HAVE TO DISAGREE about Julius and Demaryius: Can't trust Julius to remain healthy and that is a major factor in millions of dollars. Julius is a WR in reality, it is not true. also. bigger bodied, faster, TE are infiltrating football at mass amounts, but they all really serve as WR's. Demaryius lines up at every WR position and Latimore can be another big body to throw too. Peyton throws more and a possession type big body TE will serve just fine in this offense. Julius' ankles have given him problems since he was drafted. No way we risk the loss of one of the Top3 WR in the +NFL trusting those ankles Mr. Trapasso.We believe #GASE is the next GREAT Head Coach for the #Broncos. It's who we want, truthfully. Also suspect reasoning for departure of Fox— Broncos CR3W (@BRONCOSCR3W) January 15, 2015
By Chris Trapasso, www.cbssports.com
January 15th, 2015
Here is a direct note to the next +Denver Broncos head coach. It describes what he must do from the moment he's hired to keep Denver on top of its division and remain an AFC playoff contender.
1. Get Peyton Manning's cell number: John Elway has it. Don't send the legendary quarterback 20 pleading texts in five minutes like an ex-girlfriend while he mulls his future away from team facilities.
One succinct message will get the job done.
"Peyton, I want you on this team. I NEED you on this team" or something along those lines. Get your point across, but sprinkle in some humor. Let him know a second Super Bowl is attainable next season, and if he's fully healthy, he'll be an MVP candidate -- again -- at age 39. No doubt in your mind.
You've found yourself in a tremendous but unusual situation for a just-hired head coach. You're inheriting a club that won four-straight division titles and was in the Super Bowl a year ago. These type of jobs usually don't open. Clearly, there's not a talent issue.
But because of all that, a lofty standard has been set.
You got this though. Can't come in expecting a regression.
2. Bond with the front office: After carefully crafting your message to Manning, your next order of business is to grab a Coors Original with Elway, Director of Player Personnel Matt Russell and Director of Pro Personnel Tom Heckert. The latter is an underrated cog in Denver's front office, by the way. Just make sure to take a cab.
(Yes, Elway is a Coors guy through and through. Thought you should probably know that.)
Begin discussing the massive list of current Broncos who will hit free agency on March 10. Identify a few you all believe should be signed well before those players even get a chance to test the market.
I'll help with this.
Get Orlando Franklin done. If he waits until March 10 without a new deal from Denver, he'll probably bolt to greener pastures, and by "greener" I mean pastures with more money. A young powerful offensive guard who has played tackle in the past and played it well will be held in high regard by many teams looking for improvement up front.
Linebacker Brandon Marshall, who enjoyed a breakout season in 2014 and is just 25, needs to be re-signed. He plays the ever-important weakside linebacker position and only DeAndre Levy, Von Miller and Khalil Mackwere given higher overall grades by Pro Football Focus at the 4-3 outside linebacker spot. Make it known you want him back, even if the team has to pay a bit "extra" to keep him in town.
After somewhat of a down season, Marshall's linebacker buddy, Nate Irving, should be offered a new deal too. He's only 26, and at worst, he'll serve as solid Danny Trevathan insurance in the future. Should be relatively cheap. Make Steven Johnson priority No. 3 in this pecking order.
Obviously, if upper management can't re-sign all three linebackers, the world won't end. Lamin Barrow and Corey Nelson, picks in the 2014 draft, are athletic youngsters waiting for their shot. Remember though, linebackers are key to a sound run defense, and Denver allowed fewer than 4.0 yards per carry in each of the last three years. Impressive.
Wes Welker, Rahim Moore, Terrance Knighton, Jacob Tamme, Will Montgomery and Quinton Carter are goners, although Montgomery will be tough to lose.
Mention you'd like to see backup tight end Virgil Green back on an inexpensive deal as well.
Reach for your wallet to pay for the beers, but you probably won't need to -- I doubt Elway ever pays for a beer in Denver, especially not Coors.
3. Thomas situation: Oh, yeah...you have two other monster free agents -- Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas. Don't hurry to make a rash decision here, and I suggest consulting with Manning before anything is settled.
However, I will say you should ink Julius instead of Demaryius if that's what it comes down to, and being able to sign both to huge contracts isn't likely.
Sure, after a "sub-par" campaign from Julius -- that, mind you, featured 12 touchdown catches -- the fans and media won't like your team prioritizing the tight end over the receiver, especially because Demaryius has pieced together one of the most outrageous three-year spans in NFL history.
He had over 90 catches, 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2012, 2013 and 2014. That's Jerry Rice caliber. No, seriously. Rice and Marvin Harrison are the only other receivers to ever eclipse those marks in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns in three-straight seasons.
Due to those consistent figures, Demaryius has an insane amount of leverage -- Julius doesn't -- and frankly, the former Georgia Tech pass-catcher probably deserves a gargantuan deal.
But, I'll let Sports Illustrated's Aaron Nagler explain an astute philosophy to live by in regard to free agency:
A reminder as we head into the offseason: The best extensions/signings are the ones that do not reward players for what they've already done — Aaron Nagler (@AaronNagler) January 14, 2015
Thomas has size and speed and proved to be a legitimate No. 1 receiver, but it's much harder to find a Julius-type tight end than it is to find a Demaryius-type wideout, and this year's receiver draft class is strong.
Don't forget about last year's second-round pick, 6-2, 220-pound pass-catcher Cody Latimer. He basically redshirted as a rookie.
When Julius is healthy this upcoming season, averaging a touchdown per game, you'll be happy you made him the top priority.
Lastly, just in case Peyton doesn't come back, you'll want to get a list together of the draft-eligible quarterbacks, free-agent quarterbacks and schedule a film session meet-and-greet with Brock Osweiler.
You have plenty of work to do, but be glad you're the head coach of such a talented squad in the AFC West.