The Denver Broncos are set to introduce Sean Payton as their next head coach this morning at the UCHealth Training Center. Broncos fans sent in their mailbag questions to serve as the appetizer ahead of today’s press conference.

Denver Broncos Mailbag

The Denver Broncos have a lot of varying needs as they approach the offseason. How the Broncos address these needs will determine the trajectory they may head in 2023.

What do you believe needs fixed for Sean Payton to succeed? – Greg
Sean Payton is no stranger to coming into a situation that needs improvement in several important areas. For Denver specifically, the offensive side of the ball needs a massive overhaul in terms of how they have operated. It’s believed that Payton will in fact design a scheme and system around the strengths of Russell Wilson, while also accounting for various strengths the run game has. This includes a potentially revamped offensive line.

Payton doesn’t need to fix the Broncos defensive side of the ball, but he has to be somebody who is involved with that unit and whoever he decides to name as his defensive coordinator.

Special teams are another area that has to see accelerated growth with Payton’s arrival. It’s unclear at this current time who the Broncos’ head coach is eyeing for the job, but Denver has to be more efficient in the return game and more consistent with flipping field position. The Broncos have several integral pieces that can help Payton turn things around in Denver quickly, but it will require some personnel changes and buy-in from the locker room in an entirely new system.

If the Sean Payton hire doesn’t amount to improvement in the first two or three seasons, who would be the first to go? Russell Wilson, George Paton, or Payton? – Larry
This question cuts like a double-edged sword. It’s hard to forecast right now what path the Broncos would take if they still struggle for another two or three seasons. It’s important to note that introducing an entirely new scheme on offense and defense warrants time to adapt which could extend beyond just one season.

If Denver makes the playoffs within the next three seasons, I believe that things will proceed as is with the team’s current operating structure. George Paton is one of the league’s most highly respected executives. However, considering that Payton and Wilson are the newest additions to the team, the worst-case scenario would mean that Paton would likely be the first move in the event of changing the structure.

Russell Wilson will have to play better going forward, but due to Denver’s investment in him, they’ll ride it out until they can’t any longer.

With free agency looming, how much of the team’s needs can be met before the draft? Especially considering the team is without picks in the first two rounds? – @newtype_jk47 on Twitter
When looking at the biggest needs for the Denver Broncos this off-season, they’ll have to find a way to address major holes via trade or free agency. It is expected that several players could be approached by the front office regarding restructuring their contracts. Presently, the Broncos have $12M in cap space right now which ranks them 13th in the NFL in available space.

As it currently stands, the offensive line looks to be the one area that sees a massive overhaul. Dalton Risner is set to become an unrestricted free agent, but Denver has not reached out to his representation regarding any extension — allowing him to test the free agency market. Graham Glasgow is set to account for $14M in cap space this season, but the team could save $11M by releasing him. However, Glasgow has proven to be a reliable option at the center position where he possesses more strength at the point of attack and provided cleaner snaps to Wilson last season.

Right tackle is one of the biggest needs surrounding Denver going into the off-season. Typically, really good offensive tackles don’t hit the open free-agency market. There aren’t any viable options for Denver to target, which means looking in-house could be their best option. Both Calvin Anderson and Billy Turner are set to become unrestricted free agents. Anderson received reps at right tackle all throughout training camp before ultimately sliding over to left tackle, replacing Garett Bolles who suffered a season-ending leg injury.

Turner dealt with recovering from off-season knee surgery that impacted his timeline after signing a one-year deal with Denver initially. When healthy, Turner proved to be a reliable option at right tackle and is projected to be fully 100% around OTAs if the team looks to bring him back. Considering that the Broncos do not possess a first or second-round pick this year, the team should re-sign Anderson and Turner in my opinion.

As it pertains to edge rusher, the Broncos are expecting Randy Gregory to be fully healthy at the start of OTAs. He and Baron Browning are expected to be the starters at outside linebacker in 2023. While Denver may still look to add an edge rusher in free agency or the draft, it’s important they proceed forward with second-round rookie Nik Bonitto and Jonathon Cooper receiving more reps next season behind Gregory and Browning.

Do the Broncos make a move at RB in free agency for Josh Jacobs? – @RussRevengeTour on Twitter
With Javonte Williams’ injury and recovery, I’d expect the Broncos to take a look at several options in free agency. However, with the unpopular notion of paying large money to running backs, Denver does have an option on the free agent market who is extremely familiar with Sean Payton.

Latavius Murray, an unsung hero for Denver last season, has the best chance at returning this season in Denver. Combine that with Chase Edmonds, who the Broncos will look to approach regarding a restructure, and could have a stable. In 2021, Payton had five different running backs on the roster with the New Orleans Saints including former Broncos practice squad running back Devine Ozigbo.

Edmonds demonstrated during his time in Denver last season that he can be an explosive runner in spurts, and can be a change-of-pace receiving threat out of the backfield. Murray on the other hand proved to be an effective downhill runner that consistently helped Denver move the chains. I do not believe the Broncos are looking to spend big money in free agency, which is something guys like Josh Jacobs and Saquon Barkley are looking to secure.

Is there anything being said anywhere about the Broncos keeping Dre’Mont Jones – Stephen
Now that the Denver Broncos’ hire of Sean Payton is official, the team will now move forward with discussing various personnel-related decisions including in-house free agents like Dre’Mont Jones. Ultimately, George Paton and Payton will work collaboratively in discussing the best fits for the team, and for a player like Jones, he fits the build the newly appointed Broncos head coach wants on defense.

However, Paton and Jones’ agent will begin or may have already begun initial discussions for what he’s looking to make based on his production. According to Spotrac, Jones estimated market value would be a 3-year $21.8M deal worth $7.2M AAV per year. 2022 was his first year as a true full-time starter where he was disruptive on the defensive interior, accounting for 16 total pressures in 13 games and 6.5 sacks — matching his previous career high.

To my knowledge, the Denver Broncos want Dre’Mont back and they’ll look to negotiate a deal. If they are unable to come to terms on a deal by free agency, they could place the franchise tag on him extending them time to work on a deal into mid-July.