With all the offseason moves completed and the preseason beginning as well, the Denver Broncos are preparing to make preparations to return to the Super Bowl. With all of the moves that the team has made to make sure that they come out on top, there is one that could have been a mistake.
The Broncos decided to let Eric Decker walk in free agency and signed Emmanuel Sanders to replace him in the lineup. Doing this will keep Wes Welker at the slot instead of Sanders. However, in a radio interview, ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio made it clear that he believes the Broncos should have kept Decker and released Welker. The reasoning behind Paolantonio’s comment was that he does not believe that Welker is a starter in the NFL. This comes as quite a bit of surprise, but I could see why he would make those comments. While it does appear that Welker still produces solid numbers during the year, his performances in the postseason and his age could have played factors in the comments made.
Talking more in detail from a recent article I wrote, I could agree with those comments. While Welker is one of the best slot receivers in the game, his performance in the postseason in recent years has not been up to standards. Another factor is his age. He just turned 33 during the offseason and being 30-plus years old in the NFL is when most people believe the decline starts for the majority of players. Another reason is, while he is coming off another solid year, his missed the remaining three games of the 2013 season due to a concussion that he originally suffered during the Broncos Week 11 win against the Kansas City Chiefs. It makes you wonder if the injury is the start of something.
While I believe Sanders will do well in the Broncos’ offense, I find it hard to understand why the team could not find a way to get a deal done for Decker. Had the team released Welker, that could have freed enough space to give the team and Decker a deal that could benefit both sides. Decker has only been in the league since 2010 and, while he flourished in the last two years in the Mile High City, there was still a lot he could offer. We all saw his last two years and how much offense he brought to the team. And if his Week 13 performance against the Chiefs was any indication, the Broncos should have let him stick around. Welker, may be counting down the minutes until he calls it a career not too far behind Peyton Manning.
While they hope that 2014 will be the year the team wins it all, I do question the decision the front office made the day the team did not re-sign Decker and decided to go with Welker for one more year. It remains to be seen, but this could be the biggest move the team made this offseason that could turn into a huge mistake in the long run.