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montrose
02-26-2009, 07:10 AM
Free agency, rebuilding on the clock
By Mike Klis
The Denver Post

Minute by minute, the digital clocks in Broncoland will flip.

At 10 p.m., the TV anchors will begin reporting what is likely the most incendiary event of the day.

At the darkened headquarters of Dove Valley, Broncos coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Brian Xanders probably won't be watching.

Flip. At 10:01 MST tonight, McDaniels and Xanders can begin rebuilding the disaster that was the 2008 Broncos' defense.

They can switch from the 4-3 to the 3-4 or bring back the 46, for all it really matters. Football arithmetic is the one subject in which numbers by themselves never add up. Not without players they don't.

If the Broncos are going to end their three-year playoff drought, they're going to need players. And not just defensive players.

"There's a big focus on the defense, but to me, every player that we bring in is going to help us in some capacity," McDaniels said Friday in Indianapolis. "Our offense needs to improve. Our defense needs to improve. Our special teams need to improve, and we need to improve significantly in all three areas. We didn't make the playoffs, and there is always a reason for that. It's not all the players' fault, but we're going to try to mold the roster and make it the most competitive we can at every spot."

One offensive player the Broncos might pursue is Tampa Bay receiver Michael Clayton. The 15th draft pick in 2004, Clayton had a splendid rookie season, but he has been a disappointment since. Then again, if Clayton were coming off a Pro Bowl season, he probably would command a contract outside the Broncos' price range.

The Broncos have more than $30 million in cap room, but they also need up to eight free agents. It's why they may not be players for St. Louis cornerback Ron Bartell. Should Bartell hit the free market tonight, it may take a five-year, $40 million contract with an $18 million guarantee to get him.

This has caused the Broncos to lower their sights, possibly to Tampa Bay's Phillip Buchanon, providing he doesn't re-sign with the Buccaneers before the free-agent deadline. Not that Buchanon would come cheap.

"The goal isn't to have everybody be at a smaller salary," McDaniels said. "It's making sure to get the players there that are going to fit the system, that you've placed a solid value on them and that they perform at that level."

As the events Wednesday reminded, free agency is a fluid process. Clayton may have interested the Broncos last week, but the team may have taken another look Wednesday after such proven receivers as Drew Bennett, Joey Galloway and Laveranues Coles were released to the market.

With McDaniels bringing his spread offense from New England to the Rocky Mountains, the Broncos can no longer be caught with Glenn Martinez as one of their two healthy receivers, as was the case late in the Jacksonville game last season.

Adding a receiver could allow Eddie Royal to move to the slot position where New England's Wes Welker hauled in a combined 223 passes the past two years. That may be a too rigorous workload for Broncos' veteran slot man Brandon Stokley, who instead could utilize his versatility as a No. 4 receiver.

The Broncos also could seek a running back and backup quarterback in free agency. On defense, the Broncos must find at least one starting safety and inside linebacker. Gibril Wilson, Brian Dawkins, James Sanders, Jermaine Phillips, Mike Brown and Sean Jones are part of a strong safety class. Monty Beisel, Andra Davis and Mike Peterson are among the veteran inside linebackers.

There are many players to choose from. The recent past suggests the Broncos need their share.

Time to buy

The Broncos can begin signing free agents tonight when the NFL market opens at 10:01 p.m. MST. NFL reporter Mike Klis analyzes six free agents who could help the Broncos fill needs without blowing their budget:

Michael Clayton: WR, Buccaneers

Rookie year: 80 catches, 1,193 yards. Average of next 4 years: 31 catches, 378 yards.

Maurice Morris: RB, Seahawks

Primarily a third-down back who averaged 602 yards rushing the past three seasons.

Bryant McFadden: CB, Steelers

A starting cornerback may be the first to come off the Broncos' free-agent board.

Phillip Buchanon: CB, Buccaneers

Another option if McFadden doesn't pan out. Started 16 games last season; had two interceptions and a TD.

Mike Wright: NT, Patriots

A part-timer and overachiever would be valued as a student-teacher of 3-4 techniques.

