Ranking Denver Broncos Best Remaining Free Agency Options
The Denver Broncos have been one of the busiest teams since the free-agent signing period opened last Tuesday.
After already agreeing to deals with safety T.J. Ward, cornerback Aqib Talib and defensive end DeMarcus Ware, the team came to terms with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders late Saturday night.
Still, the team has a few positions that need to be addressed and could still be improved.
So what are the best options the team has left, now that the market has been picked over?
John Elway and his staff will have to comb over what is left but many solid players are still out there that could come in and help the team.
They will need to find players that address a position of need and who are affordable. Both of those things were taken into consideration when compiling this list, ranked in order down to their best available option.
5. Ronnie Brown, Running Back
The San Diego Chargers decided to take a chance on him and over the last two seasons, he's shown he still has something left in the tank, especially as a receiver out of the backfield.
In 2012, Brown caught 49 passes, a personal best for one season and that is something he could bring to the Broncos as a third-down back or situational player.
Brown would be third on the depth chart at running back, at best, but the team needs a back that can contribute in the passing game. That was something Peyton Manning really relied on in 2013 as running backs accounted for 92 receptions.
Brown was once taken second overall in the 2005 NFL draft and he still has some of the attributes that allowed him to go so high.
4. Kevin Boothe, Guard
With Zane Beadles moving on to Jacksonville for more money, the Broncos lost one of their starting offensive linemen, one who hadn't missed a game in his four years in the league.
It's not a crippling move for the Broncos as they have plenty of options in place. The one they should go with would see Orlando Franklin move from right tackle to guard and Chris Clark, who did a fine job filling in for Ryan Clady last season, could play right tackle.
The team still needs to have depth behind those guys.
Kevin Boothe is a veteran of eight NFL seasons who would serve as a solid backup should anyone get hurt or struggle.
The New York Giants would probably like to have him back, but Denver should at least inquire about his services.
Boothe has started the last 42 games for the Giants at both guard and center and made just a shade over $900,000 last year. The Broncos could give him a slight pay raise to join a contender.
He is a durable player who is a good pass-blocker, something that is a must in the Denver offense.
3. Brian De La Puente, Center
Broncos fans may have been happy with the job Manny Ramirez did at center last year but he wasn't the team's first option. He might not have even been the second option—or third.
In other words, the team could improve at the position and Brian De La Puente is out there.
De La Puente has started 44 games over the last three seasons for one of the NFL's most high-powered offenses—the New Orleans Saints.
He made a little over $2 million last year with the Saints, but Denver could probably get him for less than that.
The Broncos should move in on him before someone else does.
2. Pat Angerer, Linebacker
Even if the Broncos made this move, they will still almost certainly have to address the middle linebacker position in the draft.
Pat Angerer has been limited by injuries the past two seasons, but if nothing else, he could be a solid mentor for a young rookie that Denver drafts to become the leader in the middle of its defense that it sorely needs.
Angerer had 148 tackles in 2011, good for fourth-most in the NFL. He wouldn't provide much in the way of pass coverage, however.
Denver must find a long-term answer at middle linebacker. That will likely come in the draft. In free agency, the Broncos can at least create some depth, though the market is thinning out.
Karlos Dansby, Jasper Brinkley, Daryl Smith, Brandon Spikes, Jon Beason and D'Qwell Jackson have already been scooped up.
1. Knowshon Moreno, Running Back
You guessed it. The best option available to the Denver Broncos in free agency right now is to re-sign running back Knowshon Moreno.
Moreno may want a lucrative deal, but the fact that he's still sitting there while guys like Ben Tate, Rashad Jennings and Darren McFadden have been given new contracts shows that teams around the league are likely leery of Moreno's injury history.
Denver needs more depth at running back, even if it feels confident in Montee Ball being its starter. Behind him, Denver has an inexperienced C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman who showed he couldn't handle being the featured back last season.
The Broncos knows what they're getting in Moreno. He had a career year both as a runner and receiver in 2013. On top of that, Moreno proved to be excellent in pass coverage, helping to keep Peyton Manning upright.
Moreno may not get the money he wants. Perhaps the fact that he's still available has humbled him and Denver can take advantage of that by signing him to a contract that fits its budget.