Football

Denver Broncos have chance to add key pieces in free agency

The Denver Broncos finished strong in 2019, winning four of their final five games.

Now, armed with $45 million of cap space, general manager John Elway has an opportunity to build on the momentum.

Denver has defined needs, even after acquiring cornerback A.J. Bouye for a fourth-round pick from the Jacksonville Jaguars. While Bouye provides Denver with a quality boundary corner, it also means the likely departure of longtime slot corner Chris Harris Jr. Harris said as much when speaking to NFL Network, per The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala.

 

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“I think it’s pretty much that door has been closed. So it’s just trying to move on to the next situation that’s best for me and trying to figure out who’s excited to have me in the building and have me a part of the team.”

Elway should start by addressing the offensive line, a portion of the roster long struggling with issues. Left tackle Garret Bolles has been a bust at left tackle, and with Ron Leary having his option declined, there’s work to do. Going big-game hunting with guard oe Thuney would make ample sense. Denver has a major need, and Thuney, 27, has never missed a game in his four-year career. He’s also coming off a Second-Team All-Pro campaign with the New England Patriots, the same team he reached three Super Bowls with.

 

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If the Broncos land Thuney, they can look to draft an offensive tackle in the first round, move on from Bolles and potentially fix this biggest problem.

On defense, Denver has more decisions to make. Defensive linemen Shelby Harris and Derek Wolfe are both free agents. Should they leave, the Broncos need to find a few contributors up front. D.J. Reader would make sense, a big-bodied defensive tackle coming off his best year. If the Houston Texans don’t bring him back, Reader makes for a good fit.

Finally, the Broncos need help at corner even beyond Bouye. Elway might swing big for Byron Jones, but if Jones proves too pricey, Denver can go to the next tier of available corners. A few names to watch come from the Kansas City Chiefs, with Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller both slated to hit the market come Wednesday afternoon.

Come next week, Elway has a litany of choices to make with ample money at his disposal. If he makes the correct calls, the Denver Broncos could be fighting for a playoff berth, something they haven’t enjoyed since winning Super Bowl 50.

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