Clark Haggans: DE-OLB, Cardinals

Former Colorado State and Steelers pass-rushing force was a desert disappointment last season.

SoDak Bronco
02-26-2009, 07:12 AM
I hope this list is inaccurate

elsid13
02-26-2009, 07:15 AM
I hope this list is inaccurate

Didn't Klis have us trading for Cassel a week back?

bowtown
02-26-2009, 07:18 AM
Didn't Klis have us trading for Cassel a week back?

Well, to be fair, he did indicate that it would probably be a little too expensive. :rofl:

TonyR
02-26-2009, 07:19 AM
I hope this list is inaccurate

It will depend on the how willing other teams are to spend. When you need as many players as we do we're not going to be able to get into bidding wars. When there are teams like Philadelphia, for example, who only have a couple of needs but similar available cap space we just can't compete with that if we're interested in the same players.

Garcia Bronco
02-26-2009, 07:21 AM
Why is the DP still in business.

Gcver2ver3
02-26-2009, 07:24 AM
I hope this list is inaccurate

not me...

at least not at WR...Clayton would be a great low price high upside signing...I was hoping we'd give him a look...

if we move Royal to slot then we need an outside WR with size and Clayton is just that and he is an absolute superb blocker...

Drew Bennett would be a very good signing also, maybe even better than signing Clayton...

as for the rest of the list, McFadden is worth a look too...

the others i agree with you on...Maurice Morris?...yuck

Kaylore
02-26-2009, 07:32 AM
Haggans and Wright aren't terrible. Really it's a poor list, though. I'm very curious how Kidd does. Our new director of pro scouting was a coworker of Bob a month ago, if that says anything. Rubbing shoulders with Nick "The erroneous one" Athan. :flush:

Popps
02-26-2009, 07:33 AM
I like the idea of Peterson and Dawkins. (Or Brown.)

Wright sounds like a logical grab, too. Someone mentioned them around here recently. (Motrose, I think?)

theAPAOps5
02-26-2009, 07:35 AM
I hope this list is inaccurate

Its Klis do you even need to ask that question. Actually from what I have seen all the reporters at Dove Valley are in a vaccuum right now as most of their contacts are gone.

theAPAOps5
02-26-2009, 07:36 AM
Why is the DP still in business.

Exactly, the best writers are at the Rocky and they are about to be unemployed. If I were the sports editor I would say bye bye to Klis and Armstrong and hire Lee Rasizer and evern Legewold.

TonyR
02-26-2009, 07:39 AM
I like the idea of Peterson and Dawkins. (Or Brown.)


I'd be very, very shocked if Dawkins leaves Philly. Don't count on it.

theAPAOps5
02-26-2009, 07:41 AM
I'd be very, very shocked if Dawkins leaves Philly. Don't count on it.

I know you live up there so I bet you have a lot of local info. But at the end of the season didn't the team say they might not pay for Dawkins or something and might part ways. It was a while ago so I can't remember it exactly.

Kaylore
02-26-2009, 07:48 AM
I'd be very, very shocked if Dawkins leaves Philly. Don't count on it.

Dawkins would be perfect here.

TonyR
02-26-2009, 07:49 AM
I know you live up there so I bet you have a lot of local info...

Dawkins has expressed that he wants to stay, the Eagles brass has expressed that they want him to stay. He's probably the most popular player on the team with Westbrook being the only competition for that honor. Anything is possible since they smartly don't like paying old guys but I think Dawkins still works well in Jim Johnson's system. I just can't see him leaving unless $ becomes a big factor and I don't know why you'd overpay for an older player who has become more injury prone and has become a bit of a liability playing in space. He's basically a linebacker playing safety at this point, I'll leave it to the "experts" here to address how he'd fit (or not fit) in Nolan's system.

I'd be curious to hear Rev's take since he's also in the area.

theAPAOps5
02-26-2009, 07:51 AM
Thanks for the insight. I was just curious.

