salary cap room.
Elway said he didn’t feel there was any need for Manning to restructure his contract. “I think we’ll be fine.”
Elway also felt Manning would not have a problem if the team needed him to move some money around. “I don’t think he would have any problem—if we needed some cap room—that he wouldn’t help us out to find some cap room.”
Per Tom Pelissero of USA Today, the salary cap is set to be roughly $133 million in 2014. That’s about $10 million more than last year, and it’s around $7 million more than what it was originally thought to be.
The Broncos may not ask Manning to restructure, but they all of a sudden have a lot more room to work with.
Fact or Fiction: FACT
The Broncos have proved capable of pulling off the salary-cap gymnastics to be incredibly active in free agency. In years past this team has been active in free agency, and 2014 should be no different.
Orlando Franklin Could Play Guard in 2014
The Broncos will have a plan at left guard if Zane Beadles walks in free agency. Jeff Legwold, of ESPN.com, believes that plan could include an in-house option.
Right tackle Orlando Franklin could be moved inside to guard in 2014.
When he came out of the University of Miami, there were some who felt Franklin was better suited as a guard. He’s a road-grader as a right tackle, but Franklin can struggle as a pass-protector at times.
He certainly struggled in the Super Bowl, but John Elway has said the team is not going to overreact on any player just because the entire team struggled in the year’s biggest game.
“We go through the evaluation with every player on our team. That happened three days after the Super Bowl.” Elway continued, “We go through each position and each player and evaluate every player. The Super Bowl does not influence our decision one way or another on any different player. I think it’s a matter of we look at them and the season that they’ve had.”
Fact or Fiction: FICTION
This may or may not happen, but the results may not be positive if it does. Franklin has been tried inside at guard before during camp with the Broncos, and he did not impress enough for them to keep him there. Franklin is underrated as a pass-protector, and he should (along with the entire line) benefit from the return of left tackle Ryan Clady.
Derek Wolfe to Be Bigger, Faster, Stronger in 2014
Derek Wolfe’s season was cut short by an illness that was shrouded in mystery until now. Recently, Wolfe talked to reporters about his condition and why his season had to end after Week 12:
Finally. Derek Wolfe said "I'm going to come back bigger, faster, stronger. ready to start training next week." Wolfe has gained back 20 pds— Lionel Bienvenu (@lionelbienvenu) February 26, 2014
He’s going to spend the rest of the offseason regaining his size and strength. Wolfe can be a disruptive player on the outside of the defensive line, and he can certainly boost the team’s pass rush.
Fact or Fiction: FACT
With the way that Derek Wolfe works, there is no reason to count him out. He’s got one of the best work ethics on the team, and Wolfe could be better than ever in 2014.
Note: All quotes and injury/practice observations obtained firsthand. Record/statistical information provided via email from the Denver Broncos. All contract information for individual players is from Spotrac.com. Cecil Lammey can be followed on Twitter @CecilLammey.