2016 Denver Broncos Offseason Positional Needs
How do you build on a Super Bowl-winning season? Simple. You go out and try and do it again. You may say that, come draft night, the Denver Broncos will begin the climb to re-building the roster. However, it starts much sooner than that with roster decisions as the squad approaches free agency. Here are Denver's biggest needs heading into the offseason.
1. Defensive End
Although Denver locked Derek Wolfe up to a long-term deal during the season, there still remains the question of Malik Jackson. Jackson, coming off a career year in which he made just $1,595,403, will likely look for a payday on the open market. Don't overlook the fumble recovery touchdown to open the Super Bowl; Jackson was a consistent force in the Wade Phillips 3-4 defense. He was disruptive against the pass and run alike, despite his 5 15-yard penalties on the season. Also hitting the street from the Mile High City is rotational lineman Antonio Smith. At 34, coming off a one-year deal, Smith is unlikely to generate much interest and is likely to return based simply on familiarity with the Phillips defense.
2. Inside Linebacker
It's obviously problematic to see the top three players on the depth chart at the ILB position (Danny Trevathan, Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis) all pending free agents. However, youngster Davis is an Exclusive Rights Free Agent, all but guaranteeing his return. Marshall's Restricted Free Agent status means it's unlikely any team will peel him away. The real kicker here, though, is Trevathan. Like Jackson, he will probably seek his fortunes on the open market, and considering his abilities for a Super Bowl winning defense, will likely get paid. Even though there are ostensibly greater holes here, there are also better backup plans for Denver.
3. Offensive Tackle
Let's face it: Ryan Harris and Michael Schofield should not have been the starters for an NFL team, much less a ring-winning franchise. Although starters Ryan Clady and Ty Sambrailo will be returning from injury, money and inexperience are the respective factors that may limit them. Denver needs an infusion of talent to protect either young QB Osweiler or Peyton Manning, should he shock the world and return. In addition, it's no secret how much Gary Kubiak likes his offensive linemen. He'll want to build a solid zone blocking corps up front.
Written by the Pro Football Spot Denver Broncos Staff. Follow us on Twitter: @spot_broncos