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Bacchus
02-21-2013, 12:13 PM
These Under-the-radar Free Agents Should Be on the Denver Broncos' Screen

Team Won't Have to Break Its Budget with a Few Choice Additions

Yahoo! Contributor Network
By Ken Pomponio | Yahoo! Contributor Network Tue, Feb 19, 2013 4:36 PM EST


Yes, free agency is upon us, and while signings won't officially start until March 12, franchise players can be tagged, salary-cap figures can be juggled and player-acquisition plans can be formulated.

It's what's been going down in every team's War Room since their respective 2012 seasons came to an end.

And while the Ed Reeds, Steven Jacksons and Wes Welkers are high on many a free-agent wish list, there's value to be found and big bucks to be saved in targeting some of the league's lesser lights -- the under-the-radar (and under-the-salary cap) players -- who still can have a big impact on the field come next fall.

After wisely franchising Pro Bowl left tackle Ryan Clady, the Denver Broncos can set their sights on plugging some of the few gaps they have following a 13-3 season that ended with a double-overtime, divisional-round loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. And while signing a Reed or Welker could very well be in the Broncos' future, here are some comparatively bargain-basement signings that could put Orange-and-Blue crew over the top in 2013:

WR Austin Collie

This could be a no-brainer of the bunch: Bringing aboard Peyton Manning's old Indy compatriot, who was cut loose by the Colts on Feb. 15, and signing him to a short-term, low-dollar, incentive-laden deal and then perhaps adding an insurance slot man in the draft.

At 27, Collie nearly is a decade younger than 2012 Broncos slot receiver and current free-agent Brandon Stokley, but he's accumulated some nasty injury baggage over his four NFL seasons, including -- most alarmingly -- four concussions, thumb surgery and a torn patellar tendon that limited his 2012 season to a single game.

Still, in Collie's two Indy seasons with Manning (2009-10), the two did some definite damage, hooking up for 118 receptions, 1,325 yards and 15 TDs in only 25 games.

RB Chris Ivory/RB Jonathan Dwyer

The Broncos should zero in on one of the two here.

Both backs currently are restricted free agents, meaning it likely would cost a low-round draft choice to sign either, but one -- most likely Dwyer -- or both could be unrestricted by the time the cash-strapped New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers get their own priorities in order.

Both are young -- Ivory is 24 and Dwyer, 23 -- and just entering their primes and have been saved a typical NFL back's wear-and-tear by playing in running back-by-committee situations. As a result, Ivory has 256 career carries, while Dwyer has only 181.

Still, both are hard-running, tough runners who have put up some eye-catching numbers despite their limited work.

The well-built Ivory (6-0, 222) has averaged 5.11 yards per carry which ranks fourth in the league over the past three seasons among backs with 250 or more carries.

Meanwhile, the 5-11, 235-pound Dwyer -- a Georgia Tech teammate of current Broncos' wideout Demaryius Thomas -- is the the between-the-tackles workhorse the Broncos need, and he led the Steelers in rushing with 623 yards on 156 carries this past season.

S William Moore

True, the 27-year-old Moore isn't exactly a lesser light as one of the top-five available safeties, but that could change if the Atlanta Falcons decide to place their franchise tag on the former Missouri Tiger.

The 6-foot, 220-pound Moore is a physical presence who has registered at least 54 tackles in each of his three pro seasons, but what makes the former second-round pick so appealing is his play-making penchant which has resulted in 11 career interceptions -- one of which came against Manning in Week 2 this past September -- and five forced fumbles.

By comparison, Broncos safeties have combined for eight picks over that span, and needless to say, the Denver "D" can use all the turnovers it can get with a cumulative minus-22 team takeaway-giveaway differential over the past three seasons.

DT Desmond Bryant

The 27-year-old Harvard product isn't generating as much free-agent buzz as DT counterparts Henry Melton, Randy Starks or even former Oakland Raiders teammate Richard Seymour, but he possesses the pass-rushing ability the Broncos desperately need from the interior of the D-line.

At 6-6 and 311 pounds, Bryant can bring the heat as evidenced by his 10.5 sacks over the past three seasons, which rank eighth among all NFL defensive tackles and ahead of such notables as B.J. Raji (9.5), Gerald McCoy (9) and Vince Wilfork (8.5).

