Today marked the formal start of the 2104 NFL season, meaning free agency started and teams across the league looked to improve their rosters. One of the most active teams in the first 24 hours of free agency was the defending AFC Champion Denver Broncos, who are looking to spend any available money to improve their defense. After dominating the regular season and setting offensive records, the Peyton Manning led Broncos ran into the defensive buzz saw of the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl and only managed to scrape together one touchdown in the entire game. The Broncos saw their weaknesses and have been making moves to improve them early on in this offseason.
Offense was never an issue for the 2013-2014 Denver Broncos as they set records and glided through the playoffs until getting crushed by the eventual champions, the Seattle Seahawks. Peyton Manning had the best statistical season of any quarterback in the history of the NFL and the offense overall set records as well. On the back of their record-setting offense, the Broncos made it all the way to the Super Bowl. In this offseason, they have seen their defense as a major weakness and have been spending early in free agency to improve it.
Clearly the secondary was a major concern for the Broncos as they have spent heavily on it in free agency so far. The first signing they made was former Browns strong safety TJ Ward, who signed for an undisclosed amount. Aqib Talib was the big money signing for the AFC champs. They signed the former Patriots corner for $57 million over six years with $26 million guaranteed. Talib played outstanding defense against the Broncos in their regular season matchup against the Patriots when no Denver receiver gained over 50 yards in the game, but he was hurt early in the AFC championship game and was not able to play the second half as his Patriots lost to the Broncos 26-16. The Broncos recognized his cover abilities and opened up the checkbook in order to make sure they improved their previously mediocre secondary.
Defensive line improvements have also been a priority for the Broncos in this offseason. Two of the most productive pass rushers in the game, Jared Allen and DeMarcus Ware, have shown interest in joining them. Ware has stated that the Broncos are his top choice in free agency and Allen has made similar statements. Both players have been extremely productive and expect to be paid accordingly, but also want to join a team that has a chance at contending for a title. As both players get older they might find the free agency market more barren than expected and decide to sign for less, but only time will tell if that becomes a reality.
The Broncos have been spending a good deal of money early in this free agency period and are looking to spend more to improve their defense. In the NFL, the ultimate goal is the Super Bowl and the Denver Broncos came ever so close last season. If they expect to get back they will have to spend money on improving their defense. Improving the secondary was the first step and next is getting more help in the pass rush in order to try to win a championship next season.
Commentary by Max Petkevicius