It’s now the day before free agency officially begins, but the news is heating up as we get closer. There has been a lot of talk about the Denver Broncos going after running back Steven Jackson, but it appears as if the Broncos have their sights set on another back.
Rashard Mendenhall, formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers, very well could be lining up behind Peyton Manning in the 2013 season. No one is going to argue that Mendenhall is better than Jackson because he’s not, but he does come with many things that John Elway looks for in a free agent. He’s young, less expensive than Jackson would be and has a huge upside.
Mike Klis of the Denver Post noted that Mendenhall is only 25 and actually has fewer carries than Montee Ball, who is considered one of the top running backs coming out of college this year. It’s true that Mendenhall missed most of last season, but in the three seasons before last, he was one of the most productive backs in the league. The Broncos are not afraid to take a chance on someone coming off of an injury–there was a guy named Manning who hadn’t played in a year who the Broncos signed last year. That worked out pretty well.
Mendenhall is not the talent that Manning is, but he would be a perfect fit for what the Broncos need. He’s a bigger back who will pick up 3rd and 1 to keep drives alive and he is great on the goal-line. With all due respect to Willis McGahee, Mendenhall is a younger and faster version.
If the Broncos do sign Mendenhall, it would set up a great combination in the backfield. McGahee would be gone, but the guess here is that the Broncos would keep both Knowshon Moreno and Ronnie Hillman. Moreno would spell Mendenhall and bring a different running style that defenses would have to adjust to. Hillman will play a lot more, especially on passing downs, and should be a huge threat catching the football.
There’s no guarantee that Mendenhall to the Broncos will happen and things are changing by the minute, but it appears that Broncos are going to make a run at the former Steeler.
In other news from early Monday, the Broncos announced that they have re-signed safety David Bruton. That’s a great move because Bruton is one of the best special teams’ players in the league and a great guy in the locker room.
It’s going to be a crazy week and we are off and running.
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