Tough personnel decisions loom on the horizon for the Denver Broncos. With 17 players set to hit unrestricted free agency, the defending Super Bowl Champions could find themselves on the losing end of the coming bidding war that will be fought on the open market.
In this article, we will discuss who will stay and who will go.
Von Miller, OLB
Miller will be a Bronco for years to come after his MVP performance throughout the playoffs this season. Von is set to likely become the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, a contract he fully deserves.
Brock Osweiler, QB
Osweiler is another guy who will be back in Denver next season. The organization saw enough from Brock in his seven starts to have confidence in the young signal caller moving forward.
Malik Jackson, DE
This is where tough decisions will come into play. Malik Jackson will likely be wearing a different uniform in 2016 due to his exorbitant contract demands. He's looking for $75 million over five years. The Broncos want nothing more than to lock up Jackson long term, but at this point, it is unrealistic to expect him back.
Danny Trevathan, ILB
This will be another tough decision. Trevathan bounced back after an injury riddled season to be a consistent performer on the Broncos No. 1 defense. Similar to the situation with Jackson, Trevathan may have priced himself out of Denver, although chances of re-signing him are higher than retaining Jackson. The Broncos are also very confident that Todd Davis or Corey Nelson could fill the void left by Trevathan.
David Bruton, S
This should be an easy decision for the Broncos, as Bruton was arguably the team's most consistent safety this season, filling in for T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart at different times and serving as the team's No. 3. Bruton opined recently that he was healthy enough and could have played in the Super Bowl if he was not placed on season-ending injured reserve.
Bruton also recently pointed towards the three-year, $15 million deal that cornerback Justin Bethel signed with the Arizona Cardinals as the kind of contract he is looking for this offseason. Bruton, a team captain the past three seasons, should remain in orange and blue moving forward.
Omar Bolden, S/CB
Bolden has been a great depth player for the Broncos since he was drafted out of Arizona State. He is a solid backup in the secondary, can be an electrifying return man when healthy and is a consistent contributor on special teams. Bolden will likely be looking to receive a contract similar to the one that David Bruton signed in 2013, worth $4.5 million over three years.
Ronnie Hillman, RB
Hillman is a frustrating player. He has shown the ability to be a playmaker for the Broncos, but has also been ineffective. He is a guy who will likely be with a new team next season, as he is not the greatest fit for the zone blocking scheme the Broncos use, notwithstanding the fact he remained the starter all year long.
G Evan Mathis, T Ryan Harris, T Tyler Polumbus
Of this group, none are expected back with the Broncos in 2016. Mathis could be retained at a similar salary if he is willing to play for that amount. Harris could come back as a backup, as could Polumbus, but neither are likely.
WR Jordan Norwood, WR Andre Caldwell, TE Vernon Davis
The only player who may be in a Bronco uniform is Jordan Norwood, who showed his versatility as a receiver and return man. He set a Super Bowl record with a 61-yard punt return. Caldwell won’t be brought back, and the same goes for Davis, who was a huge disappointment for the team.
Antonio Smith, DE
Smith will likely retire after winning his first Super Bowl. If he decides to play another season, he could be back in Denver on a veteran minimum deal, especially if the team loses Malik Jackson.
Shiloh Keo, S
Keo is likely gone, he was a late season addition due to the Broncos injury riddled safety group. And his recent DUI arrest in Idaho doesn't help his cause.
Josh Bush, S
The Broncos will certainly let Bush test the open market. He saved the day as the Broncos No. 3 safety, following the injury to David Bruton. The defensive coaches really like him and could bring him back on a team-friendly deal, if he's unsuccessful on the open market.
Kyle Williams, WR
Williams tore his achilles in training camp and missed the entire 2015 season. Williams' future as a pro football player is entirely dependent on his recovery.
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