Free agents could make elite squad of Broncos’ defense |

Free agents could make elite squad of Broncos’ defense

Sports Geek
Jeff Sauer
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Jeff Sauer

Turning an already dangerous defense into the league’s most dominant defense might just be what the Broncos had planned all along. Especially while sorting through a rather muddled quarterback situation for next season.

“Von Doom” and the Broncos’ defense are quickly becoming the talk of the NFL, but the opportunity to add a defensive player, or two, via free agency next spring could elevate this defense to top-tier status in a hurry.

The Broncos will need to address their own unrestricted free agents (UFAs) to determine how much salary cap space they will have available in 2012, although owner Pat Bowlen has a long history of keeping his team near the max, so they will undoubtedly have money to spend.

They need to hit the accelerator and spend it on the defense.

An abundance of marquee offensive UFAs will hit the market after the season, and some of the wide receivers sure to garner a lot of attention include: DeSean Jackson, Dwayne Bowe, Vincent Jackson and Reggie Wayne. And, though all of them want to sign with new teams, the Broncos would be wise to pass on each of them. Denver already has a stable of young, quality wideouts. They just don’t throw the ball to them often enough.

Choosing not to pursue a premier running back in free agency makes sense as well. Matt Forte and Ray Rice will hit the market in theory, but there’s no chance their GMs will let them walk. More to the point, Willis McGahee and some fresh legs acquired with middle-round draft picks should secure the Bronco backfield for a while. Call it Shanahan logic, if you will.

This puts the free agency emphasis back on building a powerhouse defense, and the Broncos’ first order of business should be re-signing a few of their own, mainly defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley and linebackers Wesley Woodyard and Joe Mays.

From there, exploring free agency gets interesting.

Mario Williams (LB), Robert Mathis (DE), LaRon Landry (S), and Carlos Rogers and Cortland Finnegan (CBs) headline the prospects on defense, and they’re all capable of making an immediate impact wherever they sign.

The Broncos appear to be set at safety by drafting a pair last year to eventually replace Brian Dawkins, so maybe Landry doesn’t work, but the guy can pack a wallop, much like former Broncos Steve Atwater and Dennis Smith did for a long time in the secondary.

The Broncos should consider either Rogers or Finnegan at cornerback. Rogers is the best cover corner on the market and Finnegan, who has a reputation as a dirty player, brings a hard-nosed, in-your-face style to the field every Sunday. Both players would be an upgrade over Andre Goodman.

And then there are the real prizes – Mario Williams and Robert Mathis.

I just couldn’t fathom what opposing quarterbacks might be thinking when they look across the line of scrimmage and see either of them along with Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller.

Terrifying comes to mind.

It could be one of the best defenses the Broncos have ever had.

All of this from a defense that was ranked dead last in the NFL last year.

Jeff Sauer is a longtime western Colorado resident and former Roaring Fork Valley resident. He can be reached at

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