Mediator12
02-26-2009, 08:01 AM
Buchanon is a quality #2 CB in the right system. He played very well in TB the last 2 years and even started tackling like an NFL player ;D

Clayton is a mess though. Guy drops more third down passes and big plays than any one I remember this year. He has never gotten over the first year success and played anywhere near that mentality.

SOme of these other guys are there, and you have to have role players. Sometimes a change of scenery and scheme can rejuvenate a stagnant players development. I hope they just pay appropriately.

theAPAOps5
02-26-2009, 08:07 AM
Buchanon is a quality #2 CB in the right system. He played very well in TB the last 2 years and even started tackling like an NFL player ;D

Clayton is a mess though. Guy drops more third down passes and big plays than any one I remember this year. He has never gotten over the first year success and played anywhere near that mentality.

SOme of these other guys are there, and you have to have role players. Sometimes a change of scenery and scheme can rejuvenate a stagnant players development. I hope they just pay appropriately.

Sounds like Lelei's tenure here. Could make the big catch down the field. But in a 3rd down and 8 type scenario he rarely made the play.

vancejohnson82
02-26-2009, 08:11 AM
Clayton is a joke...we have Chad Jackson on the roster who is the same kind of player...basically a guy who sits on the bench and collects money

Out of the whole bunch I like Haggans actually....I feel like he didnt fit in well with taht defense last year but could come in and be productive with a 'fresh start'

Gcver2ver3
02-26-2009, 08:21 AM
Clayton is a joke...we have Chad Jackson on the roster who is the same kind of player...basically a guy who sits on the bench and collects money

that's an overstatement...

if he was that much of a joke the Bucs wouldn't be trying to resign him (which they are currently trying to do)...

he and Chad Jackson aren't even close to the same guy...one is an injury prone speedster and the other is a big target nonspeedster with bad hands but can block like a mo-fo...

is Clayton a bust?...absolutely...but our other outside WR will by no means be a focal point in the offense...he will be relied on on occasion to make some grabs but really his size and blocking ability will be the bigger assett...the only real issue with him in our new offense will be his lack of deep speed...but his size and blocking would be ideal...

montrose
02-26-2009, 08:29 AM
Actually from what I have seen all the reporters at Dove Valley are in a vaccuum right now as most of their contacts are gone.

This is very valid. My very few but usually reliable sources are getting nothing anymore. With Shanny and his coaches gone, along with the Goodmans, who do you get the scoop from if you're a reporter? You sure as hell aren't getting anything from McDaniels or his assistants and I doubt Xanders is going to be writing self-serving blogs and making weekly interview appearances. I suppose Kidd might be a guy to go to since he's coming from the media but I'll jump off a cliff if ESPN becomes the best source of inside info for the Broncos.

The reality is we're going New England-style with our organization and the info is going to be tough to come by.

Gcver2ver3
02-26-2009, 08:33 AM
This is very valid. My very few but usually reliable sources are getting nothing anymore. With Shanny and his coaches gone, along with the Goodmans, who do you get the scoop from if you're a reporter? You sure as hell aren't getting anything from McDaniels or his assistants and I doubt Xanders is going to be writing self-serving blogs and making weekly interview appearances. I suppose Kidd might be a guy to go to since he's coming from the media but I'll jump off a cliff if ESPN becomes the best source of inside info for the Broncos.

The reality is we're going New England-style with our organization and the info is going to be tough to come by.

good...

vancejohnson82
02-26-2009, 08:34 AM
that's an overstatement...

if he was that much of a joke the Bucs wouldn't be trying to resign him (which they are currently trying to do)...

he and Chad Jackson aren't even close to the same guy...one is an injury prone speedster and the other is a big target nonspeedster with bad hands but can block like a mo-fo...

is Clayton a bust?...absolutely...but our other outside WR will by no means be a focal point in the offense...he will be relied on on occasion to make some grabs but really his size and blocking ability will be the bigger assett...the only real issue with him in our new offense will be his lack of deep speed...but his size and blocking would be ideal...

