The 2022 Denver Broncos were expected to contend not just for a playoff spot but potentially a deep run in the playoffs. With a new franchise quarterback, a new ownership group, a new coach, and a handful of new free agents the only thing that the Broncos found themselves contending for was the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Finishing with a 5-12 record, the Denver Broncos were absolutely the furthest thing from what critics, fans, players, and management expected.
As the team prepares for the 2023 season, they are once again welcoming a new coach as former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton signed a five-year deal with the team at the beginning of February.
With a whole new coaching roster, Payton has some work to do in order to figure out what he has on the roster and what he needs or wants to add in order to make the Broncos a playoff team for the first time since they won the Super Bowl in 2015.
Starting Monday, the club has started to put those pieces together, addressing some of the areas in which the team had obvious gaps in talent.
Key Free Agent Additions
The Denver Broncos clearly needed to improve their ability to protect Russell Wilson, who struggled for various reasons last year. The team’s first free agent acquisition offensive guard Ben Powers was arguably the best left guard on the market, finishing fifth in pass-block snaps without a sack and second among guards in pass-blocking.
Five years / $87.5 million is a lot of money for a right tackle who had a solid five years in San Francisco, but not a career worthy of what most would expect from a ninth-overall pick. With at least ten different players starting at right tackle over the past decade, the signing of Mike McGlinchey is a welcome sight for the organization.
— NFL (@NFL) March 13, 2023
The Broncos lost Dre’Mont Jones to the Seattle Seahawks but found an equal replacement for him in Zach Allen. Following a pair of unmemorable seasons to start his career in Arizona, Allen seemed to find his way last year by harassing opposing QBs from either side of the field. With six sacks, fifteen QB hits, and fourteen hits in 427 pass-rushing snaps, Allen will certainly help a team that struggled to halt the opposition’s rushing attacks last season.
The Broncos’ most important defensive free agent signing may have been one of their own as after Alex Singleton tested the market, he ultimately decided there was no place like home. As Denver’s leading tackler last season, Singleton inked a three-year / $18 million deal, returning to lineup alongside Josey Jewell.
ILB Josey Jewell has been downgraded to OUT for #DENvsSEA.
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) September 11, 2022
While it isn’t as much a priority as improving their offensive and defensive lines, adding a couple of targets for Wilson wouldn’t hurt. Although Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, and Tim Patrick are all quality options, rumors of a trade involving one or both Jeudy and Sutton have been circulating and Patrick is coming off of a torn ACL, sidelining him for all of last season.
Surprisingly the team did not make an attempt to throw a ball to New Orleans Saints free agent receiver Michael Thomas and reunite him with Coach Payton. Seeing as the team needs speed and a deep threat, it’s surprising that they were not in attendance for Odell Beckham Jr.’s workout session prior to the opening of free agency. While Beckham wants more money than the Broncos can or are willing to give, it is still fun to imagine the magic that he and Wilson could create.
With Chase Edmonds headed to Tampa Bay and Latavius Murray on the market, the Broncos added former Cincinnati Bengals running back Samaje Perine to the roster. While he is physically one of the strongest running backs in the league, Perine isn’t a first or second down option, but will likely get a lot of opportunity to become one with Javonte Williams returning from a torn ACL suffered early last season.
By spending most of their money on protecting Wilson and stopping the other team from scoring, the Broncos don’t exactly have an ample amount of money to add scoring options and may have to rely on picking up a rookie with their third-round draft pick.
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) March 24, 2023
Last season Brett Rypien served as the Broncos’ second-string quarterback. Undrafted out of Boise State, Rypien signed with the team in 2019 and has played a total of eight games in four years with a 2-1 record. Monday, the Broncos replaced Rypien with Jarrett Stidham who is now on his third team in five years.
Last year Stidham started the first two games of his career, both losses. Armed with a 2-year / $10 million deal, Stidham is an upgrade over Rypien as Russell Wilson’s understudy.
Do you think the Broncos are stronger than last season? Would you consider backing them up for a division win while betting on NFL in Colorado?
Credits on Featured Image: Jeramey Jannene