[Photo: Rob Schwane/USA TODAY Sports]
The Denver Broncos appear to already be the clear winners of day one of free agency. Hours after numerous players went on the market at 4 p.m., the Broncos managed to nab former Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward. Then with less than an hour left before day two, Denver further bolstered their secondary with former New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib. Talib was also a Pro Bowler in 2013.
The Broncos came up short in this past season’s Super Bowl largely due to their defense and that’s exactly what they targeted within the first eight hours of free agency. Besides Ward and Talib, former Dallas Cowboy and seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end DeMarcus Ware is scheduled to visit with the Broncos in Denver. Lucky for Denver, they are the only team Ware is currently scheduled to meet with.
Ward and Talib will have a huge impact on the Broncos’ secondary as they struggled mightily against the pass in 2013. This past season, Denver gave up the sixth most pass yards per game with 254.4, the fourth most first downs through the air with 208 and the seventh most passing touchdowns with 29. Ware, if signed, will help against the pass as he will provide pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
The price for Ward and Talib has been hefty, however. Ward received a four-year, $23 million contract and Talib a six-year, $57 million contract. Combined, the pair of defensive backs will make $80 million. And this number may increase if the Broncos sign Ware which would most likely require another large deal.
So given these deals, the Broncos are looking at a lot of spent money, money that may not be used in re-signing wide receiver Eric Decker or running back Knowshon Moreno. Decker and Moreno had big seasons in 2013 with 0ver 1,000 yards receiving and 1,000 yards rushing respectively.
And on day one of free agency, Denver also re-signed wide receiver Andre Caldwell to a two-year, $3.45 million deal. Caldwell’s deal brings Denver’s total spending to $83.45 million, which could increase even more with the potential signing of Ware.