Broncos Wire podcast: Coaching staff reaction + free agency preview
Welcome to NFL free agency!
On this week’s Broncos Wire podcast, I joined host Ryan O’Leary (@RyanO_Leary on Twitter) to discuss the team’s new coaching staff, preview free agency and more.
You can listen to Episode 74 below:
Follow the Broncos Wire Podcast:
Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts
Broncos Wire will check back in throughout the offseason with new podcast episodes to provide updates on the team’s free agency moves, NFL draft results and more.
If you enjoy the podcast, you can check out previous episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or on your podcast service of choice. Please consider giving the podcast a positive rating and review!
The full show notes — some of which went unused — from this week’s episode can be read below:
Broncos hire Vance Joseph as DC
After losing Nathaniel Hackett’s buddy, Ejiro Evero, in a lateral move to the Panthers, Sean Payton interviewed a group of candidates that included Vic Fangio, Rex Ryan, Kris Richard, Sean Desai and Vance Joseph. The team was also linked to Mike Zimmer, Nick Rallis and in-house candidate Christian Parker. Payton ultimately ended up hiring Joseph.
Similar to the hypothetical Fangio scenario, Joseph returning is kind of awkward because he was ran out of town as head coach. His defenses weren’t that great in Arizona, either, but Payton seems to believe that was more a result of what he had to work with than Joseph’s coaching.
Unlike Fangio, Joseph is liked by players, that’s a plus. And he’s not the first fired HC to return as DC: Wade Phillips was fired after two years as HC and later returned as DC and won a Super Bowl with the Broncos.
Broncos hire Joe Lombardi as OC
Not everyone loves this hire but I have no problem with it. We all know Payton is going to be running the offense, so Lombardi will probably be more of a QBs coach than a true OC in Denver. He twice served as a QBs coach with Payton with the Saints (2009-13 and 2016-20) and has served as an OC with the Lions (2014-15) and Chargers (2021-22). He wasn’t a flashy hire, but OC didn’t need to be.
Broncos hire two just-retired players as coaches
Denver hired Davis Webb, who was a backup QB for the Bills just last season, as QBs coach. He is 28, six years younger than Russell Wilson, but I don’t think that’s a problem. Wilson’s own personal QBs coach is younger than him, and Webb received good reviews from Eli Manning and Josh Allen, and Daniel Jones had a career year with Webb as a backup last season. Plus, like I mentioned above, Lombardi is also in the QB room.
The Broncos are also hiring Chris Banjo, who just retired last week, as a special teams assistant. Banjo, 32, played in the secondary and on special teams under Joseph in Arizona from 2019-2022.
This isn’t the first time Payton has turned a player into a coach: Zach Strief, who played offensive line for the Saints from 2006-2017, became their assistant OL coach in 2021. Strief will now serve as Denver’s offensive line coach.
Should/can the Broncos re-sign DE Dre’Mont Jones?
The deadline to use a franchise tag was Tuesday and Denver opted not to use it. Placing a one-year tag on Dre’Mont Jones would have cost Denver $19.73M. Jones seems likely to test free agency and there will likely be demand from other teams.
There’s some talk he might get $20 million per season.
Denver only has five picks this year, and they wouldn’t be able to draft a player of Jones’ caliber when they go on the clock in the third round. And a free agent as good as Jones would cost just as much as Jones. They want to re-sign him, but if the market goes crazy, they might not be able to.
Silver lining if he leaves: 3rd-round comp pick likely in 2024.
What will Denver do at running back?
Javonte Williams is the guy when healthy, but the Broncos need a reliable RB2, especially if Williams is not ready to go early in the season.
Latavius Murray, Mike Boone and Marlon Mack are all scheduled to hit free agency. Chase Edmonds is under contract but he has a big cap hit and will presumably be cut if he doesn’t take a big pay cut.
Payton has hyped up Murray and he even hinted that Denver might go after Josh Jacobs (before the Raiders tagged him). GM George Paton noted at the combine as well that there are a lot of quality RBs hitting free agency this year.
Is it just a smokescreen, or are the Broncos planning to make a splash RB signing during free agency? I kind of hope it’s a smokescreen because drafting a RB is such a better plan financially.
One more note: Denver’s new RBs coach coached David Montgomery and Kareem Hunt in college, and they will become FAs on March 15.
Free agency: 1 to sign one, 1 to re-sign one and 1 to let one walk.
I’d like to see the Broncos sign Jaguars OT Jawaan Taylor. He’s 25 years old and Denver needs a long-term solution at RT. I’d rather splash on the offensive line than at running back.
I’d like to re-sign LB Alex Singleton. He was just supposed to be a special teams guy last year and ended up leading the team in tackles. He’s a solid starter and a fantastic backup.
I’d let guard Dalton Risner walk. His play has dipped over the last two seasons and he will likely want to be paid like one of the top guards on the market. Denver needs to revamp the offensive line and re-signing the same guys isn’t good enough.
Peyton Hillis is recovered after suffering lung and kidney injuries while saving his kids from drowning in Florida in January.
Broncos started consulting their fans on the future of the stadium. A new stadium is probably in the works.
Denver has also hinted that new uniforms are in the works. Unlikely to be ready for 2023, but perhaps in 2024. The Broncos are also expected to debut alternate or throwback helmets this season.
DeMarcus Ware, Super Bowl 50 champion with the Broncos, was elected to the Hall of Fame in the 2023 class. Yes, he spent most of his career as a Cowboy, but that Super Bowl ring is a big part of his HOF resume.
The free agency negotiating window starts on Monday, March 13 and teams can officially sign free agents on Wednesday, March 15.
You can listen to every past episode below or at this link.
More Broncos Buzz!
Broncos' projected offensive depth chart before NFL free agency
10 free agent wide receivers Broncos should consider signing
Sean Payton believes a winning culture starts with the details
Broncos not rushing decision on Jerry Jeudy's 5th-year option
Vance Joseph returns to Broncos with an aggressive, attacking defense