The Denver Broncos are one of the most interesting teams in the NFL this time of the year. With Aaron Rodgers rumored to Denver for the last nine months, now is the time to see whether or not the NFL MVP leaves the Green Bay Packers.
But the Broncos can’t wait around too long for Rodgers, especially with free agency around the corner. As recent reports have dropped, it looks more and more likely that Rodgers is staying in Green Bay, meaning the Broncos have to pivot and find another signal-caller.
With that assumption, let’s explore four players the Broncos need to target in free agency, ranked by the most needed for new head coach Nathaniel Hackett.
4. Melvin Gordon, Running back
Broncos general manager George Paton stunned everybody by acknowledging that he wants Melvin Gordon back. But that shouldn’t have been a surprise.
Javonte Williams is a star just waiting for the bulk of the workload, but Gordon back in Denver makes sense. The RB duo clicked and worked well this past season, and it should work again with Hackett’s system in place.
The Packers enjoyed success with Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon last year, so Hackett could very well implement that same strategy with these two backs in Denver. The price would be pretty cost-efficient, and this is added insurance just in case Williams suffers an injury or vice versa.
3. Ryan Jensen, Center
Ryan Jensen is one of the more interesting cases in free agency. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers center made the Pro Bowl, and the Bucs just watched Ali Marpet shock everybody by retiring at just 28 years old. Now, the Bucs need Jensen back more than ever, but he is easily one of the best offensive line players on the market.
The Broncos need to protect their quarterback — whoever it is –, and Jensen would be a massive addition for Hackett and his group. The price will be costly, but the trenches are easily the most important in today’s NFL.
2. Marcus Mariota, QB
The Broncos’ dream of Rodgers heading to Denver is starting to fizzle out by the day. In turn, they need to start exploring elsewhere.
Yes, Marcus Mariota isn’t a superstar. Still, he should be a significant upgrade over Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock, and offensive coordinator Justin Outten wasn’t opposed to starting Lock in 2022.
That can’t happen, not unless Lock improves drastically. Mariota would be cheap and could give the Broncos a year bridge while their rookie QB from the 2021 NFL Draft (assuming they take one) learns the ways and develops without much pressure.
1. Jameis Winston, QB
Here is the No. 1 option for the Broncos, especially if Rodgers chooses to remain in Wisconsin. Winson is easily the best QB on the market this free agency, although the opportunities aren’t entirely exciting.
There is no secret anywhere that the Broncos quarterback issues are the main priority this offseason, and if they can add even an average QB, they could easily be a playoff squad in 2022.
The roster in Denver has a ton of weapons on offense, and adding Winston would be a big boost. The biggest concern here is his injury, although his latest workout videos have given everybody hope that he can be the starting QB that he was with the New Orleans Saints this past season.
The Broncos need to find a QB, even if it is just for one or two seasons. Unfortunately, the choices are limited.
Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference