The last season the Broncos entered a season without Champ Bailey as the cornerstone in their secondary was 2003. The eight-time Pro Bowler in his 10 seasons with the Broncos, will be wearing a different uniform in 2014. Champ is arguably the best defensive back the Broncos ever had and possibly competition to former Bronco Randy Gradishar as the team's best defensive player in team history. Bailey was officially released Thursday.
It is obvious that the Broncos franchise decided to move forward with their Super Bowl hopes for 2014-15 season and they felt releasing the injury prone veteran cornerback is best. Where exactly do the Broncos go from here? They are left with so much uncertainty at the corner back position since breakout corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is also a free agent this off season. Rodgers-Cromartie replaced Bailey when he was out due to his foot injury and quickly became their best defensive back.
The franchise should start with re-signing Rodgers-Cromartie to a new contract. He played last season with a one-year contract worth $5 million It has been reported he is expected to command a multi year contract that averages $6 million to $7 million per season. After a season where he
The other top cornerback on the roster is Chris Harris, a nickel back by trade who took Bailey's place at one outside corner slot last season, is a restricted free agent who is coming off knee surgery to repair a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament. He could possibly also looking for a bigger contract elsewhere.
With veterans Quentin Jammer and Marquice Cole also becoming free agents, and Tony Carter struggling in Harris' and Bailey's absence they are not currently in a great position especially since they already possessed one of the worst pass defenses in the league last season.
Other than trying to keep the guys that have the most important task to complete on their "to do list", the Broncos should look at the available free agent cornerbacks and also safeties. Some of the top cornerbacks in this year's free agency crop include; Aqib Talib, Sam Shields, Alterraun Verner, Vontae Davis and Tarell Brown are all considered the best available among the outside corners.
In this year's NFL Draft there is a lot of defensive backs who are capable of making an impact early and often on Sunday's in the NFL. Since the Broncos don't pick until late in the first round, obviously the top cornerbacks and safeties will be gone, but there will stay be some good ones available so don't be shocked if they take a defensive back in the first round it is without a doubt their biggest need this off-season. Here are a few names that Denver will be looking at with their first round pick including; Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller, Ohio State's Bradley Roby and Florida State's Lamarcus Joyner are cornerbacks who might be worth taking with the No. 31 pick, where the Broncos are slotted in the first round.
Since the Broncos are in such bad position at the defensive back position, they will be looking at many different scenarios to hopefully improve their pass defense. After their disappointing Super Bowl performance basically letting Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson throw all over the field successfully they will look to change that. If they can indeed improve their defensive backs they may be able to overcome their terrible performance in the Super Bowl and make another run in the 2014-15 season.
Written By: Dedrick Hendrix
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