Two more big names were told by their respective teams that they will not be brought back for the 2013 season, and the game of where they will fit has begun. The players are cornerback Charles Woodson, formerly of the Green Bay Packers, and Dwight Freeney of the Indianapolis Colts.
The question is will the Denver Broncos have an interest in either player?
I’ve been saying since the end of the season that the Broncos should make a play for Freeney. The NFL is a passing league and the best way to defend it is not with coverage, but with a pass rush. The Broncos of 2012 were one of the best teams at getting to the quarterback, but they could be better. Freeney would be a great compliment to Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. Imagine two of those guys on one side, with the other one lining up opposite of them? That’s the best way to stop a passing game.
There are two primary reasons to believe that Broncos have a shot at Freeney with the obvious one being Peyton Manning. Freeney played with Manning for years, and the two are believed to be close. The second is that Freeney is coming off of a down year, and it would not take a huge offer to sign him; any contract Freeney signs is likely to be incentive-based and team-friendly.
Woodson is interesting and could solve the Broncos immediate concern at safety. He has been a cornerback but is at that point of his career where the move to safety is a possibility. The major hurdle to signing Woodson is his age. If the Broncos signed him, then they would have two starters in the secondary in the mid-30’s, the other being Champ Bailey. Woodson is also likely to demand a fairly sizable contract, which could be prohibitive for the Broncos.
That said, there are also a couple of reasons why it could happen. The first comes from Woodson himself: he told his agent that he will only sign with a team that is a championship contender. If you believe Las Vegas and the experts, the Broncos are not just a contender, but the favorite heading into 2013. The chance to win and play with Bailey and Manning would have to be appealing to Woodson.
From the Broncos side, it would add more age to a secondary but if the goal is to win while Manning is in Denver then Woodson makes sense. He may be listed as a safety but in passing situations, the Broncos could throw four cornerbacks on the field who can all cover: Woodson, Bailey, Chris Harris and Tony Carter. John Elway has said repeatedly that the Broncos have to be better when teams spread them out, and signing Woodson would do that.
In the end, Freeney has a better chance of ending up in Denver than Woodson does. Both are good fits but, there are fewer hurdles to clear with Freeney. Free agency is still almost a month away and the rumors are flying, this is going to be fun.
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