The Denver Broncos are the first team to report to training camp in 2019, with an abundance of newcomers checking in at the team’s Englewood headquarters Wednesday.
New faces: QB Joe Flacco, OT Ja’Wuan James, DB Kareem Jackson, CB Bryce Callahan, TE Noah Fant, G Dalton Risner, QB Drew Lock, DT Dre’Mont Jones, OLB Dekoda Watson
They’re gone: C Matt Paradis, CB Bradley Roby, OL Billy Turner, OLB Shaquil Barrett, OLB Shane Ray, LB Brandon Marshall, S Darian Stewart, OT Jared Veldheer, DT Domata Peko, TE Matt LaCosse, G Max Garcia, CB Tramaine Brock
Firing Vance Joseph meant admitting an error from two years ago, but the Broncos appear to have upgraded the staff. Not only did they get defensive whiz Vic Fangio — whom players raved about during offseason practices — but Fangio nabbed Kyle Shanahan-pupil Rich Scangarello to the run the offense and pried decorated O-line coach Mike Munchak from the Steelers. Still, GM John Elway’s approach felt a bit too aggressive in other areas.
He traded a fourth-round pick for Joe Flacco, whom the Ravens might have otherwise cut, and spent wildly on James (four years, $51 million) and Jackson (three years, $33 million), who might mostly play safety.
Jackson’s contract fueled a contract dispute with CB Chris Harris Jr. that required a $3 million raise to resolve. Callahan’s (three years, $21 million) was a more palatable deal, and Fangio should have what he needs in the secondary, but would the money have been better spent on Paradis and the O-line?
Elway used a few trades to assemble a strong draft class, getting early-impact players in Fant and Risner and still landing a possible answer at QB in Lock, but he might have been better off trading for Josh Rosen or drafting Dwayne Haskins. The third QB taken by Elway in the top two rounds, Lock must perform if Flacco struggles.
Worth the investment?
–Denver has an over/under win line of seven. In this AFC West, even getting to .500 is not a sure thing for this crew.
–More than 50 players have better odds than quarterback Joe Flacco (+15000) to win the 2019 NFL MVP award. Take those odds only if you are looking for a lotto ticket’s chance in the MVP field.
Denver could be improved on the coaching staff, at QB and in the secondary, but Elway might have to accept a rebuild at some point.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)