The times, they are a-changin’.
So are the players for the Denver Broncos.
Denver’s defense was near dominant last season – they led the NFL in sacks and forced 24 turnovers – but the unit will look different next season.
Tracy Porter, the veteran cornerback that the Broncos signed last offseason to a one-year deal, is all but gone. Porter disappointed in Denver; he started strong but then health problems of a seizure and concussion left him sidelined for much of the season.
His value diminished further when second-year men Chris Harris and Tony Carter stepped into the starting and nickel corner roles respectively, each shining brightly on big plays.
Another veteran, D.J. Williams, will almost certainly be cut or traded, if there’s a market for him. Williams has never lived up to the first round pick Denver spent on him in 2004, and though he’s played decently the last 10 years, his stay in the Mile High City seems over.
Williams not only has diminished on the field, but his numerous off-the-field troubles – like the multiple DUIs and a cheated drug test – kept him on the sideline for most of last season. With Williams due $8 million this year, the Broncos will look to use that money elsewhere. Of course, if they cut him, they will still have to spend $2 million in guaranteed salary, making a trade more appealing.
There are some big-name free agent linebackers including Philip Wheeler, Scott Fujita and many others, or the Broncos could let a young guy like Danny Trevathan have a shot. Another option would be to draft a linebacker for a third straight year.
As of now, everything is up in the thin air, and moves will be made very soon.
One of those moves could be cutting Elvis Dumervil, if he won’t restructure his contract.
And NFL Free Agency begins on March 12.