With the opening of the NFL’s free-agency period it remains to be seen if the Denver Broncos will be players. They have several positions of need.
A couple of questions have already been answered as word came down from Denver Broncos headquarters that the team had signed Safety Kareem Jackson formerly of the Houston Texans and Tackle Ja’Waun James from the Miami Dolphins.
As is John’s Elway, the Broncos got active early, giving incoming coach Vic Fangio the most possible time to study his roster.
The move for James likely spells the end of Jared Veldheer‘s time in Denver and tackle Billy Turner broke off talks earlier in the week, choosing to test free agent waters. James had previously played with new Denver assistant OL coach and former Bronco Chris Kuper. While he’s a stud at the right tackle position, he has missed 18 games over the last four seasons with injuries. Something to keep an eye on.
In the defensive backfield, Jackson replaces the departed Darian Stewart. Denver has retained Chris Harris Jr., the lone survivor from the No-Fly Zone. Bradley Roby is also testing free agency and has generated some interest. Denver is relying on a healthy Isaac Yiadom, the 2018 third-round pick to step into a starting role which makes the inconsistent Roby expendable.
So, before I could even get the question asked, Mr. Elway spent $88 million on two positions of great need. The moves seem solid.
In the weeks leading up to the decisions, the Broncos also announced they were retaining Derek Wolfe, the previously mentioned Harris and wideout Emmanuel Sanders. The team has re-entered talks with center Matt Paradis. All-in-all, the first day of free agency has been a success for Elway and the Broncos. If the draft is remotely like the 2018 version, Denver can expect several more contributors. Things are looking up for the beleaguered Broncos but there is an elephant in the room that curbs the enthusiasm.
We can debate the merits of the available pool of free-agent quarterbacks or the success probability of some of the more notable draft prospects but what isn’t mysterious is that Joe Flacco is not the answer. It’s not clear what the intent is in bringing in the 6’6″ veteran who couldn’t reclaim his starting job despite a brutal performance from the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson. We can question whether Flacco has truly had more than one good season as an NFL quarterback (he hasn’t) or whether one mis-timed jump from Denver’s Rahim Moore elevated Flacco to an undeserved status (it did).
What shouldn’t be up for debate is that Denver stands little chance of improving their fortunes with yet another mistake at the most important position on the field. Even if they reached in the draft, Kyler Murray isn’t going to be available at 10 and Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock are questionable pro prospects. For Haskins, it’s mobility, Lock has accuracy concerns. Two things that do not bode well for NFL prospects. Certainly not in this era of NFL offensive football.
It’s incumbent on the Broncos to match the Kansas City Chiefs fortune at QB, lest we suffer Patrick Mahomes eating us alive for the next 7-8 years. The defense that carried Denver to a Super Bowl 50 victory has been largely dismantled and what remains grows another year older in 2019. There’s little value in giving away prime Von Miller and Chris Harris Jr. years to appease Elway’s tall QB fantasy. The time is now, and Flacco isn’t the guy.
Denver has started the NFL season strong, it must continue into a solid decision at quarterback for the team to return to the prominence fans have come to expect and demand.