New faces: QB Joe Flacco, OT Ja’Wuan James, DB Kareem Jackson, CB Bryce Callahan, TE Noah Fant, G Dalton Risner, QB Drew Lock, RB Theo Riddick, DT Dre’Mont Jones
They’re gone: C Matt Paradis, CB Bradley Roby, OL Billy Turner, OLB Shaquil Barrett, OLB Shane Ray, LB Brandon Marshall, S Darian Stewart, OT Jared Veldheer, DT Domata Peko, TE Matt LaCosse, G Max Garcia, CB Tramaine Brock, DT Zach Kerr
2019 snapshot: The Broncos’ biggest hope this season might be centered on what appears to be an improved coaching staff. Defensive whiz Vic Fangio has drawn rave reviews from players thus far, and he brought in Kyle Shanahan pupil Rich Scangarello to run the offense and pried decorated O-line coach Mike Munchak from the Steelers.
But GM John Elway bet awfully aggressively in other areas. He traded a fourth-round pick for Flacco, whom the Ravens might have otherwise cut, and spent wildly on James (four years, $51 million) and Jackson (three years, $33 million), who appears likely to play primarily at safety.
Jackson’s contract fueled a contract dispute with CB Chris Harris Jr. that required a $3 million raise to resolve. Callahan’s (three years, $21 million) was a more palatable deal, and Fangio should have what he needs in the secondary, but should Denver have spent that money to keep Paradis?
The draft class should have early contributors in Fant and Risner, though quarterback-of-the-future Drew Lock still needs plenty of development and will miss several weeks while recovering from a sprained thumb.
Get to know… OL Dalton Risner
A second-round pick out of Kansas State, Risner stepped in as the starter at left guard from Day 1 and has outperformed expectations. It’s not outlandish to think he could be the team’s best O-lineman by the end of the season.
Worth the investment?
–Denver has an over/under win line of seven. In this AFC West, even getting to .500 is not a sure thing for this crew.
–Von Miller surprisingly has never won Defensive Player of the Year, missing out by one vote to Khalil Mack in 2016. His odds this season (+1200) are much friendlier than Mack’s (+250), though he still has J.J. Watt (+1000) and two-time defending DPOY Aaron Donald (+300) to contend with.
Bottom Line: Denver could be improved on the coaching staff, at QB and in the secondary, but this team still seems headed for a rebuild at some point.