The Denver Broncos used their franchise tag earlier this week on Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller, leaving a bevy of talented players – including Brock Osweiler, Malik Jackson, and Danny Trevathan – free to test the free agency waters. Those three players are among the top eight players who could find new homes this off-season, the USA Today reported Tuesday.
Because of franchise tags and signings earlier this month, Brock Osweiler became the biggest unclaimed prize of this year’s QB free agency pool, The Denver Post reported. Brock Osweiler earned that title when Washington Redskins’ signal caller Kirk Cousins received the franchise tag – and a one-year, $19 million contract – and Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Sam Bradford signed a two-year deal worth $36 million.
With such outlandish sums, the Denver Broncos may be forced to pony up a similar amount to keep Brock Osweiler. Despite his career 5-2 record in seven starts – all coming this season – the quarterback out of Arizona State will command a sizable contract, CBS Sports salary cap expert Joel Corry explained.
“It’s favorable for [Brock Osweiler]. It’s a supply-and-demand thing. He’s the best guy on the market. The only thing is he’s not ready to carry a franchise right now. Ideally, you don’t want to pay him more than (Los Angeles Rams quarterback) Nick Foles, which is $12.25 million a year. But with Sam’s deal, that might not be feasible anymore.”
Signing Brock Osweiler or retaining Peyton Manning is a priority for the Denver Broncos. While Peyton Manning considers retirement, the 25-year-old quarterback career back-up is the only other quarterback of note beyond veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick available this off-season.
Brock Osweiler may be the highest-rated quarterback yet to sign during free agency, but multiple media outlets suggest Malik Jackson is the best-available player without a contract. The defensive end out of the University of Tennessee finished the 2015 season with 45 tackles and five sacks, helping the Denver Broncos become the top-ranked defense in the NFL.
The Chicago Sun-Times believe the Bears could be in the running for Malik Jackson, according to a recent report. The article gave credence to a possible reunion as Malik Jackson was coached by Chicago Bears’ head man John Fox in Denver after being drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 draft by the Broncos.
Signing Malik Jackson could come with a hefty price tag. The story detailed how expensive the acquisition could be as Malik Jackson sought at least $13 million to return to the Denver Broncos. If the salary demands reached that amount, the Chicago Bears may be out of the running with GM Ryan Pace wary of over-spending this off-season.
Houston could also be a landing spot for Malik Jackson, ESPN reported. The team’s current defensive end – Jared Crick – is also a free agent, and Malik Jackson would be an upgrade for the Texans. Brock Osweiler has also been mentioned in connection to the Houston Texans because of their void at the position, according to the report.
Danny Trevathan seems destined for another NFC team during the free agency period as ESPN reported the Atlanta Falcons are high on the linebacker from the University of Kentucky. The attraction for Danny Trevathan potentially heading to the Falcons is their defensive coordinator. Richard Smith – who coached Danny Trevathan during his stint with the Denver Broncos – needs a strong replacement at linebacker after veteran Justin Durant was released in 2015.
The Chicago Sun-Times also hinted that the Bears could be after Danny Trevathan. Citing his relationship with the Chicago Bears’ head coach, the newspaper reported that Danny Trevathan could be a good fit in the scheme deployed by the NFC North team. The media outlet even quoted Danny Trevathan saying that he and John Fox were sure to talk during the free agency period.
Another free agent defensive player – Bruce Irvin from the Seattle Seahawks – could also be in the mix. The pass rush specialists is reportedly considering a move to the Atlanta Falcons as well to be reunited with Dan Quinn, The Inquisitr reported. Dealings with Bruce Irvin, who could come with as high a price tag as Danny Trevathan, could help the Denver Broncos remain in the running for the linebacker’s services.
Do you think the Denver Broncos can retain Danny Trevathan, Brock Osweiler, or Malik Jackson this off-season? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
[Photo by Dustin Bradford, Maddie Meyer & Andy Lyons/Getty Images]