With the 2020 NFL Draft concluded, undrafted free agents signed and a couple of younger players waived, the Denver Broncos are close to a full 90-man roster. With the exception of Tuesday morning's news of the Broncos signing DL Christian Covington to a one-year deal, the team could be finished tinkering with the roster as it looks to move forward with the offseason program, limited as it may be.
However, the Broncos could still keep an eye on a few unrestricted free agents. There are plenty of veterans with starting experience who remain on the market.
The Broncos will have about $12 million in cap space once all draft picks are signed (keep in mind that draft pick cap hits aren't yet accounted for and the top-51 cutoff means the space for draft picks won't equal the cap space they'll consume), so Denver still has the flexibility to add a cheap free agent or two.
The Broncos won't look at free agents at every position, though. On offense, the Broncos are set at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end and interior offensive line. On defense, the Broncos are likely set with interior defenders, edge rushers and safeties.
That leaves offensive tackle, off-ball linebacker and cornerback as the positions at which the Broncos might consider a free agent. In these cases, they either need to improve depth or have a reliable veteran around in case somebody isn't healthy or struggles.
Let's consider each of these positions and who would be the best option among free agents.
Most fans want to bench left tackle Garett Bolles, but all indicators are the Broncos will want him to compete for the job, as a means of lighting a fire under him to improve as a player. There are concerns about the health of right tackle Ja'Wuan James and whether or not Elijah Wilkinson, who took most of the snaps at right tackle last season, is good enough to be the swing tackle or if he's better off at guard.
All of this means that any OT the Broncos bring in is going to be there to compete for a job, not somebody to be locked in as a starter. Knowing this, we can probably rule out Jason Peters, who is most likely holding out hope to get a starting job somewhere in the NFL.
Not only is Peters likely to want to start, he's likely seeking to approach the money that Andrew Whitworth got from the Rams, which was $12.5M in full guarantees over two years of his three-year deal. Peters probably won't get a multi-year deal, but he could push to get as much fully guaranteed money as possible, unless he joins a team he thinks can reach the Super Bowl.
Given that the Broncos aren't going to be picked to head to the Super Bowl, even if they should be an improved team, fans might be wise to scratch Peters from their list.
There are two more likely options out there than Peters, even if these options aren't as talented. The first is Cameron Erving, who has spent most of his career as a swing tackle, but has experience at guard, too. Erving's ability to play multiple positions could be useful, and because he's been a depth player most of his career, he would be a cheap option.
The other player to consider is Kelvin Beachum, who might be the best option for the Broncos at this point. Beachum has multiple years of starting experience at left tackle, but has played right tackle for a few games. He wouldn't command the money that Peters may seek, nor is he at a stage in his career in which he can insist on a starting job right out the gates.
Finally, Beachum spent two years working with Mike Munchak when the two were with the Steelers. Beachum's experience with Munchak means he'd know what to expect from the blocking scheme. He's my pick for the OT the Broncos should consider adding before training camp.
With Bryce Callahan's health in question, the Broncos only have A.J. Bouye as a cornerback with extensive experience. Players such as Isaac Yiadom and De'Vante Bausby have shown promise at times, but Bausby has his own health concerns and Yiadom has been inconsistent. So getting a veteran cornerback could help a lot.
There are quite a few veterans still on the open market. I suspect some of them won't take long to find teams now that the draft is over and prices should come down.
Brandon Carr was cut by the Ravens earlier this year and would bring a veteran presence, but he's 34 years old and his best years are behind him. I think there are better options than him.
Logan Ryan is another player that comes to mind, but his 2019 numbers aren't as good as they first appear. He is an inconsistent player and has issues with missed tackles, something that Vic Fangio doesn't tolerate with DBs. So Broncos fans should scratch Ryan from their lists.
Cyrus Jones, who the Broncos claimed off waivers late last season, is still on the open market, so he could be brought back for cheap. The problem with Jones is that he hasn't played a lot of snaps in his career, so he's not somebody to sign if you want an experienced player.
Darqueze Dennard remains unsigned and could fill the Broncos need for a slot corner. I think he would make sense to sign to a one-year deal and provide additional experience. He could also get a chance to prove himself worthy of keeping for a longer period of time.
However, the name Broncos fans keep going back to is Prince Amukamura and for good reason. He has played a lot of snaps throughout his career and he is familiar with Fangio's scheme. By this point, his price should have come down a lot, so he makes the most sense among free-agent cornerbacks.
The Broncos are set with Todd Davis and Alexander Johnson as the starters, but they could use some help with depth. Justin Strnad, a 2020 fifth-round pick, is recovering from an injury and might not be ready to go for training camp while other players the Broncos have for depth aren't necessarily the best guys for Fangio's scheme.
There are a few off-ball linebackers available who people will recognize. Alec Ogletree and Mark Barron are two of the more notable names. However, Ogletree has struggled throughout his career with coverage, so he's somebody I rule out quickly. Barron, who was converted from safety, sounds like he'd be a good fit, but he's struggled a fair amount of late and the Broncos should be able to do better.
I considered Nigel Bradham, whom the Philadelphia Eagles cut earlier this year. Bradham has been solid for most of his career, though never a top player. He's at the stage of his career in which he'd have to compete for a job, so he makes sense to add for depth.
But the Broncos may be better off going with a younger player who is looking to prove himself. Though Darron Lee struggled with the Chiefs last season and seldom took the field, he's just 26 years old and there's a chance he could revive his career. I'd lean toward adding him with the hopes that he can bounce back.