The Denver Broncos season ended on the ultimate bitter note, getting destroyed 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII by the Seattle Seahawks. Despite the loss, Denver will still factor into the AFC West in 2014, but will have to make some difficult decisions.
Any time people talk about the Broncos, it starts with quarterback Peyton Manning. After every year, Manning schedules a physical to check how his neck is responding to the multiple surgeries he has had on it. If everything checks out, Manning has stated his intention to return next year. His presence volts the team right into AFC contention for 2014.
The Broncos have several key players who will likely test free agency this March. Running back Knowshon Moreno finished with his best season yet. He was the key clog in the ground game, amassing more than 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. Denver has prepared for his departure via free agency by drafting Montee Ball last year. If a Moreno deal cannot be reached, Ball immediately moves into a more prominent role.
Wide receiver Eric Decker will join Moreno in testing free agency. Decker was a part of a record breaking passing attack that saw four players catch 10 or more touchdowns. Decker finished with 87 receptions for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns. He will command some significant dollars and may not be a priority for Denver.
Other valuable unrestricted free agents include cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, guard Zane Beadles, defensive ends Shaun Phillips and Robert Ayers as well as linebacker Wesley Woodyard, and safety Mike Adams.
Some good news for the Broncos will be getting back two impact players from injury. Von Miller has suspended for off the field drug issues, then suffered a torn ACL. He should be able to return at some point next season. The issue is whether he can come back with the pass rushing prowess he had previously. Left tackle Ryan Clady was lost after week two with a foot injury. He should be ready to go in 2014. After Seattle drilled the Broncos with the pass rush in the Super Bowl, Clady, a franchise left tackle, will be welcomed back with open arms.
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