By Ben Babcock
Offseason Grade: B
Answer: Yeah kinda
The Broncos finally got a quarterback. Ever since Peyton Manning retired they’ve been struggling on offense hardcore, and they still have plenty of other needs. They only made a couple moves, mainly on the defensive side, and it’ll be interesting how these next couple seasons pan out because some of their roster is starting to get old.
Obviously, Case Keenum was the big signing for them. They’ve struggled to find a leader at QB and Keenum had a great season in Minnesota last year, with 3,547 passing yards and 22 touchdowns, leading them to the NFC Championship game. They also picked up WR Demaryius Thomas’s contract option for 2018. These are both good moves, Keenum should upgrade their offense quite a bit, but he’s not their next franchise quarterback. Demaryius Thomas has been the top receiver in Denver for a while now and is entering the back end of his career. The Broncos still have strong players on offense, but they will all be gone in a couple years.
They still have a solid defense too. They traded away defensive back Aqib Talib to the Rams for a 5th rounder and then replaced him by trading for Su’a Cravens. They brought back inside linebacker Todd Davis to a 3-year deal and brought in cornerback Tramaine Brock and defensive tackle Clinton McDonald. McDonald just adds to a still very solid defensive line. The Broncos were third in yards allowed last season and don’t seem like they’ll be dropping off just yet. They do have multiple guys entering their 30’s pretty soon here though, so it won’t be long until they either drop off or move those guys.
Even with Case Keenum, the Broncos will be looking for their next franchise quarterback in this year’s draft. They only signed him to a 2-year deal so it’s pretty obvious that they don’t see him as the long-term answer. They have the no.5 pick in the draft and are expected to take a QB there. Specifically Baker Mayfield. The Broncos have also been rumored to possibly be trading back, but if they don’t you can expect them to take Mayfield or if Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, or Sam Darnold falls to them. If they don’t take a QB or trade back, the only player I see them taking is Bradley Chubb if he falls to no.5. Chubb is already going to be great, and if you toss him in with the group of veterans they already have, that’s the kind of youth the Broncos want to build with. To me, wide receiver is their greatest need. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are both over 30 years old now and the Broncos don’t have much of anything behind those two. So building depth there will be crucial for the next couple years. After losing T.J. Ward and Aqib Talib, they could use added depth at cornerback too. Corner and inside linebacker are the only spots on defense that could use an upgrade. There is a strong class of defensive backs this year so they could take one in the second round.
The Broncos are still a strong team, the only thing I don’t like about them is that they don’t have any young studs. They are full of veterans but don’t have any predecessors. They are going to drop off a cliff in 3 years if they don’t move some of these guys and get some youth on this team. But for now, they could compete for the AFC West. Probably the best conference in the AFC, I’d expect at least one wildcard to come out of this division. The Broncos could be one of them.