This team has finally remedied its need for a quarterback, but now it’s time to pour resources into protecting that franchise-changing asset.
Should they do this by continuing to pursue some of the options already on the roster for them, or should they look to hit the free-agent market and attempt to land a high-end player?
The Denver Broncos already made the very wise decision to bring back Calvin Anderson on a one-year, $2.5 million deal, and all reports suggest that he’ll once again get a chance to compete for the starting job in camp.
Don’t be surprised if he wins that competition either. This latest extension for Anderson is just further evidence of the team’s infatuation with him. Not only that, but Anderson nearly won the Week 1 starting job last offseason, and did a marvelous job filling in for Bobby Massie when he was injured.
Saying so on Twitter is asking for trouble, but the Broncos got relatively lucky with Massie’s health this past season.
Despite still clearly being a quality player and the team having a need at the position, the Chicago Bears decided to cut Massie last off-season, in part because he appeared in just eight of the last 21 games Chicago played with him on the roster.
He’s also set to turn 33 just before the start of next season.
Massie is a solid starter, and the Broncos should be interested in bringing him back for the right price, but his age, health, and fit in Nathaniel Hackett’s offensive scheme are all valid concerns.
Atop the free agency wishlists of every member of Broncos Country should be Morgan Moses.
Moses is a high-end starter with a decent amount of his prime remaining, at age 31. He also is coming off an excellent season with the Jets, despite being placed in a rocky situation.
Also, Moses has operated in schemes similar to Hackett’s his entire career. While with Washington, they primarily ran Jay Gruden’s take on the Shanahan offense, and in New York, they ran Mike LaFleur’s iteration. Yes, in case you’re wondering, Mike LaFleur is the brother of Packers head coach and Hackett mentor Matt LaFleur.
On top of all that, Moses is incredibly reliable, as he hasn’t missed a game since the 2014 season.
Dennis Kelly & Billy Turner
These are likely the two least appealing potential solutions at the tackle position for the Broncos, as both would likely represent a downgrade on last year’s starter, Massie.
The very last thing Denver should be doing right now is diminishing their ability to protect the quarterback.
With that said, Dennis Kelly and Billy Turner do have past experience with Hackett and should be cheaper options that can start for you. Turner did a fine job starting a majority of the season for the Packer this past year, and Kelly was a really nice backup, earning Pro Football Focus grades of 67.1 and 72.4, respectively.
Again, though, neither option is all that appealing.
Though he isn’t on the free-agent market, La’el Collins could be the dream addition for the Broncos at tackle.
Collins is undeniably either the best player on this list or the second-best player on this list (with Moses), and he’s also the second-youngest and just 28 (older than only Anderson, 25), he’s got several seasons of his prime left.
His contract is also pretty reasonable, with $44.95 million due to him over the next three seasons. That’s expensive, but it will likely be much easier to swallow than the premium the Broncos would have to pay either Moses, Massie, Kelly or Turner on the open market. Even though Massie, Kelly and Turner will be cheaper, they’ll also be considerably lesser options and probably not worth what you’re paying them.
Meanwhile, Collins’ value isn’t too far off his salary.
The tricky aspect of adding Collins is that the Broncos will have to trade for him, and they already sacrificed a good deal of draft capital to add Wilson. Plus, sacrificing that draft capital makes you lose a lot of leverage once contract negotiations come up, so the Broncos could get trapped in a situation where Collins’ attractive contract is not-too-appealing before long.