Headlines and Bottom Lines: Huge week for the Denver Broncos

Hard to believe we’re only two weeks into free agency as the Denver Broncos have kept the league news wires and social media buzzing almost daily with an array of headline-seizing defections and additions.

Here are some quick thoughts on the Orange & Blue-tinted news from the last week:

Headline: Newly acquired Mark Sanchez says he’s ready to compete for the Broncos’ starting job

Bottom line: The always nattily-attired Sanchez looked the part and said all the right things Monday at his introductory Denver news conference, and, hey, right now he would be the team’s starter with second-year Trevor Siemian the only other QB on the roster. But the Broncos don’t tee it up for real for five full months, and you can be sure the Orange & Blue will be adding another QB or two via free agency – keep an eye on the Colin Kaepernick situation with his $11 million salary becoming guaranteed April 1 – or the draft (Memphis’ Paxton Lynch would seem to be a good fit and the Broncos wouldn’t need to move up too far in the first round to get him). In any case, Sanchez should indeed have the opportunity to compete for the starting gig.

Headline: Broncos match Dolphins’ offer sheet to retain RB C.J. Anderson

Bottom line: The Broncos were on the verge of losing a fan favorite – and another offensive starter – in Anderson, but chose to match Miami’s four-year, $18 million offer with the deadline fast approaching. Many of those Anderson proponents then turned around and decried the contact terms, but in reality, Anderson will only carry a $2.08 million cap hit this coming season, which ranks 25th among league RBs. And with the new contract comes increased expectations, and Anderson will need to show he can play and play effectively through nagging injuries and be more of a factor throughout the season and not just late. A 1,200-yard rushing season behind the reconfigured offensive line is a fully reasonable expectation.

Headline: Free-agents Ryan Harris, David Bruton and Evan Mathis sign deals elsewhere

Bottom line: The losses of Harris and Mathis – the starting left side of the Broncos’ offensive line for much of the season – were anticipated and expected, but the biggest loss will be Bruton, who only started eight games in seven seasons but had developed into a special-team ace, valuable backup and true team leader on and off the field. No, his absence won’t be a back-breaker, but it will be felt.

Headline: The Broncos sign free-agent OT Russell Okung

Bottom line: The ex-Seahawk looks to be the crowning piece of the team’s extreme O-line makeover as he’ll take over as the starting left tackle. But the real news here was Okung’s self-negotiated contract which is really a one-year, $5 million deal with scarcely a cent of guaranteed money, and the Broncos able to pick up an unheard-of four-year option next offseason. In short, what a stroke of genius for John Elway and Co. getting a high-level offensive-line talent who has every reason to be highly motivated to perform in what amounts to a contract year.

Headline: Von Miller begins training – for his Dancing with the Stars role

Bottom line: Hey, when you’re named Super Bowl MVP and are soon set to land a long-term contract with a cool $60 million or so guaranteed, you’ll be living the celebrity highlife as well.

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