2011 Free Agents: Denver's Top Five Targets, or at Least They Should Be....
As we look ahead to the coming season, it’s time to begin looking at some of the players Denver should have on their radar.
Head Coach John Fox is known for utilizing veteran talent to plug holes and Denver, my friends, has a lot of holes. With only six picks in the upcoming draft Denver will need to pick up some help through free agency.
So I have compiled a list of some players that could help Denver. Yeah, I know nobody asked me. But, they should have…
Ray Edwards: Defensive End, Vikings
Bronco fans, I introduce to you Mr. Ray Edwards.
I know, I know, the Vikings gave him the first round tender on March 4th. That figures to be roughly valued around the $2.73 million neighborhood. But stay with me here. The Vikings are in need of a specific type of quarterback. They don’t want a flashy, go-win-you-a-game QB. They want a safe, manage the game, hand it off to Adrian Peterson type QB. Does that sound like anybody we know? Ray Edwards is a 6’5” 268 pound defensive end out of Purdue. He was a fourth round pick in the 2006 draft. His 2010 campaign included 14 games with 37 tackles, eight sacks, and two passes defended.
His size and speed, coupled with his ability to generate pressure would make him a very attractive addition. The price tag is high, but worth it. With an upgrade virtually assured along the defensive front via the draft, the time is right to spend big in free agency as well to ensure success for years to come.
Aubrayo Franklin: Defensive Tackle, 49ers
With the recent defensive departures of Williams and Bannan the Broncos front seven is in need of a big-bodied run stuffer to eat up the middle of the field.
At 6'1" and 317lbs Franklin is that man. He is a seasoned veteran drafted by the Ravens and currently is set to become a free agent from the 49ers, both teams have respected defensive coaches. In any scheme it is important to balance youth with experience and with many of our aging veterans leaving the team (one way or another), Franklin would be a welcome addition.
I know he is used to playing in a 3-4 defense but his size, speed, and versatility lead me to believe he could make the switch. He along with the rest of our defense, who incidentally are switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3, would have the opportunity to learn at the ground level along with the rest of the squad.
Eric Weddle: Safety, San Diego Chargers
Admittedly, Eric Weddle is a reach.
But his familiarity with the AFC west combined with his nose for the ball would make him a great acquisition. If there is a hole in our backfield that needs to be addressed it is the safety position. Dawkins, if he is retained, is at the end of his career. This is no knock on the brilliant veteran, but all good things come to an end. Weddle has that sought after combination of youth and experience that would make him an asset to this team for years to come. With Bailey locked up for the rest of his career in Denver, the thought of these two roaming the backfield would give opposing offensive coordinators nightmares when traveling to the Mile High.
By the numbers Weddle in 2010 had 96 tackles, 10 passes defended, and two interceptions. Of which, he took one of them back 41 yards to pay dirt. There is no need to remind Tim of the other.
Johnathan Joseph: Defensive Back, Bengals
Last season the Denver Broncos drafted what was supposed to be the answer on the opposite side of the field from Champ Bailey.
This year, we are left with only questions. The biggest of them being, will this young man be on the field or in a prison cell? Given the recent woes of the Orange and Blue on the defensive side of the ball, the popular opinion is that we cannot wait for the answer.
Enter Johnathan Joseph. In him we find a young man coming into his own. He spent a little time banged up last year leaving some in the Bengals organization with a bad taste in their mouths.
As recent as March 20th the Bengals front office released a statement that they were interested in retaining Joseph's services. However, with no new CBA in place and the yet to be determined status of him as a restricted or unrestricted free agent leaves him in contract limbo. If it is determined that he is a restricted free agent then the Bengals have slapped him with the high first and third round tender, otherwise this young man will be free to sign with the suitor of his choosing.
Do not let his numbers last season fool you. This kid is a baller, flat out, and he could thrive in Coach Fox's system.
Kevin Boss: Tight End, Giants
Last, but not least, I offer up Kevin Boss. At 6'6" 253lbs this is a Mack truck running wild down the field. He is a pass catching tight end with great feet that could not only be an asset for Tebow, but he could prove invaluable as a run blocker.
He is a top-tier talent and a big part of the reason the Giants were a 10 win team last season. But, given those ten wins in that division didn't translate to a playoff birth, it is a real possibility he could be looking to move on while he is entering his prime.
Boss along with the others mentioned here are just a wish list. A hopeful look at the existing possibilities that this writer feels could help. Coach Fox, as I mentioned earlier, is not shy about using veteran talent and Mr. Bowlen, after last season, will be more than willing to spend what it takes to right the ship. So we know help will be coming from somewhere.
But, this is just my opinion. Drop a comment down below and let me know what you think or who you feel could help. I will do my best to address your concerns and reply to your comments and as always thanks for posting.