Last season, the Denver Broncos kept six (wow) cornerbacks on the 53 man roster, and in return, we finished fifteenth against passing TD’s. The contracts and stats for the cornerbacks indicate there is a showdown coming because someone is getting the boot as six it too many…
First up, let’s look at Chris Harris, Jr. Not only did Elway pick up his option, but gave him a raise. That’s a rare occurrence in the NFL. As the only returning starter, and among the best at his position, I’d say he’s 100% safe this season.
I’m including his stats to show his dominance. What’s interesting to note is that by playing more slot, his QB hurries jumped, same for his stuffs. Makes one wonder how Su’a Cravens will change things for CHJ. The drop in tackles I believe is due to Domata Peko, his presence in the middle really helped the corners not have to tackle other positions as much.
Bradley Roby is truly in a show me, year. If he’s going to be THE outside CB1 (which commands around 12M a season), then he needs to ball out early in Training Camp and into the preseason. Tramaine Brock was brought in either to push him or as security, either way, Roby must make it no competition.
17 passes defended is among the tops in the league for DB’s, keeping this number up there, but not allowing TD’s, will be key. The question with Roby is, is he worth 12Mish or can Brendan Langley (or Brock) step up? His future may be tied to Case Keenum. If the quarterback can be why the offense wins games and not a neutral entity, then Roby will want to stay and may be kind in contract negotiations. If the offense looks as it has for the last three years, not holding my breath he stays without demanding a Brinks truck.
Ultimately, John Elway and Mike Sullivan may be at the mercy of Brock and Langley because if neither is a viable replacement, they will be forced to pony up.
Tramaine Brock is a curious addition for his price. If he’s cut, he leaves 3M in dead money. If he’s traded, he leaves 1M in dead money and 2M cap space.
So far, this off season, he’s yet to set the world on fire. To me, this was the most puzzling signing unless they hope he can be what Vance Joseph saw in him when he was the DB coach in SF. Last season, he only played 51 defensive snaps. To be fair, he was signed the week before the season started and didn’t have much time to learn the playbook or practice. John Lynch (as new GM in SF) released him when his girlfriend alleged he punched her in the face. When she didn’t cooperate with the police, charges were dropped and the NFL cleared him, but not before he was bounced around.
Can he play up to his 2015 and 16 numbers given an entire off season to learn and practice? That’s the $3M dollar question. If so, it could save Denver millions if he replaces Roby.
While Brock was a puzzling signing, Brendan Langley was a puzzling draft pick for many. His limited playing last season lead many to say, told you so. As I’ve written, playing cover as a rookie is difficult, few do it well, which is why Joseph never threw him under the bus, just said he needed more experience. Which is true. How will he get that experience unless he’s used in nickel and dime packages? If that’s the case, where will Su’a Cravens and Brock fit in? Let alone the myriad of safeties Denver has?
39th highest paid out of 165 CB’s. He needs to step up in his sophomore season, being inactive (3 games) can’t be repeated. Especially when an undrafted CB passed you by and you let Miami look good. I’m including Special Teams because that’s where he predominantly played. As a third round draft and little playing time, I say he’s got this year to prove himself, I hope he does, his height and draft spot no one wants to see wasted.
|PUNT RETURN||KICK RETURN|
The CB who did better than Langley was Marcos Rios. This cat is in a good position for himself because he either makes the 53 (doubtful) or he’s put on waivers and picked up elsewhere for more money because at the minimum he’d be paid for three games. If you want to know about waivers and what happens when a player is cut, read here.
Rios did pretty well in his few games, maybe he had little to lose so he played loose or maybe he’s the real deal. Either way, TC and Pre-Season is going to be crucial, not just for him, but the Broncos because they’ll be faced with a real dilemma: lose him or cut another. I’d say maybe a safety could go, but that group also has some big questions plus, the DL is where more depth is needed.
This brings us to Michael Hunter. Don’t be ashamed if you thought, who? He was part of the 2017 final 53 man roster, he was promoted off the practice squad and made inactive for the last two games on the season. Odd to use a sixth CB when he didn’t see any playing time, but he is under contract, so I’m including him. The coaches must think something is there. Odds are, he’s back to the PS.
Denver drafted Isaac Yiadom, who is going to make all the bubble guys squirm. How he does, could create a domino effect that affects the entire defense. This is one group I’m really curious to see how it plays out.