Every offseason has its big story lines, but underneath all the Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno free agency talk, underneath all of the talk of Peyton Manning’s neck and his facial hair, lie some important story lines form this offseason that may not be as widely covered. They are the curious cases of the Denver Broncos 2014 offseason.
The Curious case of Brock Osweiler
In a era for the Broncos where the words “win now” and “small window” are thrown are in very other sentence, they still spent a second round pick on somebody they hoped wouldn’t really see the field for at least three years.
Well, so far, so good. The first part of that plan worked, but the only issue is that in the limited action we have seen ol’ Brock Lobster in training camp, the preseason, and the few regular season games he has been in the action, we haven’t seen much from him. That has to change this offseason.
Brock has to show that he is more on the Aaron Rogers plan than the Curtis Painter plan. He has to show that he is capable of throwing the ball down the field with accuracy, after only averaging six yards per completion in all of his on the field action. He has to show that he is ready to be an NFL quarterback at the drop of a hat.
With all of the talks and rumors that surfaced about Peyton Manning retiring this year, you know those talks will get even hotter next year. At some point the Broncos are going to have to take a look at what they have in Osweiler and decide if he is really the future for them, or if they have to go back into the draft and start developing another prospect.
For those about to Brock, we…hope you know what you’re doing.
The Curious Case of John Elway’s Drafting Ability
Ask two Broncos fans if John Elway is good in the draft, and you’ll probably get two different answers.
The optimistic Broncos fan will point out players like, Julius Thomas, Orlando Franklin, Kayvon Webster and Danny Trevathan. They’re the guy who thinks Brock can be the answer, and that Von Miller will win a Defensive Player of the Year award before he gets suspended for an entire season.
The pessimistic fan will lead you to players like Sylvester Williams, Ronnie Hillman, and Rahim Moore, they’ll remind you that Osweiler was taken in front of the same guy who just shredded the Broncos in the Super Bowl, Russell Wilson, and envision Miller smoking his way out of the league.
The reality is, either of these opinions could be right, and either of them could be wrong. After three years, the jury is still out on John Elway’s drafting ability, which makes this year’s draft vital for the General Manager and Executive Vice President of Football Operations. A bad crop of draftees this season and all of the sudden all of those pessimistic fans noted above — as well as national analysts — have a whole bunch of ammo to call Elway’s Draft ability into question.
John Elway needs to pick up at least three players in this year’s draft that can contribute to a Super Bowl run for the Broncos next season, to solidify his legacy as an executive.
The Curious Case of Champ Bailey
It happens all the time in sports, a team signs a great player in the latter stages of their career to a big long contract, towards the end of that contract the player is hardly a glimmer of what they once were and have no business making the money they are being paid. It’s considered by most a bad look for the organization to just cut a player who has done so much for them over the years, and become a fan favorite.
The Broncos are facing this now with their long-time staple on the outside of their defense, and now frankly washed up, Champ Bailey. In addition to a $9 million base salary, Champ is also owed a $1 million roster bonus if he is still a part of the team on March 15th, just 10 days from now, making this decision time for the front office.
It seems their decision for now will be to ask Bailey to take a massive pay cut. It’s a safe move for the Broncos, because Champ can still be a positive influence in the locker room, and may have something left to give on the field if he can get completely healthy in the offseason. And if he turns it down, it looks more like it was Bailey’s decision to leave than the Broncos just straight up cutting him.
The hard truth is that the best case for the Broncos is Bailey turning down the request to take a pay cut, opening the door for Denver to let him go. Even if they were able to get Bailey to take $5 million, half of what he is owed, that is still $5 million coming off of the cap for a guy who by all indications has nothing left to give on the field. That money would be much more well spent on resigning free agents, going after other free agents, or even opening the door to swing a trade for a guy like Darrelle Revis.
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