Over the weekend free agency began with teams being able to negotiate with unrestricted free agents. The rumor mill began to churn out deal after deal throughout the league while the Broncos seem to have stood by on the sidelines. The truth of the rumors will come when unrestricted free agents can sign new contracts at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

The Broncos have only roughly $20 million in cap space to sign current Broncos or outside free agents. That figure places them in the bottom half of the league and will make their decisions very important in regards to positions of need. Compared to last year it is looking like this offseason will be must calmer than 2014.

The right tackle position remains a top priority to fill for the Broncos and this weekend made one thing pretty clear. Orlando Franklin appears to be leaving the team that drafted him in 2011. Multiple sources reported Sunday that the versatile lineman is nearing a deal with the San Diego Chargers. Mike Klis of the Denver Post has reported that Franklin’s deal is worth $7.2 million per year with $14 million guaranteed.

Some other notable free agent tackles have reportedly come to terms with their team’s this weekend as well. Doug Free and Derek Newton, both viable options for Denver, seem to be staying in Dallas and Houston respectively, leaving only a handful of proven free agents left. Bryan Bulaga remains the top tackle available while Jeremy Parnell of the Dallas Cowboys would be a cheaper option.

If the Broncos cannot sign a proven free agent they will have to look to Paul Cornick who was tendered as a restricted free agent Friday. The draft would be their second option. La’el Collins and T.J. Clemmings appear to be the best fit for Denver.

The tight end position has been grabbing headlines around Denver for some time now and this weekend was no different. Mike Klis reported that the Broncos offered Virgil Green a multi-year deal and did not reach out to Julius Thomas and his agent. As a result Thomas appears to have found a landing spot in Jacksonville. Multiple sources have reported that Thomas will get the enormous contract he is looking for. The deal has been rumored to be in the amount of $9 million per year for 4-5 years. With Thomas leaving, the Broncos must wait on an answer from Green and look elsewhere for a pass-catching tight end.

The draft only contains one real NFL-ready receiving tight end. Maxx Williams would be a great fit but the Broncos may need their first-round pick for more important needs. Owen Daniels, Jermaine Gresham and Jordan Cameron remain available through free agency. Daniels appears to have the inside track due to his relationship with Gary Kubiak and the lower price tag he should be asking but reports have tied Cameron to the Broncos as well. Gresham has been loosely linked to the Raiders this past weekend.

Nose tackle will also be high on the list for the Broncos. It appears that they will be parting ways with team and fan favorite, Terrence Knighton. As expected the big tackle has drawn interest from several teams and he will be trying to get a multi-year deal for anywhere from $6.5-8 million per year. With the high asking price and the low cap space the Broncos will be in need of a replacement soon.

The Denver Post reported yesterday that the Broncos will meet with the former St. Louis Ram defensive lineman, Kendall Langford. He is a six-year veteran and at the age of 29 has some good football left. Other options that remain are Nick Fairley of the Detroit Lions and recently released Patriot, Vince Wilfork. The exact body-type and role for nose tackle in Wade Phillips 3-4 system is still a mystery. Phillips has succeeded with both a smaller tackle and a big gap stopper like Knighton.

The Broncos clearly have prioritized the offensive line this offseason and have left guard and center to address. Unrestricted free agent Bronco Will Montgomery played admirable in a new system last season but has been seen as a one year replacement and not a long-term solution. A few free agent centers have been on the Broncos wish list. Stefen Wisniewski and long-time Texan Chris Meyers top the list.

Wisniewski is looking for a long term deal after not being able to come to an agreement with the Oakland Raiders. He has been a solid starter in the NFL since his arrival in 2011, only missing three games. Myers has been just as reliable for Houston. The ten-year veteran was drafted by the Broncos in 2005 but was waived and claimed by Houston. Since 2007 he has started and played in every single regular-season game. He excels as a run blocker but has been less than average in pass protection. Myers would be a cheaper option for Denver.

The draft also contains some talented centers. Cameron Erving and Andy Gallik would be viable options for the Broncos to draft in the middle rounds.

The guard position will also be big question mark for Denver. Ben Garland, with Cornick was tendered last week and will be looked upon to step up this season. The free agent market is thin at guard unless a team wants to pay a large amount for the likes of Mike Iupati.

The draft has a deep class of guards and many will be ready to start on a NFL roster. A.J. Cann had a good scouting combine and has tremendous leadership and experience at left guard. He played in 51 games at the University of South Carolina while turning himself into a great run blocker. Other viable options are Trent Brown and little known Ali Marpet.

The Broncos will have a far different strategy for this free agency period than last year. With a tight budget it will be interesting to see how John Elway operates. While most of their talented free agents appear to be leaving, the Broncos will have to wheel and deal in order to acquire some underrated replacements. Tuesday at 2 p.m. the Broncos will have some interesting decisions to make and one thing is for sure the roster will be far different when it all is said and done.

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