We all knew the Broncos would need to sign a safety or two, but with the departure of Dre Bly, the cornerback position suddenly comes back into focus as well. If nothing else, they will need to pickup some depth. Good news is, there are a lot of corners on the market this year. Here are a few of them.
Nnamdi Asomugha – 28 – CB – Raiders
It is looking more and more like the Raiders will franchise this guy, so it seems silly to spend much time talking about him. He is, without question the number one corner in the league at the moment. The Raiders would be insane to let him get away….but as we all know, when you lookup insane in the dictionary, you are met with a picture of Al Davis.
Updated: Reports are he is close to a deal with the Raiders
Leigh Bodden – 27 – CB – Lions
Bodden was released by the Lions a week ago and is one of the more talented available corners in this free agency crop. He excelled as a press corner in his time with the Browns, and Chad Johnson even remarked that he was the toughest corner he had to play against. Then he was traded to the Lions where they proceeded to use him primarily in zone coverage. If the Broncos are looking for a press corner, Bodden could be a good solution. Unfortunately, he will probably be very expensive.
Kelvin Hayden – 26 – CB – Colts
Hayden is a young corner with some decent ball skills. He played wide receiver for a time in college and running back in high school, so you know he has some moves. He also happens to wear a Super Bowl ring from the Colts 2006 championship, so while he was young when they won, he does have an idea of what needs to be done to win a championship. Will be interesting to see if the Colts let him get away.
Update: Kelvin signed a 4 year deal with the Colts, avoiding the Franchise Tag
Domonique Foxworth – 26 – CB – Falcons
Amusing right? Why did the Broncos trade this guy away for a box full of autographed Quentin Griffin 8×10s? Foxworth came up big for the Falcons and has grown into a solid corner. If the Falcons re-sign him the Broncos need to give up a 6th round pick. Otherwise it is just the 7th rounder. So in theory the Broncos could get him back.
Ronald Bartell – 27 – CB – Rams
Another solid, young corner. On an awful Rams team, Bartell was one of the lone bright spots. At 6′1, 205 he has a solid build and decent size to deal with the larger wide receivers in the league today. He ran a 4.37 at the combine back in the day so he has decent speed as well. He has proven he can be effective in press and zone coverage. It’s is difficult to believe the Rams would let him get away.
Atogwe was given the franchise tag, so will be interesting to see what happens with Bartell.
Bryant McFadden – 27 – CB – Steelers
McFadden is a solid corner who had some injury issues last season (broke his arm). Having joined the Steelers back in 2005 he now has been on two Super Bowl winning teams. Given his age, and his ability, he is another one that I would assume the Steelers would try to resign. But given their issues with the offensive line free agents, they may not have the opportunity. They have come out and said they would like to get him signed before free agency begins. Given the Steelers run a 3-4, he would be a nice pickup for the Broncos.
Dunta Robinson – 27 – CB – Texans
Dunta is a solid corner, at one point looking like he would be one of the top corners in the game. However, injuries, including an ACL tear have plagued his career as of late. He is still young, is fast, and is a solid performer when healthy. At 5′10 and 184, he is on the smaller side of the corner spectrum, but he could be an interesting signing, assuming he was inexpensive. Big assumption there.
Phillip Buchanon – 28 – CB – Bucs
Early on in his career it, Buchanon was written off as a bust with the Raiders. He then toiled in Houston for a couple more years. Now, for some reason he has figured things out and became a solid corner for the Bucs. Raheem Morris? System? I do not know. I am not sold on bringing in a cover-2 style corner for the new 3-4 system. I think there are better options.
While not as deep as the cornerback pool, there are a number of safeties who could be plugged in and be effective immediately. One would have to assume the Broncos will also select a safety in the first few rounds who would step in a start immediately.
Jermaine Phillips – 30 – S – Bucs
Phillips has turned into one of the better safeties in the league over the past couple years. Unfortunately he was injured late in the 2008 season, but should make a full recovery. At 30, he is getting up there, but would be a solid addition to the Broncos.
James Sanders – 25 – S – Patriots
Sanders is an interesting player. He is young. He understands what McDaniels will be looking for. He should be able to step in immediately and contribute at one of the safety positions. I am sure if McD feels he can fit the Broncos new needs, he will push hard to sign the guy.
Sean Jones – 27 – S – Browns
An injury in 2008 hampered Jones’ progression, however he really started to show some flashes of being a solid safety in this league. He is still young and should be able to bounce back from his injury and get back to tearing things up in the league. At 6′1 – 220, he has always been known as a hard hitter.
O.J. Atogwe – 28 – S – Rams
There have been rumblings that Atogwe would be franchised by the Rams. He has racked up a number of interceptions over the past two seasons, but at the same time is a bit of a gambler. Risk/Reward right?
Update: Atogwe has been slapped with the Franchise tag
Jim Leonhard – 26 – S – Ravens
When Dawan Landry went down, Jim Leonhard stepped up his game and filled in well. Of course, this was on a team with an amazing front 7 and next to one of the best safeties in the league. Was it a flash in the pan? At 26, he has youth on his side and could be a decent plugin. Speculation is, however, that he will sign with his former defensive coordinator, Rex Ryan in New York.
Brian Dawkins – 35 – S – Eagles
Future Hall of Famer who still brings intensity and big hits to the field. His leadership alone is worth every penny he would be paid. While B-Dawk may only have another season or two in him, I would be excited to see him in Orange and Blue. That being said, it would be nice to see the guy play out his career in Philly.
Mike Brown – 31 – S – Bears
Mike Brown has shown flashed of brilliance…in those moments when he has been healthy. If he could stay healthy for more than a week, I would love to have him on any team. But, giving the guy a roster spot would certainly be a gamble. Only way I see him in Denver is with an incentive laden contract.
That concludes our Free Agency series on the defensive side of the ball. I think we will skip the offensive side as, while there may be some surprise signing, the Broncos really need to focus on filling out the defensive side of the ball.