I'll just start by saying that I'm very happy that the Broncos re-signed Kevin Vickerson. He did a terrific job for them in 2012 and played a big part in them doing such a good job against the run for most of the season. Along with Justin Bannan and Derek Wolfe, the Broncos' front-three did a nice job occupying the opposing five offensive linemen in the run game, and allowing the other front-seven players to flow to the ball.
Fundamentally, all things being equal, I always think it's better to re-sign a player than it is to sign a free agent from another team. With an outsider, you face scheme risk, in the sense that you don't know if a guy translates to what you're going to ask him to do. The Broncos know that Big Vick can play in multiple alignments, two-gap on base downs, and one-gap some in passing downs. What they're doing schematically isn't really common, so knowing a guy can do the job is key.
I’m never a really big proponent of signing free agents in the first hour of the proceedings, because you end up having to pay top of the market prices for them. I’m a much bigger fan of waiting a day or two, and letting the suckers get their money out there, and see who’s left.
That said, if you really want to upgrade at offensive guard, you could do worse than signing Louis Vasquez. I think he came into his own as a player in 2012, and was definitely the best offensive lineman on the Chargers. Of course, their line was pitiful, and their number-one priority has to be fixing it. By signing Vasquez, the Broncos just helped themselves, and hurt the second-place team in the division in about the worst way they could be hurt.
Happy Monday, friends. As some of the rumors start to come out about free agency, I have some thoughts on a few of the Broncos-related ones. Let’s rosterbate, shall we?
1. Doug linked to an Omar Kelly report that the Broncos are the leader for Reggie Bush, and he questioned the likely veracity of the rumor, because Bush isn’t bigger or more durable than any of the current Broncos RBs.
I don’t really agree that the Broncos need a big back, because Willis McGahee does fine in that role, and it’s a reasonably safe assumption that he’ll be back to full health in 2013. I wouldn’t call him injury-prone either, over the majority of his career. I do think that McGahee is best in a committee situation, and whether the Broncos acquire another back or not, that that's where he'll find himself in 2013.
Happy Friday, friends. I was pretty interested to see the Deadspin article that ran yesterday and included a full copy of the audited financial statements of the Carolina Panthers. They presented the last two fiscal years, which ended on March 31 of 2012 and 2011, respectively, and they offer a good look at the financial position of a team that sits right in the middle of the NFL in Forbes’s valuation rankings.
I know that I always have some first-time readers, so I hope that my long-time readers will bear with me as I lay out my bona fides for addressing this topic. I have bachelors degrees in both finance and accounting, and also an MBA. I’m presently working on finishing the CPA exam, and I hope/expect to be done with it by the end of May. Additionally, I’ve been working in corporate accounting and finance for eight years, since I graduated with my first BBA.
I’m not exactly an accounting expert, but anybody would tell you that I’m a pretty solid pro, and among football writers, I’m pretty confident in where I stand as a financial analyst.
Happy Thursday, friends. In the wake of the news that Elvis Dumervil is being asked to take a pay cut, I’ve been thinking about what it might mean in a larger sense for the Broncos’ offseason plans.
I haven’t been buying the idea of the Broncos being in on Darrelle Revis, but with the team’s salary structure as it currently stands, and with the expected cuts of D.J. Williams and Joe Mays looming, I tend to view the Dumervil business as a complementary move to something big.
About five weeks ago, I wrote an article where I talked about the Broncos’ salary structure. I pointed out that Peyton Manning, Dumervil, Champ Bailey, Ryan Clady, and Von Miller account for $58 million in cap hit, which is now 47% of the Broncos salary cap. That is the primary reason that I say that the Broncos can’t accommodate another large salary.
Happy Saturday, friends. I was asked by Doug to consider the question posed in this morning's Lard, under the assumption that Ryan Clady gets signed away by another team for the cost of two first-round picks. It would take a team with cap room, and which wants an absolute sure thing at the LT position to do it. Really, given Clady's rotator cuff surgery, it's not exactly a sure thing, but it's close to one.
Let's consider what the Broncos' options would be, given the following parameters:
The Broncos would own two first-round picks, a second, and a third in the first two days of the draft, and they'd have about $17 million in cap space, with $9 million more easily available when/if D.J. Williams and Joe Mays are cut.
Happy Saturday, friends. As per Doug's request from last night, I have some thoughts on the potential matches between the Broncos and new free agents Charles Woodson, Dwight Freeney, and Austin Collie.
All are established veterans, but have enough tarnish at this point that they won't command much contractually - think one-year deals, with little or no guaranteed money.
Collie's issue is concussions, but I'd take a look at him as a fourth WR for the minimum. I'm sure he has better chemistry with Peyton Manning and knowledge of the route concepts than Matt Willis (who's also an unrestricted free agent) does.
I think there's more potential value to the Broncos with Collie than there is to any other team, and the risk to the team is nil.
Happy Friday, friends. I got derailed from writing for yesterday, and while I may be a day late, you won’t catch me a dollar short. In continuation of Wednesday’s topic, today I want to talk about some young Broncos defenders who may be primed for a big leap in 2013.
The most obvious one is probably Derek Wolfe, who had a very nice rookie season, and who I think is only scratching the surface of his potential. The first thing you have to understand about Wolfe is that he’s not used as a traditional 4-3 DE; he’s really more of a 3-4 type of player, and the Broncos defense is actually mostly a 3-4 in disguise. If Elvis Dumervil lined up in a two-point stance, the disguise would be gone.
Wolfe was the primary difference between 2011, when the Broncos usually had to use eight men in the box against the run, and 2012, when they usually managed pretty well with seven. It’s a major deal for the soundness of a defense when it can afford to keep two deep safeties, and the play of Wolfe, Justin Bannan, and Kevin Vickerson was what allowed it.
Happy Wednesday, friends. It’s time for another question from the mailbag. We solicited your questions, and you’ve been sending them. If you just now thought of something, hit us up here. For today, Kaleb Harvey writes:
Every year a few players break out like Zane Beadles and Chris Harris did this year. And also players that take on a bigger than expected role like Tony Carter and Wesley Woodyard. Who are your picks for breakout players for next year?
That’s a good question. I can see some players on both offense and defense stepping up their games, so I’m actually going to break this into two articles, beginning with offense today, and ending with defense tomorrow.
I think, for starters, that it’s easy to point to Ronnie Hillman as a guy who could make a big leap in his second season. He was the youngest player in the NFL, and it often showed. He has a lot of talent, but there’s a good deal of work to do there on both technique and physical ability.
Happy Sunday, friends. Once again, the mailbag has yielded a good question. This is one of those parts of the offseason where nothing is really going on, and where we’re really likely to have time to address good questions, so keep ‘em coming.
Today, from our friend Haiku Boy:
I have an ongoing argument with this contrarian frenemy of mine who keeps insisting they should cut Robert Ayers. I know the cap savings would be minimal (roughly one million) but he points to his lackluster statistics, low defensive snap count, and frankly the fact he was picked by McDaniels.
Is there any way this will happen, and would there be any way to justify the move? This guy is seriously bugging the crap out of me.
No problem, HB. The price for the answer is one haiku in the comment section. Whenever a fan talks about getting rid of a player, for whatever reason, the first question that must be asked and answered is, “Can you get somebody better (or at least at a better value) to fill the guy’s role, and where’s he coming from?”