As the dullest void of the NFL offseason continues, there are still moves the Denver Broncos can, and should, make. As we approach training camp the Broncos roster is pretty much set. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. There are still plenty of viable free agents that would make sense to round out some of the questionable spots on the Broncos roster.
Anthony Barr, LB
Four time Pro Bowl linebacker Anthony Barr remains an unrestricted free agent after 8 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. From 2015 to 2018 Barr ripped off four straight seasons of dominance, being selected to the Pro Bowl in each of the four seasons. In the three years since Barr has been plagued with injuries, missing 22 games in that time. Barr, having recently turned thirty, is on the tail end of his career.
Barr still has something to offer a team like the Denver Broncos. Since Baron Browning seems to be switching to being an edge rusher full time, the Broncos off ball linebacker group after Josey Jewell is thin and inexperienced. Current projected second and third string off ball linebackers Jonas Griffith and Alex Singleton have a combined 23 starts in four seasons. Barr would provide a level of experience and reliability that the Broncos don’t exactly have right now. Barr clearly isn’t the player he was at his peak, but he has double the amount of NFL seasons under his belt than any Broncos linebacker right now. He can most likely be had for a low cost against the salary cap as well.
Jackrabbit Jenkins, CB
Jackrabbit Jenkins is a 10 year NFL veteran. Going into his 11th season, he lingers on the open market. Jenkins peaked in 2016 with a Pro Bowl nod and a second team All Pro nomination. In the years since he has served as a solid role player for the New York Giants, New Orleans Saints, and most recently the Tennessee Titans. In 2021 he graded out 41st among 116 qualifying cornerbacks per Pro Football Focus. He excelled at defending the run, ranking 14th among 110 qualifying cornerbacks this past year. He would provide a solid level of play on a rotational basis and a decent break glass in case of emergency starter.
If 2021 taught us anything it’s that you can never have too many cornerbacks. The 2021 Denver Broncos cornerback room going into the season was widely considered the team’s greatest strength. However, just a few weeks into the season they were a hit and miss group riding the coattails of a stellar rookie year from Patrick Surtain II. With injuries and quality of play being a problem for multiple starters the group was stretched incredibly thin. Ronald Darby, the current projected starter opposite Surtain, has trouble staying healthy, having only ever played one full season. Jenkins would fill out the depth and be a good, cheap veteran presence for other young backups on the roster trying to make a name for themselves.
JC Tretter, C
It is honestly astonishing that J.C. Tretter is still a free agent at this point in the offseason. The eight season veteran played at a high level in 2021. Tretter graded out as the sixth best center out of 39 qualifying players at his position per PFF. Tretter ranked second overall in pass blocking grade and 14th in run blocking grade. He also hasn’t missed a game since joining the Cleveland Browns in 2017. The Broncos will be implementing a similar rushing scheme that the Browns have used the last two years, so he fits what they will want to do. Tretter is a player that probably half the league should be trying to acquire and the Broncos are no exception.
The Broncos current projected center, Lloyd Cushenberry, has had a rough start to his NFL career. His rookie year he ranked dead last out of 36 qualifying centers per PFF. In 2021 Cushenberry ranked 21st out of 39 players. The Broncos interior offensive lineman group is already crowded as is, but it would be worth moving a few players around to plug in a top ten center like Tretter. Graham Glasgow is likely gone in 2023 anyway. He can be cut after this year to save 11 million dollars in cap space.
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