News and Notes for the Denver Broncos


Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) throws a pass during the NFL divisional playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. The Colts defeated the Broncos 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Late February is supposed to be one of the slower times of the year for the NFL and the Denver Broncos, but there is still a lot going on. The combine is over and free agency is still a couple of weeks away, but the news just keeps coming.

Some of it is true and some of it is just rumors; we will try to differentiate the two in our news and notes.

Peyton Manning: A lot of fans are getting anxious that we have not heard anything one way or the other on Manning. While I understand that, it should be noted that John Elway did not make a decision to return following the 1998 season until June 1st. I still believe Manning will return for his 18th season and expect to hear something before free agency begins on March 10th.

There have been multiple reports that one of the hold ups on an announcement could be that Manning and the Broncos are restructuring his contract in an effort to create more salary cap space. I tend to believe those reports and, again, believe there will be an announcement soon.

Terrance Knighton: Barring a last minute change of heart from both sides, Knighton is gone. It’s part of salary cap football. The Broncos would like him back but the salary cap is a puzzle, and the pieces have to fit. Someone will pay Knighton more than the Broncos are willing to give him. It’s a cliché but you simply can’t pay everyone.

Julius Thomas: Thomas is also gone and there appears to be hard feelings on both sides.

Orlando Franklin: There was a report on Tuesday that Franklin was also gone but Franklin himself refuted that report late Tuesday night via his Twitter account. That being said, it would be a surprise if Franklin returned.

Other free agents: The other free agents including Nate Irving, Jacob Tamme, Rahim More, Virgil Green and others will be dealt with by the Broncos on a case by case basis. Green is likely to return but the others are 50/50 at best.

Keep in mind, we are only talking about the unrestricted free agents. Linebacker Brandon Marshall is a restricted free agent and will be back with the Broncos.

Demaryius Thomas: The number one wide receiver for the Broncos will be back in 2015. The team is likely to use the franchise tag on him with the idea of getting a long-term deal done before the start of training camp.

James Casey set to visit: The tight-end/fullback who was released by the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this week will visit the Broncos on Thursday. Casey is a solid backup tight-end who can also play fullback. He enjoyed his best seasons with the Houston Texans under Gary Kubiak. Casey is also a very good special team’s player, and the Broncos obviously need help in that area.

Free agent rumors: The Broncos are probably not going to be as active in terms of big names in free agency this year, but they will still be active. The rumors at this point appear to be focused on the offensive line, which makes sense. The two names that keep popping up are Oakland Raiders center, Stefan Wisniewski and San Francisco 49ers guard, Mike Lupati. If the Broncos were able to land both of those players, it would be a tremendous upgrade on the offensive line.

In addition to the offensive line, look for the Broncos to possibly add a veteran safety, a tight-end, a defensive tackle and possibly a linebacker in free agency.

Draft notes: The mock drafts are already out and predictions about what the Broncos might do in the first round are all over the place. It will be a lot easier to forecast what the Broncos might do after seeing what they do in free agency.

The season never ends and the news never stops. Next up for the Broncos is the anticipated Manning decision in the next 10-14 days and the start of free agency.