With the Super Bowl over with, the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers need now to head into the business of figuring out who to re-sign and what positions they’re going to upgrade. While both teams have some big decisions to make, the Broncos have more players they need to worry about leaving than the team they beat for the NFL championship.
Both starting cornerbacks for the Panthers, Charles Tillman and Josh Norman, are free agents. It’s quite obvious Norman is their big priority this offseason, emerging as one of the league’s best at the position. Tillman is 34 and while he did have a good season and his camp number ($1.6 million) being affordable, it’ll be interesting to see if the Panthers try to find someone younger from within or the outside, not to mention cheaper.
On offense, they need to think about the offensive line with Mike Remmers the right tackle and useful backup Chris Cott both hitting free agency. Remmers made less than $600,000 last season but that’s going to change while Scott, who is 28, will probably also earn himself a contract worth more than $1 million a season, while being a $665,000 cap hit last season.
As for the Broncos, there’s nothing official yet, but Peyton Manning is probably retiring at some point in the near future. An announcement is all that’s left. But this means Brock Osweiler, who did pretty well in his opportunity as a starting quarterback, is going to get re-signed and it’ll be interesting to see how that affects that cap space situation, although for the first time, there will be no one like Manning eating up the cap space.
Well, not exactly true. Von Miller is a free agent, and while they could use the franchise tag on him, it’ll probably end with him signing the biggest contract for a defensive player in NFL history. At least $15 million a season. Danny Trevathan and Brandon Marshall, the two inside linebackers, who had a $1.1 million cap hit in 2015, are going to need to be upgraded. Malik Jackson is another defensive player who is going to be upgraded from the $500,000-ish he made, and Antonio Smith might also be kept.
On offense, besides Osweiler, it’s also going to get messy. C.J. Anderson is a free agent and running backs are often finding themselves to be afterthoughts in a lot of front office plannings. Matt Paradis is becoming a free agent which means the center spot needs to be attended to, Evan Mathis the left guard might try to be more than a one-year rental while Vernon Davis, who didn’t do much since coming from the San Francisco 49ers via trade, isn’t going to stay, unless he takes a huge paycut.