Despite the Broncos spending $235 million, with $128 million of that guaranteed, on free agents this offseason, 9News’ Mike Klis still believes newly implemented head coach Sean Payton is the top acquisition of Denver’s offseason.
“Make no mistake, the Broncos top acquisition this offseason was not McGlinchey and his $17.5 million a year salary,” Klis prefaced before saying, “It was Payton who is believed to be among the NFL’s highest-paid coaches, if not the top paid.”
As Klis explains, the free agent spending was merely a band-aid for giving up so many assets in the Russell Wilson trade on March 8, 2022.
“Remember, the Broncos spent big bucks in free agency because they gave up three first-round draft picks and three second-rounders to get their quarterback last year and head coach this year,” Klis wrote.
The 9News reporter doesn’t see Denver being able to afford being in such a position again. “The Broncos cannot put themselves in in this position every year,” Klis wrote. “But given their predicament, Broncos owners did their part to put the Broncos’ in position to become a playoff team again.”
‘It would be a surprise’ if Broncos Declined Jerry Jeudy Option
Because of the way the receiver market shaped out — with Adam Thielen signing with the Panthers on March 19 and Allen Lazard signing with the Jets on March 17 — Klis feels it’d be a surprise if the Broncos declined Jerry Jeudy’s fifth-year option for the 2024 season.
“The Broncos were in on Allen Lazard and checked in with Adam Thielen, but they didn’t trade their own Jerry Jeudy to the New England Patriots, who instead signed free-agent JuJu Smith-Schuster,” Klis wrote. “By the May 2 deadline that is less than two weeks away, it would be a surprise if the Broncos didn’t pick up the $12.987 million fifth year option for the 2024 season on Jeudy.”
Jeudy was linked to the Browns, Cowboys, and Patriots by KOA Colorado’s Benjamin Allbright. The Broncos were reportedly asking for a future first-round pick or a high second-round pick and a player.
‘No Excuses’ For Russell Wilson in 2023
Wilson had a career-worst season in 2022, throwing for his lowest completion rate and touchdown/interception ratio. While many of the problems revolved around poor offensive line play, the Broncos signed McGlinchey at right tackle, guard Ben Powers, and fullback Michael Burton to keep Wilson better protected.
Because of that, Klis believes the quarterback has no excuses in 2023.
“Wilson now has a better offensive line and a top 5 offensive-based head coach (the Chiefs’ Andy Reid is the undisputed No. 1 so long as Patrick Mahomes is his quarterback),” Klis wrote. “No excuses for Wilson in 2023. The Broncos’ seven-year playoff skid must be snapped this year.”
To Klis, Denver’s situation as a franchise in 2023 and beyond — if Wilson gets a second chance given 2023 will be an “audition” under Payton — will always revolve around No. 3, even if the Broncos did spend 33% more money than the second-biggest spenders, the New Orleans Saints, who allocated $177 million, in NFL free agency.
“For all the Broncos spending on new players last week, it’s still all about Russell Wilson,” Klis wrote.