Offseason Forecast: Denver Broncos


With the offseason officially underway, Around the League will examine what's next for all 32 teams. The series continues with the Denver Broncos.

What's changing

With the offseason officially under way, Around the League will examine what's next for all 32 teams.

AFC East
» Bills | Dolphins | Jets | Patriots
AFC North
» Bengals | Browns | Ravens | Steelers
AFC South
» Colts | Jaguars | Texans | Titans
AFC West
» Broncos | Chargers | Chiefs | Raiders
NFC East
» Cowboys | Eagles | Giants | Redskins
NFC North
» Bears | Lions | Packers | Vikings
NFC South
» Buccaneers | Falcons | Panthers | Saints
NFC West
» Cardinals | Niners | Rams | Seahawks

Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, who enjoyed success with disparate signal-callers Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning, left for the San Diego Chargers' head coaching job. Quarterbacks coach Adam Gase, an eight-year NFL assistant, was promoted in his stead. While the offensive personnel should return largely intact, Jack Del Rio's defense will have decisions to make on several key players.

Biggest free agents

» DTs Justin Bannan / Kevin Vickerson: The starters at right and left defensive tackle, Bannan and Vickerson were key performers in a front-seven that led the league against the run in the final three months of the season.

» WR Brandon Stokley: Although there's speculation that the Broncos will look to upgrade their wide receiver depth, Stokley is coming off a fine comeback season in the slot. His chemistry with Manning was especially obvious in the red zone.

Other key free agents: LB Keith Brooking, CB Tracy Porter, S Jim Leonhard, C Dan Koppen

What they need

Take a look at the best photos from the Denver Broncos’ 2012 season.

Reinforcements for the secondary will be the talk of the offseason after the blown coverages in the season-ending playoff loss, but the Broncos boast one of the better cornerback trios in football to go with a solid safety tandem. The defensive priority should be tackle, with Henry Melton and Richard Seymour as the best on the market.

Denver will also need an infusion of youth on the interior of the offensive line and at linebacker. Head coach John Fox reportedly wants to add size at running back with Willis McGahee entering his age-32 season.

Offseason crystal ball

As a Super Bowl favorite, the Broncos will be connected to big-name players such as Darrelle Revis but the priority will be addressing players already on the roster. Left tackle Ryan Clady will be back after getting the franchise tag, but pass rusher Elvis Dumervil will have to restructure a $13.623 million cap figure after a disappointing season. Linebacker D.J. Williams is likely a goner with a $7.732 million cap hit, though cornerback Champ Bailey is expected to be safe at $10 million. Outside of defensive tackle, the majority of the needs will likely be filled via the draft.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.