4 Veterans the Denver Broncos Must Part with Before the 2014 Season
To say that John Elway takes free agency seriously would be putting it lightly. It's like he lives for this time of year.
He doesn't just want you to think that the Denver Broncos did well in the offseason; he wants you to think they've gone crazy but in a good way.
In the sort of way that would make an aging quarterback throw himself into a helicopter dive to get a first down in the Super Bowl. That type of crazy.
Per Sporting News, in the first two days of free agency, the Broncos signed T.J. Ward, the hard-hitting safety from the Cleveland Browns, Aqib Talib, the shutdown corner from New England, and DeMarcus Ware, who needs no introduction.
There is no doubt that Elway saw what happened in the Super Bowl—how the Seahawks pushed the Broncos around and punched them in the teeth. He wanted—probably by halftime, in all honesty—his own players of that caliber.
He wanted toughness and physical dominance, and all three early defensive signings give him just those qualities.
Getting them comes at a price, though. Players of that ilk are not cheap, and Denver had to dump some veterans to clear the necessary cap space. Most notably, the Broncos cut fan favorite Champ Bailey, who was due $10 million over the course of the next year.
If they want to keep on adding hard-nosed defensive players, they will have to clear up some more room. The roster is being revamped to win right now at all costs.
It's the right kind of desperation—the type of desperation that propelled Elway through The Drive and so many other comebacks—but they're going to have to get rid of some other veterans to make it work.
When the Denver Broncos brought Tamme in, it looked like they wanted to recreate the old chemistry that he and Peyton Manning used to have in Indianapolis. It never panned out that way, though. He played pretty well in 2012, but he wasn't the game-changer that Denver wanted. On top of that, he had a huge drop in production in 2013.
Most of that drop-off had to do with the emergence of former basketball player Julius Thomas, who was finally able to get healthy and take the league by storm. Denver does not need Tamme's meager reception numbers or his salary, especially with four tight ends on the roster.
Another casualty of the Julius Thomas explosion should be Joel Dreessen, and the reasons are much the same. Dreessen and Tamme came in together, and while neither one has been terrible, they've both been overshadowed by Thomas. Dreessen has been especially quiet, with just seven catches for 47 yards in 2013.
Denver could cut him and Tamme, save millions of dollars and only lose 231 yards of offensive production.
The Broncos don't need Dreessen to stay as a blocking tight end either, since they still have Virgil Green on the roster. He's a big, powerful player who can come in on the goal line if they don't want Julius Thomas to do all of the blocking.
This isn't a cut per se, since starting safety Mike Adams is a free agent, but he has said that he wants to come back to Denver, per NorthJersey.com. However, the Broncos would be wise to let him walk.
Adams is an aging safety who does not have elite speed. He's not horrible, but he's not going to start over Rahim Moore, once he returns from injury, or newcomer T.J. Ward.
Ward and Moore should be the pairing in every possible game. The Broncos still have depth with younger guys like Duke Ihenacho and Quinton Carter, so they can afford to part with Adams. Even if he's willing to come back at a small salary, retaining him doesn't make sense from a roster standpoint.
The only way it would work would be if there was an injury or some indication that perhaps Moore can't come back as expected, but that doesn't appear to be the case right now. If something happens down the line, Denver can find a replacement safety who is just as good as Adams, or it can let the younger guys get some experience.
This was a depth move for the Broncos, but they don't need him anymore. They have plenty of defensive tackles who are better than Fua, such as Terrance Knighton, Mitch Unrein, Kevin Vickerson and Sylvester Williams.
They should also get Derek Wolfe back, who seems to be recovering well and is on track to play in 2014. He can play either defensive end or defensive tackle, so he gives the Broncos the depth that they need if there is an injury, and he can even start opposite DeMarcus Ware. Those two, along with Von Miller, will wreak havoc in offensive backfields.
Fua is basically just wasted money at this point—money that would be better spent on bringing in a middle linebacker to replace Wesley Woodyard.