According to Advanced NFL Stats, Bryant had a combined 16 sacks and QB hits in 2012 - more than double the combined total (7) of the Broncos' primary DT duo of Kevin Vickerson and Justin Bannan, both of whom are free agents.

TE Delanie Walker

With Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen coming off productive seasons, a tight end is far down Denver's list of needs, but if the 28-year-old Walker avoids the franchise tag in San Francisco, the do-it-all veteran's versatility may be too irresistible to pass up.

Walker can catch, block, split out wide and even play some fullback. And even at 6-1 and 241 pounds, Walker can stretch the field as his career postseason 17.3-yard-per-catch average attests.


Rest of article here and the always interesting yahoo comments: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/under-radar-free-agents-denver-broncos-screen-213600251--nfl.html

Bacchus
02-21-2013, 12:16 PM
I really like Dwyer, I cannot believe Pittsburgh would part with him.

Beantown Bronco
02-21-2013, 12:27 PM
That's a really good list; but aside from Collie, I don't see any of them agreeing to sign for chump change.

Rascal
02-21-2013, 12:39 PM
That is a good list. I'm concerned about some of Bryant's antics, but who knows how much of that is a product of his environment.

DBroncos4life
02-21-2013, 12:42 PM
That's a really good list; but aside from Collie, I don't see any of them agreeing to sign for chump change.

Yeah I'm trying to figure out just how Walker is under the radar.

Smiling Assassin27
02-21-2013, 02:06 PM
Collie is a concussion machine. When sportswriters do articles about you entitled, 'Why is Concussion Prone Austin Collie Still In The NFL?', that ought to be a red flag for any team looking to sign you.

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/19883912/why-is-concussionprone-austin-collie-still-in-nfl-hes-like-his-dad

kdissette
02-21-2013, 02:21 PM
ivory would be a realistic option....we do need to find a DT somewhere but i think it will be in the draft...moore will be tagged....walker too....collie i would only sign for the lowest amount of money allowed.

SonOfLe-loLang
02-21-2013, 02:58 PM
Considering all i've heard about DT's is that it takes a while to learn the position, i dont wanna rely on drafting a DT to start. Gimme some vets, draft a DT (in a deep class) in the 2nd or 3rd. I want an impact player with the first pick.

DENVERDUI55
02-21-2013, 03:38 PM
Collie is a concussion machine. When sportswriters do articles about you entitled, 'Why is Concussion Prone Austin Collie Still In The NFL?', that ought to be a red flag for any team looking to sign you.

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/19883912/why-is-concussionprone-austin-collie-still-in-nfl-hes-like-his-dad

Collie is a low priced high reward type player.

mellow mood
02-21-2013, 04:02 PM
Walker and ivory please

Don't know much about that DT or S

No to collie and Dwyer

BroncosfanGuy
02-21-2013, 04:12 PM
Yeah I'm trying to figure out just how Walker is under the radar.

or Moore who is coming off a solid season too

BroncoMan4ever
02-21-2013, 04:36 PM
Walker and ivory please

Don't know much about that DT or S

No to collie and Dwyer

I like Ivory a lot but would live to see Dwyer in Denver. Bring some power and fresh legs as a perfect compliment to Hillman

TheReverend
02-21-2013, 05:22 PM
How is Will Moore under the radar?

He's a ****ing probowler, for god's sake.

yerner
02-21-2013, 05:45 PM
How is Will Moore under the radar?

He's a ****ing probowler, for god's sake.

Ken Pomponio doesn't own a television and lives in North Korea.

Mogulseeker
02-21-2013, 06:26 PM
Dwyer deserves a look.

gunns
02-21-2013, 06:34 PM
Yeah I'm trying to figure out just how Walker is under the radar.

Same with Moore. He had a great year. I'd love for him to continue it this year...in Denver.

Bigdawg26
02-21-2013, 08:58 PM
I would love to get Ivory in a bronco uni.

extralife
02-21-2013, 09:27 PM
I like Ivory a lot. I want Bradshaw, but Ivory would obviously be cheaper if that doesn't happen.

Walker really ought to stay in SF.