Over the past week or so, there’s been a lot of talk about the New York Jets and there interest in possibly trading cornerback Darrelle Revis. There have also been rumors, as I’ve previously outlined, that the Denver Broncos may have an interest in the Jets star. They may or may not pursue Revis but after thinking about it for a few days, I think they would be better served to avoid that temptation.
When John Elway took over, he talked about building a team that would be successful over a long period of time. Elway talked about building through the draft and supplementing through free agency, and through two years that plan has worked. Peyton Manning was obviously a big name free agent but that was a unique situation, and the Broncos took advantage. Other than the signing of Manning, the Broncos have drafted well and gotten value in free agency. The plan is working, and they shouldn’t abandon it for Revis.
For the Broncos to acquire Revis they are going to have to part with multiple draft picks and his salary is going to put a huge dent in the salary cap. Those two areas, the draft and the cap, are the same two areas that Elway pointed to when he took over the Broncos in January 2011. He wanted to get the salary cap under control and be more prudent in how the money was spent.
The Broncos got into trouble in the years before 2011 because they kept going after the quick fix with big name free agents. Signing those types of players takes big upfront, guaranteed money. When those signings failed to produce as they did, the Broncos were left with players who could not play and in salary cap trouble. The Broncos are now in good shape as it relates to the cap and giving that up for one player would be a mistake. Even the signing of Manning was and is a cap friendly deal, there was no guaranteed upfront money and there are injury protections.
Going forward into free agency, the Broncos can be somewhat aggressive but they should also stick to plan. Stay away from the big ticket players and sign the players who fit into the plan. The Broncos also have a very good locker room right now, another goal of Elway’s, and any free agent must be a good fit there as well. As great as Revis is, there are reports that he is not a great teammate and is constantly worried about his contract. The Broncos spent 10 years dealing with those sorts of issues, and they shouldn’t go there again.
The Broncos have had three solid drafts in a row and other than Manning, that’s the primary reason for their success. People probably do not want to hear this, but the 2010 draft under Josh McDaniels has turned into a good one. The players that came out of that draft include; Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Zane Beadles and JD Walton. Walton spent most of 2012 on injured reserve, but all four of those players are a big part of the foundation on offense.
In Elway’s first two drafts, the Broncos have added players to that core, including: Von Miller, Orlando Franklin, Rahim Moore, Quinton Carter, Derek Wolfe, Malik Jackson, Danny Trevathan, Ronnie Hillman and others. The Broncos also signed undrafted free agent cornerback Chris Harris after the 2011 draft, and he is now a starter. That’s nine players in two drafts that are either starting or playing key roles, that’s how good teams are built.
Signing names like Revis is always fun and exciting, especially for the fans but it is also a recipe for failure in the long run. Elway had it right from the beginning, draft well and supplement with free agency. The plan is working – they should stay with it and the ultimate reward will follow.
Follow me on Twitter @Jemorrone7