After a lopsided and downright embarrassing loss in the Super Bowl, many wondered if the window for the Denver Broncos to return to the Super Bowl and win a championship might be closing. But with a positive medical checkup for quarterback Peyton Manning and three significant free agent signings within the first 24 hours of free agency, the Broncos’ championship window is very much open.
The Broncos may have reached the Super Bowl last season behind a prolific offense, but if they’re going to return there in the next one to three years before Manning’s likely retirement, they need to be a more balanced team — and John Elway understands that. Thus, he’s made three major acquisitions on the defensive side of the ball early in the free agent period.
The signing of safety T.J. Ward and cornerback Aqib Talib, along with the recent release of Champ Bailey, completely changes the look of Denver’s secondary. The makeover was much-needed to get younger and better, both of which have been accomplished. The Broncos will be young, fast and physical in the secondary next season, which is what they’ll need from their defense to get back to the Super Bowl.
In addition to those improvements on the back end of the defense, the Broncos have also added DeMarcus Ware. He will give them a legitimate pass rushing threat to complement Von Miller which is something the team lacked in 2013 after the departure of Elvis Dumervil. If Miller and Ware can stay healthy next year, Denver will have a pass rush reminiscent of 2012 when the defense was an equal partner to the offense in the team’s success.
Even if Denver’s offense takes a step back in 2014 from its record-setting season in 2013, the free agent additions on the defensive side of the ball are a major upgrade for the Broncos. The moves make them a more balanced team with both the offense and defense being capable of carrying the team to wins. These defensive upgrades have ensured that the window to reach the Super Bowl and win a championship will remain open for the remainder of Manning’s career.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him on Google.