Clayton had ONE big year because he had Joey Galloway going over the top for him and he had Gruden throwing him balls and thats a coach that loves to go over the middle...since that year he hasnt gone over 40 catches...this guy is a total BUST...why woudl we want to bring him in???

granted, i may have made a bit of a reach with the Jackson comparison, but i dont take back the opinion that we should avoid this guy like the plague....

Gcver2ver3
02-26-2009, 08:54 AM
Clayton had ONE big year because he had Joey Galloway going over the top for him and he had Gruden throwing him balls and thats a coach that loves to go over the middle...since that year he hasnt gone over 40 catches...this guy is a total BUST...why woudl we want to bring him in???

granted, i may have made a bit of a reach with the Jackson comparison, but i dont take back the opinion that we should avoid this guy like the plague....

i can certainly understand why you wouldn't want him here...

but being i live in Tampa I can give you a pretty good tale of what he brings...

1st off, he didn't benefit from Galloway during his big season as a rookie...Galloway only started 7 games due to injury and only had maybe a few hundred yards receiving on the year...in 04 Clayton was a beast...

2ndly, he didn't ride the pine all year like Chad Jackson...I'm certain Clayton started about 9 or 10 games in 2008...and during those games he fought hard to help his team win in other ways besides receiving the ball (that was mainly left to Antonio Bryant)...

with that said, you're right...he's still a bust, and he certainly had a case of the "dropsies" last season but he does carry some value...his attitude has improved and his effort has been high...

and like i said, i can certainly understand you not wanting him here, but i think the guy could help us if utilized properly...

TonyR
02-26-2009, 09:01 AM
...in 04 Clayton was a beast...


Any insight into why he dropped off so much after his rookie year? WR's usually struggle as rookies and then blossom in year 2 or 3. WTF is his story? People forget how promising he was during and after his first year.

Traveler
02-26-2009, 09:01 AM
Any receiver we sign or draft must have this quaility:

Speed!

That's the only type of receiver not currently on the roster. Jackson may be the only player that might fill that role at this point.

elsid13
02-26-2009, 09:04 AM
Any insight into why he dropped off so much after his rookie year? WR's usually struggle as rookies and then blossom in year 2 or 3. WTF is his story? People forget how promising he was during and after his first year.

Gruden and his QB circus. Plus he got lazy his second season and never got back in Gruden graces after that.

ZONA
02-26-2009, 09:24 AM
I do like the ideal of moving Royal to the slot and hopefully drafting a youngster late in the draft that has "potential" much like we did with Bmarsh or what the Cardinals did with Steve Breaston. He was a 5th round pick and in only his 2nd year he racked up over 1,000 yards this season. Since I see our offense in the spread formation, this 3rd WR we have is important. I would rather we draft a young prospect in the 5th then sign one of these FA WR's. We're good enough at WR right now to allow for a younger guy to develop over the next few years. We then can use the higher picks for defense and also use our cap space now allocated for FA's on defense also.

So - my view of rebuilding would be to use all our high picks (1st-4th) on defense. All the FA's we sign be on Defense and then use our 5th-7th rounders on offense (WR, 3rd down RB, backup Center prospect).

oubronco
02-26-2009, 09:26 AM
I'd take Clayton in a second

BABronco
02-26-2009, 09:32 AM
Any receiver we sign or draft must have this quaility:

Speed!

That's the only type of receiver not currently on the roster. Jackson may be the only player that might fill that role at this point.

Royal?

theAPAOps5
02-26-2009, 09:36 AM
This is very valid. My very few but usually reliable sources are getting nothing anymore. With Shanny and his coaches gone, along with the Goodmans, who do you get the scoop from if you're a reporter? You sure as hell aren't getting anything from McDaniels or his assistants and I doubt Xanders is going to be writing self-serving blogs and making weekly interview appearances. I suppose Kidd might be a guy to go to since he's coming from the media but I'll jump off a cliff if ESPN becomes the best source of inside info for the Broncos.

The reality is we're going New England-style with our organization and the info is going to be tough to come by.

Its funny listening to the afternoon show on the Fan. Alfred and Hastings are sending McDaniels fruit baskets to get an interview! They flipped when McDaniels gave an LA station an interview but not a single one in Denver. ROFL!

