DENVER (CBS4) – Broncos fans used to blockbuster free agency signings of the last few years (2012 – Peyton Manning; 2013 – Wes Welker; 2014 – Ware/Ward/Talib), were probably a little underwhelmed by the team’s 2015 signings.
NFL writers across the country also seemed to be somewhat less than impressed. Different media outlets have handed out varying overall grades for the Broncos haul of new players, but none was an A.
Here are five different varying opinions from the past few weeks, ranging from a B down to a D:
National Football Post: B
The NFPost on March 24 gave the Broncos the best grade we could find on the world wide web from this year. Their B grade was given in part because they thought the hire of Gary Kubiak was a good move. “Kubiak is a smart choice for the Broncos as a coach because the man’s offensive mind will bring more balance to the team and help out Peyton Manning,” they wrote. They also feel that Manning’s decision to return for the 2015 season pretty much guarantees they will make the playoffs again. They called the decision to put the franchise tag on Demaryius Thomas “huge” but said the “loss of Julius Thomas at tight end will inevitably hurt the Broncos … when they want a big end zone target for Peyton.”
Bleacher Report: B/B-
Bleacher Report graded each free agent signing, and in an article published March 17 they say the grades averaged out to a B or B-. Re-signing tight end Virgil Green to a three-year deal earned the highest grade for an individual move — an A. They called him “arguably the most important free agent for Denver to keep not named Demaryius Thomas.” On the other end, the choices to re-sign Steven Johnson and sign Darian Stewart both received C+ grades. They summed up the latter move by saying “With Rahim Moore moving on in free agency to the Houston Texans, the Broncos were tasked with finding his replacement. An option that fit what the Broncos needed (decent and inexpensive) was Darian Stewart.”
CBS Sports: C
Pete Prisco, the senior NFL columnist for CBSSports.com cooked up with a C grade for the Broncos on March 16. “The Broncos have taken some big hits in free agency,” he wrote, referring to the loss of starters Julius Thomas, Orlando Franklin, Rahim Moore and Terrance Knighton. And he called the Broncos a “team in transition with a new coach.”
Mile High Report: C+
Mile High Report gave grades out per position, ranging from the safety position getting an A while the offensive guard position received an F. The overall grade they gave the Broncos on March 18 was a C+. The F grade came as a result of the Broncos losing Franklin. “This looks to be the worst move of free agency for John Elway this year,” they wrote. They said there is now a “gaping hole” in the offensive line. They also wrote that signing defensive lineman Antonio Smith doesn’t look like a “prudent move.” The A grade came as a result of the signing of Stewart, who they called an “upgrade” over Rahim Moore. “The Broncos chose someone who can step up in the postseason rather than someone who … never mind,” they wrote.
Yahoo Sports: D
Frank Schwab of Yahoo Sports wrote that the “normally free-wheeling Broncos were quiet” outside of placing the franchise tag on Demaryius. He says Daniels is a big downgrade from Julius Thomas at tight end, and says the additional losses of Knighton, Moore and Franklin will hurt. But “at some point all the spending had to slow down,” he wrote.