John Elway has quietly put together a strong free agency. From securing a trade for A.J. Bouye in early March to trading a 7th round pick for pro-bowler Jurrell Casey, Elway and Co. have been making what appear to be all the right moves.
The first domino to fall for the 2020 Broncos was securing A.J. Bouye from Jacksonville. The 28 year old corner back will be tasked with big shoes to fill as he’ll be the replacement for future Ring of Famer Chris Harris Jr., who just inked his new deal with the Chargers. Denver traded a 4th round pick for A.J., a 2017 pro-bowler with 43 starts in the last three years with Jacksonville and 14 career interceptions. A third-round pick accompanied A.J. to Denver. Possibly the best looking part of this trade is what it means money wise to the Broncos. A.J. had a reasonable contract to take on, roughly $13.5 million a year for the next two years and, if he doesn’t work out, Broncos can cut him with no dead money. Bouye is a low-risk, high-reward guy and I look forward to seeing him in orange and blue.
The next big get for Mr. Elway was Graham Glasgow, a 27 year old, 6’6″, 310 pound right guard/center and former Detroit Lion. One of the more appealing things about Glasgow is his ability to play both at the right guard position or at center. In 2019, he played 798 snaps at right guard and 74 at center and a PFF Grade of 74.1. The hope is for Glasgow to take over at center as we just lost Connor McGovern to the Jets. This move signifies that the Broncos do have faith in their young gunslinger, building a line to protect him and, it will also help to open up lanes and improve the run game. The Broncos signed Graham to 4 years at $44 million and $26 million guaranteed.
Back on the defensive side of the ball, Elway snagged Jurrell Casey, a 5-time pro-bowler over the last five years for just a 7th round pick from the Tennessee Titans. The veteran defensive tackle is a huge get for Denver. Casey started 14 games last season for the Titans, amassing five sacks on 21 quarter back pressures. The big-boy defensive tackle has at least five sacks in the last five seasons. He’s a bonafide rush stopper and can disrupt the passing game. Denver took over his three year contract but in 2020 Casey will be getting $11.25 million. If after one year the Broncos decide to cut Casey, the dead money would be a hit on Tennessee. Elway and the Broncos originally had eyes on D.J. Reader, but the Bengals were willing to part with $13 million plus a year for him and Denver got a play maker on a low-risk contract for only a 7th round pick. Another win for John Elway.
Least exciting, but necessary on the Broncos list of off-season needs was a backup quarterback and getting rid of Joe Flacco. Broncos were able to waive Flacco after a failed physical, paying him $13.6 million in dead money and netting $10.05 million to their cap space for 2020. Denver signed Jeff Driskel to be their back up quarterback. Another move indicating that the Broncos staff believe they have their guy with Drew Lock. He won’t be looking over his shoulder and that should do well to fuel his confidence. Driskel is a 26 year old, 6’4″, 235 pound quarterback. Not shocking that Elway went after a big bodied QB. Driskel has seen the field 12 times as an NFL quarterback, five of which were starts and has a quarter back rating of 79.6. He makes for a solid back-up if we lose Drew for a game or two, and was another cost efficient signing for the Broncos in this free agency.
So far, I like what Elway and his counterparts have done. They’ve filled big needs and that allows for the Broncos to focus on the offensive side of the ball, specifically a wide receiver, as they head into the 2020 Draft.
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