By Zack Kelberman
(247 SPORTS) – Bradley Roby is slated to receive a multi-million-dollar pay day, and he’s hoping the Denver Broncos cut the check. The veteran cornerback, scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time, expressed Wednesday his desire to remain in Denver.
He claims he hasn’t yet thought about hitting the open market in March.
“No. I want to be here, though,” he said. “This is the team that drafted me, I bought a house here and I love the organization. Why would I want to go anywhere else?”
Chosen in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft, Roby’s inaugural season as a starter was largely uneven. He’d follow bouts of solid play by getting roasted in coverage. And when he wasn’t beat, he was dealing with injuries — from an ankle to a concussion to a nasty facial laceration, sustained last Saturday against Cleveland, which temporarily left the Broncos with one healthy CB.
“On [Browns RB Nick] Chubb’s first run, I went to tackle him and I turned him,” Roby explained. “When I hit the ground, my helmet moved and then his body fell on my face. I think my facemask hit my chin or I bit through it or something, but there was a big gash on my face and I had to get stitches right away. I could put my tongue through my face, so it was crazy. I’d never seen anything like that. I was spitting up a lot of blood. It was one of those freak accidents. You know, it’s football, I signed up for it. We stitched it back up and I got back out there.”
Appearing in 13 games, Roby has made 42 tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 93 cornerback among 116 qualifiers. The Broncos exercised his fifth-year option prior to last season. He counted $8.526 million against the 2018 salary cap.
Roby is among the league’s best No. 3 coverage men, and a very capable No. 2, but he’s been exposed as a No. 1, at least with the current Broncos outfit. He lost quite a bit of money struggling in Joe Woods’ zone-heavy scheme, a fact that won’t be glossed over when the signing period opens.
The Broncos don’t figure to break the bank to retain Roby, who should draw moderate interest around the league. They badly need to rebuild the secondary, with Chris Harris Jr. turning 30 next June and Tramaine Brock and Jamar Taylor heading to free agency, as well. Only Harris, Isaac Yiadom and Brendan Langley are under contract through next season.
Look for Denver to propose a goodwill offer to Roby’s camp while heavily considering their alternatives.