Are the Denver Broncos a Better Equipped AFC Team?


As of Day 3 of the new year in the NFL calendar, the Denver Broncos is a team that appears to be the most complete AFC team in the league. While the players on the paper looks good, it does not always turns out to be good in the playbook or in the field. However, it is hard not to come to a grasp that the Denver Broncos looks to be a better Super Bowl contender this year as oppose to last season.

The Denver Broncos entered the Free Agency season very quiet and with wicked plans in mind to be considered a Super Bowl contender.

Jan 12, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) prior to taking the snap from center Dan Koppen (67) against the Baltimore Ravens during the AFC divisional round playoff game at Sports Authority Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

While all the highlights on Day 1 of Free Agency went to the Miami Dolphins for signing Mike Wallace, Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler, the Broncos went ahead and signed the second best offensive lineman available – San Diego Charges offensive guard Louis Vazquez.

Vasquez agreed to sign with the Broncos to a four-year $23.5 million contract which $13 million is guaranteed money in the first two years; making him the 7th highest guaranteed-paid guard in the league. As Peyton Manning needs more protection (after 4 neck surgeries) as ever before, this was a very smart move by the Broncos as I always emphasize the need for a strong offensive line. If they can do anything to keep Manning safe in the pocket by giving him protection, time and longevity in the game, this is the way to do it. After all, he is being paid only $20 million this season.

Denver Broncos audacity continues as it looked like, at first, they did not have interest on Wes Welker. But when the opportunity came, they certainly placed Welker on top of the horse and rode to Denver on a two-year $12 million deal with $6 million guaranteed (2013 base salary and roster bonus); $4 million roster-bonus in 2013 and $3 million roster bonus in 2014.

Welker’s addition to the Broncos’ roster is a nightmare that many feared. Welker’s addition just completes their roster into becoming a more deadly AFC opponent. He is what Manning needed – great for shorter and middle routes. Had Welker been in Denver with Manning last season, I can “guarantee” that Manning would not have thrown that interception on a double-overtime playoff game. Much less, would they have been in a situation of a going into double-overtime.

The latest move by the Broncos came within hours of the Welker’s deal announcement with the acquisition of former Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Although it was a one-year $5 million deal, I believe that just having Cromartie’s presence will substantially improve their secondary, and perhaps, do the job that Champ Bailey failed to do in the playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Bottom line, the Denver Broncos are looking good right now. They have Peyton Manning, Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Louis Vasquez, Rodgers-Cromartie and a pretty solid team.

If the paper translates to be as good as it is on the field, then Broncos’ opponents brace yourselves. Or better yet, get busy in this free agency period and upcoming draft.


Follow Celia Westbrook on Twitter @celiawestbrook