Free Agency  

 

AFC West free agency needs: Broncos could use Steven Jackson

With free agency set to kick off at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 12, Elliot Harrison identifies needs for all 32 teams over eight divisional primers. You'll find the outlook for each AFC West team below, but click here to examine other divisions.

Send your own thoughts on free agency to Elliot Harrison on Twitter @Harrison_NFL.

Denver Broncos

Top priority in free agency: Defensive tackle.
Other areas of interest: Cornerback, offensive line, running back.
Potential fits: DT Kevin Vickerson, DT Terrance Knighton, DL Richard Seymour, DL Mike DeVito, CB Derek Cox, CB Tracy Porter, RB Steven Jackson, RB Shonn Greene, RB Michael Turner.

Head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio know they need able bodies up front. The club will try to re-sign Kevin Vickerson, then potentially look to the 2013 NFL Draft. Nonetheless, they need a plugger in the middle and will at least investigate some of the free agents before turning to April's fresh crop of prospects. While there are some quality DTs in this year's draft class, bear in mind that free agent Terrance Knighton played under Del Rio at Jacksonville. In a similar vein, one wonders if this club would give David Garrard a look. Fox and executive vice president John Elway seem content with Brock Osweiler's development, but what would happen to this title contender with a prolonged absence from Peyton Manning? Elway himself went down in 1998, missing four games. Veteran Bubby Brister stepped in and went four up, zero down. Could Osweiler do the same? That said, the feeling here is that cornerback, O-line depth and running back are more important needs. The Broncos could use a thumper like Steven Jackson or Michael Turner to pair with Knowshon Moreno and scat back Ronnie Hillman. Ahmad Bradshaw is probably the best RB available, but what would he provide that Moreno doesn't?

Kansas City Chiefs

Top priority in free agency: Defensive back.
Other areas of interest: Defensive end, wide receiver, inside linebacker.
Potential fits: CB Sean Smith, CB Keenan Lewis, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, S Dashon Goldson, S Ed Reed, DL Chris Canty, DL Cullen Jenkins.

The Chiefs need help in the secondary. That could mean getting a quality guy to line up opposite Brandon Flowers, or acquiring a big-time free safety to pair with Eric Berry. Ed Reed would be such a cool addition to this team, giving the entire unit leadership and providing Berry with a mentor. (Berry is easily one of the most talented guys on the team, if not the most talented.) Dashon Goldson will probably cost too much, and the thinking here is that money will be spent on cornerback. Of course, the Chiefs have the first overall pick in April's draft. If they don't take left tackle Luke Joeckel, could they shock everybody and select Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner? Probably not, especially considering right tackle Eric Winston was just released. Still, imagine the oohs and ahhs if Roger Goodell were to make that announcement, as well as the potential of having Flowers and Milliner in tandem. Look out. Meanwhile, investigating defensive ends in the marketplace wouldn't be a bad idea, even if there are several quality options coming out of the college ranks. Any receiver help would be a small investment, although the draft is the likely source on that front.

Oakland Raiders

Top priority in free agency: Defensive back.
Other areas of interest: Defensive end, defensive tackle, linebacker.
Potential fits: CB Leodis McKelvin, CB Greg Toler, CB Marcus Trufant, DE Jason Jones, DL Cullen Jenkins, DT Terrance Knighton.

The names up there might not blow you away, but the harsh reality of this situation is that the Raiders don't have much in the way of cap space. If both Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly are gone (Kelly is a prime cap-casualty candidate), then Oakland will find itself without a middle of a defensive line. In other words, they'll be the New Orleans Saints ... without the offense. Then there's the secondary, where safety Michael Huff took a few steps down and out to play corner (because the Raiders' CBs were so down-and-out they needed the help). A cheap alternative -- like, say, Marcus Trufant -- might be the way to go here. Oakland could use linebackers. Oh, and we didn't even get to the quarterback position. Doesn't matter -- there's no available free agent who can play with Carson Palmer.

San Diego Chargers

Top priority in free agency: Guard.
Other areas of interest: Safety, nose tackle, running back.
Potential fits: OG Louis Vasquez, OG Andy Levitre, S William Moore, NT Isaac Sopoaga, NT Aubrayo Franklin, RB Shonn Greene.

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Offensive tackle is certainly a need, but it's one the organization is likely to hit in the draft. On another note, why didn't San Diego make a move for George Wilson before he signed with the Tennessee Titans? The former Buffalo Bills strong safety could've paired with Eric Weddle to make a heckuva veteran tandem in San Diego. With Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer throwing the ball all over the park, and Wilson's ability to step and tackle, the move would've made sense. So would William Moore, who actually is still out lurking out there without a gig. Re-upping Corey Lynch wouldn't be the worst idea. It's either that, or see what they have in Brandon Taylor, a third-round pick last year. So that's safety. To shoot you straight, though, guard is the No. 1 priority for this ballclub. New general manager Tom Telesco (say that name three times fast) must attempt to get Louis Vasquez back in a Charger uniform. He's an effective offensive lineman who will probably command a decent dollar amount on the open market. On a more interesting note, grabbing a guy like Shonn Greene sure would give Ryan Mathews a kick in the arse, wouldn't it?

Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @Harrison_NFL.

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