The Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos had one of the most interesting seasons that an NFL team has experienced. They still walked away with a championship after beating the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game and overcoming a strong Carolina Panthers team in the Super Bowl.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Defense: For a Super Bowl winning team, you would think that they would have more strengths than just the defense. But like the Baltimore Ravens winning on Jan. 28, 2001, the Broncos were led by a dominant defense and so-so quarterback play. The No. 1 rated defense this season made things easier on Peyton Manning, but they have several key pieces that need to be re-signed this offseason.
Quarterback, running back, tight end
Quarterback: Manning is likely to retire now that he has one another Super Bowl, and Brock Osweiler is a free agent this offseason. The Broncos could be facing a dire situation if they don’t re-sign Osweiler, and the draft and free agency could be the solution. With so many other pressing needs, there is a chance that Denver goes from attic to cellar rather quickly.
Running Back: C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman are also free agents this offseason, and this will only compound how the Broncos approach an impending doomsday-type scenario after March 1. There is a small chance that they are both re-signed, but the franchise tag is likely to be used on Von Miller instead.
Tight End: If Denver loses Anderson, Hillman, Osweiler or any other important member of the team, they will need to rely on veteran tight ends Owen Daniels and Virgil Green. Of all the tight ends that Denver has had recently, Green has been given the fewest opportunities to show the team what he can do as a starter. Vernon Davis is likely to walk in free agency because of more pressing needs, but they would still have Daniels and Green. Although age is a factor for Daniels, so Green might see an increase in snaps.
Players to re-sign:
QB Brock Osweiler
RB C.J. Anderson
RB Ronnie Hillman
WR Andre Caldwell
LB Von Miller (likely to receive franchise tag)
OT Ryan Harris
DL Malik Jackson
LB Brandon Marshall
LB Danny Trevathan
K Brandon McManus
C Matt Paradis
2016 FREE AGENT TARGETS ($12.4 million projected cap space):
RB Matt Forte
OT Donald Penn
DE Greg Hardy
LB Rolando McClain
2016 NFL DRAFT FIRST ROUND TARGETS (NO. 31 pick):
OT Jason Spriggs (Indiana)
OG Vadal Alexander (LSU)
RB Derrick Henry (Alabama)
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