Gcver2ver3
02-26-2009, 10:00 AM
Any insight into why he dropped off so much after his rookie year? WR's usually struggle as rookies and then blossom in year 2 or 3. WTF is his story? People forget how promising he was during and after his first year.

one of the biggest head scratchers in recent memory for Buc fans...

honestly nobody knows but here are the theories of the Buccaneer local:

1. His attitude...the game may have come to him a little too easy his rookie year...his effort level and focused dropped...

2. Teams figured him out...Clayton doesn't create separation so don't respect his deep speed and don't press him in coverage and he'll have problems...

3. Jon Gruden...Clayton found his way into Jon Gruden's dog house and good luck getting out of it once you're in (he did get out btw)...


personally i think it's a combo of theories 1 & 2 but who knows...

if he can get through the mental lapse of dropping balls he could fit nicely into our offense IMO...

montrose
02-26-2009, 10:03 AM
Its funny listening to the afternoon show on the Fan. Alfred and Hastings are sending McDaniels fruit baskets to get an interview! They flipped when McDaniels gave an LA station an interview but not a single one in Denver. ROFL!

The only interviews he's given thus far are:

CBS 4 - Financial partner of the Broncos
850 KOA - Financial partner of the Broncos
Denver Post - Financial partner of the Broncos
The Jim Rome Show - Apparently McDaniels is a fan of Rome

colonelbeef
02-26-2009, 10:05 AM
horrendous article, makes me wonder if in fact the author watched the broncos last year. The top FA targets are WR's and RB's? Really now.

Broncoman13
02-26-2009, 11:23 AM
Brown, Dawkins, and Sanders would all help immediately. In an ideal world, I'd take both Brown and Sanders or any two fo the three. We're going to have to bring in two or three safeties anyway!

At RB I'd prefer Ward but he may get a fairly large contract. IMO he is worth about $4m per year. If you can get him in Denver under a 4x4 contract ($4m per/yr, for 4 years, with $4m in guarantees... lots of fours!) you make it happen. There aren't a whole bunch of teams needing a RB so he may not get as much as he's looking for. In Denver, he would have the opportunity to compete for the starting spot from day one. Larry Johnson is always an option otherwise... ;D (only half kidding b/c I recognize the talent level to go along with the basket case)

McFadden makes sense. Buchanon I'm not a fan of.

Broncoman13
02-26-2009, 11:27 AM
What is the story on DJ Hackett? He was (what I thought) a pretty good FA two years ago.

MinneCofan
02-26-2009, 11:55 AM
My 2 cents...hours before the excitement begins...I m stoked and think we are gonna be active and in the least there should be new defensive blood which was my only request for this off-season.

RB-I would love JJ Arrington and then spend the 3rd on one (plenty of RB depth in this draft). Arrington would be a nice 3rd down/change of pace and KR. Cheap too.
WR-Marshall in the Moss role and Royal in the Welker. Just need to find Jaber Gaffney....shouldn't be that hard. Clayton would fit the mold to me as would many others. Nate Washington would be my ideal.
Defense-
Please no 3-4 project guys. We have DJ, WW, Larsen, Moss, Dum, THomas, etc to fill out the "I hope this guys can fit the 3-4" roles.
DL-Mike Wright is the obvious fit at the nose, but would take G Jackson too. Need to get one of Canty or Olshansky.
LB-An experienced 3-4 MLB as I am convinced we go OLB in the draft (a coin flip position I know, but it appears stacked...Orakpo, Brown, Barwin, English, Maybin, etc.) So go Andra Davis, Beisel, Foote (available?), etc.
and hope we can fill the other in house.
DB-One corner and one safety. Buchanon, McFadden, or Greer and Sanders, Sensabaugh or Leohnard

JJ Arrington
Clayton
Olshansky
Wright
Beisel (wasn't he in NE for a bit?)
McFadden
Sanders

6 starters and our Kevin Faulk.

Had to get that out....nobody cares to listen to me in Vikingland

montrose
02-26-2009, 12:06 PM
What is the story on DJ Hackett? He was (what I thought) a pretty good FA two years ago.

