The Denver Broncos continued their free agent shopping spree by signing center Will Montgomery to a one-year deal on Tuesday, April 1. The former Redskin fortifies the Broncos offensive line and replaces the void left by Zane Beadles, who signed a large contract with Jacksonville when the free agency began.
The addition of Montgomery will shake up the Broncos’ offensive line much like last year. A slew of injuries forced Denver to place certain lineman into positions of unfamiliarity, which ended up paying off in the regular season as the Broncos allowed a league-low 20 sacks. One of those key transitions was forced upon Manny Ramirez who moved from guard to center; and for the exception of the Super Bowl, Ramirez performed very well as if he’d been a center his whole life. Ramirez is expected to move back to guard alongside Louis Vasquez with Orlando Franklin and Ryan Clady as the starting tackles.
Montgomery has played in the NFL for nine seasons and was originally drafted by Broncos head coach John Fox when he was with the Carolina Panthers in 2006. The 31-year-old didn’t start many games until his last three full seasons with the Redskins, blocking for Robert Griffin III in his stellar rookie season. Montgomery has also started multiple games as a right and left guard, adding to the versatility of Denver’s offensive line.
Without a doubt, the Denver Broncos have made the biggest splash in the free agent market since signings began on March 11. With a disappointing Super Bowl loss still looming, the Broncos began revamping their defense by signing T.J. Ward, Aqib Talib and DaMarcus Ware in the first 24 hours of free agency. As wide receiver Eric Decker received his big payday with the New York Jets, the Broncos signed Emmanuel Sanders, a receiver of equivalent capability to compliment the Broncos’ high-octane offense.
Montgomery fills out the depth chart for the Broncos’ offensive line needs, Denver now looks to the draft to replace those lost in free agency. It is most likely that the Broncos will take a middle linebacker with the 31st pick in May’s draft since Wesley Woodyard signed with the Tennessee Titans. With Knowshon Moreno in Miami, Denver’s starting running back nod goes to Montee Ball for the time being. Although Talib was signed to a 6-year contract and Chris Harris Jr. signed his restricted free agent tender yesterday, don’t be surprised if the Broncos select another cornerback in the draft.
The aggressiveness in the early stages of the 2014 season show that the Broncos hope to not only get back to the Super Bowl, but win it. Still recovering from a disappointing performance against the Seahawks, Broncos fans can rest easy knowing that John Elway and the Broncos’ brass want another Lombardi trophy sooner rather than later.