Posted Fri Feb 27th by Jonathan Douglas
Free agency has officially begun and the Red Skins wasted no time with big deals already done with Albert Haynesworth (7 year +$100M deal with +$40M in guarantees) and the retaining of DeAngelo Hall (6 year $54M deal with +$22 million in guarantees). Now those are bigger deals than Denver is looking to make, but that’s not because we don’t have the cash for a big signing.
As of last night, the NFL shows the Broncos with $37 million in salary cap space. That much cap room puts us fourth in the league (with only the Bucs, Chiefs and Eagles with more cap space available). Even with this cash, GM Xanders and Coach McDaniels have to be careful when they go shopping because they need a quite a larger number of players than most teams.
“I think what we’re looking to do is accumulate a roster where their value off the field equals the value on the field. That’s really the goal. So if a player earns a tremendous amount of money, that’s fine as long as he’s producing at that level. I think that’s every team’s goal, but that’s certainly our goal is to try to pay people what they’re worth.” — Coach McDaniels 2/26/09
I infer from this statement, that in stead of one or two mega-players, the Broncos are going to be looking at making solid (if not blockbuster) signings that make the team better without breaking the bank. I think the new Dove Valley team won’t shy away from a big signing – if they think it’s worth it. But I’m not personally expecting it this year.
And despite the fact that most people believe our defensive retooling will be everyone’s highest priority, the Broncos first two visits by free agents were Running Backs.
Correll Buckhalter who backed up Philadelphia’s Brian Westbrook and Arizona backup RB J.J. Arrington both came into town with their agent John Rickert. It seems like either one might provide depth to a position that was rocked by injuries last year; however, both players have ups and downs.
Buckhalter carried the ball 76 times for 369 years (4.8 yards per carry) and scored a total of four touchdowns. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Buckhalter has missed a total of three seasons during his career due to knee injures. He’s also 30 years old.
Arrington is younger (26) and might be a good project for Bobby Turner. He has averaged 23.6 yards over 58 kick returns, so he may play a role on special teams. And, let’s not forget that he’s been in the Big Game – catching two passes for 35 yards in the Super Bowl. But he’s just not preformed up to expectations after he was picked up in the 2nd round of the 2005 draft. He’s smaller (5’9″ 212), and he hasn’t really shown ‘big play’ speed. He’s gained 654 yards on 183 carries for an average per carry around 3.5 yards.
Don’t get me wrong… I’m not down on either guy. We could use some more bodies in the back field going into OTA’s. And more people competing will only make the other players better. My point in highlighting their down sides was only to illustrate that neither one should break our bank. If we can pick up one or both for a reasonable price… let’s do it. And then, let’s get started on that Defense! :)
The other scheduled meeting so far is with is Miami Dolphins safety Renaldo Hill. At 5’11″ at 205 lbs this 8 year vet had 77 tackles (62 solo) and 3 INT last year. Hill is the first to agree to meet with Denver, but I’d have to imagine Nolan, McD and Xanders are also at least considering looking at Rodney Harrison, Will Allen and James Butler as well.
That leaves several other positions awaiting some attention… but it’s still very early.
As noted by nearly everyone, two other areas in need of assistance are CB and NT.
To fill Bly’s now empty right corner slot, St. Louis’ Ron Bartell is probably considered the best available, but Tampa Bay’s Phillip Buchanon and Pittsburgh’s Bryant McFadden are also going to get good looks. My personal favorite on this list is McFadden…. I think this might show my latent Steelers envy.
The old Nose tackle position is another priority. Everyone seems to be thinking McD will lean toward Pat’s DT Mike Wright, but Atlanta’s Grady Jackson and Green Bay’s Colin Cole will also get serious consideration.
And just for kicks and giggles, I’ve heard that Dove Valley is attempting to talk with Tampa Bay receiver Michael Clayton‘s agent. Why not? Marshall, Royal, Clayton would be a bit offensive overkill, but I’m not complaining!