The Center of Free Agency for the Denver Broncos


Nov 30, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs center Rodney Hudson (61) before the start of the game against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The opening of NFL free agency is now less than 72 hours away and teams are already talking to agents of players as the “soft opening” took place a few hours ago, meaning negotiations can take place but no deals can be announced till Tuesday at 2:00 mountain time.

Every Denver Broncos fan knows by now that the number one priority for John Elway is to upgrade the offensive line. That goal is probably narrower now following the news on Saturday. Two of the most sought after right tackles were re-signed taking them off of the market. Doug Free is returning to the Dallas Cowboys and Derek Newton is returning to the Houston Texans. Both players would have probably drawn interest from the Broncos.

That’s the bad news, the good news is the draft is extremely deep at right tackle and the Broncos may wait until then to address that spot.

For now, the Broncos need to focus on the interior of the offensive line starting with the center spot. They are not going to make the kind of splash they made last year in terms of signing big names, but the Broncos should be on the phone right now with the agent for one of the top names.

That name is Rodney Hudson. Hudson is a center from the Kansas City Chiefs and at 26, he is considered one of the best young centers in the NFL. Hudson is excellent in the zone blocking scheme that will be used by the Broncos this season, and would be a long-term solution.

Hudson is going to cost a pretty penny but he would be worth it, especially if Ndamukong Suh ends up in the AFC West. There are rumors that two of the front runners for the prized defensive tackle are the Oakland Raiders, and San Diego Chargers. If that happened, the Broncos would need someone of Hudson’s quality to help neutralize a player like Suh.

If the Broncos are unable to land Hudson, then their attention would probably turn to Chris Myers or Stefan Wisniewski. Of those two, Wisniewski is preferable because of his age (25) but Myers played for Gary Kubiak with the Houston Texans and knows the system well.

The brass for the Broncos, including Kubiak is high on Matt Paradis. Paradis was a sixth round pick of the Broncos last season and does have some upside. However starting a guy who has never played a down in the NFL would be a big gamble for a team with championship aspirations. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible though, the New England Patriots just won a Super Bowl with a rookie center but I’d be shocked if the Broncos went that way.

It’s also possible that the Broncos could still re-sign Will Montgomery who played well for the team in the second half of the season. However my guess is they would have done that already if that was the direction they wanted to go. It would have been a fairly simple deal to get done, in my opinion, and to date the Broncos have chosen not to go down that road.

The Broncos have other needs they will address in free agency but it has to start at the center spot. Once they get that taken care of then they can look to add a guard, a defensive tackle a tight-end, a safety and depth at other positions.

They say good football teams are built from the inside and it doesn’t get any more inside than a center.