This is armchair GM-ing at its best, and worst, and most subjective. If the money and cap space is there, which players should the Broncos target in free agency?
Here are five to watch. The Broncos can’t sign them all — or even more than one, probably — but what’s a wish list without wishing?
—Michael Bennett, DE, Seattle: Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and and Earl Thomas earned more praise, but none were more important to the Super Bowl champs than Bennett (above). The Broncos made it their focus on offense to contain him — and he still proved dominant at MetLife Stadium. He’s a loudmouth who adds an edge.
—Donte Whitner, S, San Francisco: Hard to imagine the 49ers losing their hard-hitting safety after a season in which their hard-hitting rival, Seattle, won the Super Bowl. San Francisco even is restructuring contracts to make room for Whitner. But in a perfectly orange world, he’s the fearless thumper missing from the Broncos defense.
—Malcolm Jenkins, S, New Orleans: See above.
—Eric Decker, WR, Denver: This is the most polarizing of the Broncos’ own free agents. Is he a product of the system (and Peyton Manning) or a legitimate Pro Bowl talent? I would keep him. (So would the soccer mom in Section 317 who screams like a Belieber when he’s shown on the Jumbotron.) Wideouts with 172 catches in two seasons aren’t easy to come by. Manning’s teams in Indy made it a practice to pay his wide receivers, while filling in the gaps elsewhere. I don’t expect the Broncos will emulate that approach, and Decker probably will be playing elsewhere in 2014. That Riley Cooper, a less-productive receiver, got $25 million from the Eagles doesn’t bode well for the Broncos’ chances of re-signing this hunk of a heartthrob.
—Lamarr Houston, DE, Oakland: Doherty High School, here’s your keynote speaker for graduation in May. Bring him home, Broncos. Stick him opposite Von Miller. Free Lamarr… from Raiders tyranny.