The Denver Broncos have 19 players set to hit free agency. Some of them are in need of a change of scenery. These players either failed to hold up to their end of the bargain, have too high of an asking price, are easily replaceable with a younger or cheaper option -- or simply do not fit the coaching schemes moving forward. Some of these players are more obvious than others, and are therefore easier for the organization to let go.
Does being on this list make these players terrible? By no means. These are all talented guys who simply no longer have a place with the Broncos moving forward.
With a new coaching staff, these players may not fit the scheme or philosophy, putting them one foot out the door. All the other factors likely lead these players to having both feet out the door and playing with a different team in 2015. So, let’s dive into these players and why they should be elsewhere next season.
Thomas is an athletic freak of a receiving tight end. His 24 touchdowns in two years is remarkable and not something you should turn your nose up at. The issues with him come down to his price range, inability to block, toughness and injury history.
Mile High Huddle recently reported that Thomas has priced himself out of the Broncos price range and they have moved on to finding a replacement. The price is undoubtedly the biggest reason Thomas will likely be playing for a different team next season.
On top of the asking price, Thomas is not a good blocking tight end. He is soft and lacks the technique to be effective. In the scheme that Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison will likely install in Denver, he would need to be more balanced and complete as a player, which he isn’t.
Thomas is a very good receiving tight end, especially in the redzone, but without the blocking to balance him out, it limits what he can do with any team. Couple that with him only playing 32 out of 64 possible regular season games in his four-year career and it leaves him on the list of players needing a change of scenery.
TE Jacob Tamme
Tamme lost effectiveness in the 2014 season after stepping up in a big way when injuries hit the Broncos late in the 2013 season. On the 2014 season, Tamme saw only 25% of the offense snaps and saw only more than 25% of offensive snaps in a game just five times.
He was ineffective as a receiver and as a blocker. The only area that Tamme did somewhat well was on special teams, but even that isn't saying much.
He lost snaps on offense simply due to his ineffectiveness. He was a receiving tight end who was unable to make any kind of impact on the snaps he did get as a receiver. As a blocker, his failures continued, and with the need of balanced tight ends for Kubiak's offense, Tamme doesn't fit in. With Tamme, it is not a question of price, however, there are younger or cheaper options that fit the scheme better moving forward.
WR Wes Welker
Welker did not have a great year in 2014, but he was better than most realize. He was repeatedly used to pull coverage from other receivers on crossing routes, and he did so with great effectiveness.
He also made some key catches when the Broncos offense was struggling to keep the chains moving. The biggest issue with Welker is his health. He has suffered multiple concussions throughout his career, and especially in his two years in Denver.
While Welker did make some key catches in 2014, he did little after the catch, which is where he made a name for himself in New England. He did have a great 2013 season with the Broncos, but was lost in the change in offensive style in 2014.
Moving forward under Kubiak, Welker would be lost even more, as Kubiak leans away from three wide receiver sets and more towards two wide receivers and either two running backs or two tight ends. Even when Kubiak does use three wide receiver sets, the Broncos have other players to utilize. Welker is the only player that should not be on a team in 2015, but instead head into retirement, before more concussions occur.
CB Tony Carter
If he got an increase in playing time, he may improve, but in Denver his time should be done. While he won’t cost a lot, he will cost more than he should for being No. 5 on the depth chart.
Carter is a restricted free agent, which helps his chances to return to the Broncos. With no defensive coordinator for the Broncos at this time, it is impossible to see how he fits the scheme.
So the biggest reason for not putting a restricted tender on Carter and letting him walk is money for his position on the depth chart. There are many options for the Broncos that are cheaper for the fifth man on the totum pole, both in free agency and in the later rounds of the draft.
When the Broncos drafted Moore, it was with the hope that he would become a centerfield, ball-hawking safety. Needless to say, he has not met those standards, with only eight interceptions in his four years, with a career high of four in the past season.
Four interceptions in a season is not bad, but it does not look good when two of them occur in week one, then zero until week eight and the final pick in week 15. Not only did Moore fail to develop into the ball-hawk safety that he was expected to be when drafted, he didn’t grow enough as a player all around.
Moore is a soft player in run defense who avoids contact, instead of meeting it head-on, attempting to make a play. Moore also has a knack of taking horrible angles on plays and they end up biting him in the end.
He is solid in coverage, but looks better than he is, due to the type of coverage he plays. He plays a lot of centerfield/zone coverage, which does not match him up on a receiver most of the time.
When Moore does match up on a receiver, especially in man coverage, the results are normally not in the Broncos favor. With a new defensive coaching staff being installed, it is in their best interests to move on with a new safety that comes at a cheaper cost.
All of these players are talented. They just have those one or two things about them that make them expendable. While each one of them are possible to return to the Broncos (some longer shots than others) none of them should be back.
They either do not fit the scheme or the money just isn’t worth it. Sometimes the grass is not greener on the other side and finding a replacement can be harder than it sounds, but with a new coaching staff, now is the time to move on.
Outside of Julius Thomas and Rahim Moore, none of the above were starters for the Broncos, so they are easier to replace. Thomas is not a fit in the new scheme and sometimes having someone fit the scheme is more important than individual talent.
As for Moore, he would be one of the hardest to replace, as those centerfield safeties are not easy to find. However, depending on the scheme, a centerfield safety may not be the type of free safety needed moving forward. We'll know more scheme-wise soon enough.