He did less than Keary Colbert. At least with Colbert we bought a draft pick.

Gcver2ver3
02-26-2009, 12:32 PM
My 2 cents...hours before the excitement begins...I m stoked and think we are gonna be active and in the least there should be new defensive blood which was my only request for this off-season.

RB-I would love JJ Arrington and then spend the 3rd on one (plenty of RB depth in this draft). Arrington would be a nice 3rd down/change of pace and KR. Cheap too.
WR-Marshall in the Moss role and Royal in the Welker. Just need to find Jaber Gaffney....shouldn't be that hard. Clayton would fit the mold to me as would many others. Nate Washington would be my ideal.
Defense-
Please no 3-4 project guys. We have DJ, WW, Larsen, Moss, Dum, THomas, etc to fill out the "I hope this guys can fit the 3-4" roles.
DL-Mike Wright is the obvious fit at the nose, but would take G Jackson too. Need to get one of Canty or Olshansky.
LB-An experienced 3-4 MLB as I am convinced we go OLB in the draft (a coin flip position I know, but it appears stacked...Orakpo, Brown, Barwin, English, Maybin, etc.) So go Andra Davis, Beisel, Foote (available?), etc.
and hope we can fill the other in house.
DB-One corner and one safety. Buchanon, McFadden, or Greer and Sanders, Sensabaugh or Leohnard

JJ Arrington
Clayton
Olshansky
Wright
Beisel (wasn't he in NE for a bit?)
McFadden
Sanders

6 starters and our Kevin Faulk.

Had to get that out....nobody cares to listen to me in Vikingland

i know the feeling (i live in Buccaneerland)...:approve:

i like McFadden and Sanders...JJ Arrington is an intruiging selection but i'd prefer to pass on him...i think we'd be better drafting Kory Sheets/Peerman type in the middle of the draft...

i like the rest of them...

vancejohnson82
02-26-2009, 12:44 PM
stay away from Arrington...

cant really compare him to Faulk...he is as steady as they come while Arrington is known for fumbilitis and he is only average catchign the ball out of the backfield...

i would actually compare HIllis to Faulk

BroncoBuff
02-26-2009, 12:45 PM
One offensive player the Broncos might pursue is Tampa Bay receiver Michael Clayton. The 15th draft pick in 2004, Clayton had a splendid rookie season, but he has been a disappointment since.I suppose if he's affordable. But this says more about Chad Jackson than anything ... we already have three wideouts set, so signing Clayton means Chad will be WR #5 at best. Josh knows as much about Chad as any coach does, so this probably means we shouldn't expect much from him.

yerner
02-26-2009, 12:49 PM
i don't think clayton can run for ****. thats my in depth analysis.

cutthemdown
02-26-2009, 12:51 PM
Clayton getting a bad rap here boys. Sure he had some problems, especially in his 2nd yr, but he has good size like Broncos need to compliment Marshall and let Royal move to the slot on 3rd down.

Broncos won't be going for too many high priced players IMO. This list seems sort of realistic to me.

Broncos new regime looks at this team and IMO realizes with next yrs tough schedule and the lack of talent on defense no way we win next yr.

Players like Clayton are young enough to still have some upside and I think that is what Broncos will be hoping for.

montrose
02-26-2009, 01:35 PM
How about bringing in a WR to compliment Marshall and Royal that knows this exact offense, at that exact position, who would provide Jay and the other WRs a guy already fluent in the offense who would come cheap?

http://www.talkingnfl.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/82gaffney.jpg

BroncoBuff
02-26-2009, 02:18 PM
Is that Chad Jackson?

MABroncoFan
02-26-2009, 06:04 PM
Is that Chad Jackson?

Jabar Gaffney

Traveler
02-26-2009, 06:13 PM
Jackson is already here and he knows the offense too. Just say no to Gaffney.

What they should do is bring in Justin Miller. Would help on special teams as a returner. If I remember correctly, they tried to get him earlier this year but the Raiders snatched him up before us.