The Denver Broncos convinced Peyton Manning to choose signing with them over the Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers and countless other teams who pursued the future Hall of Fame quarterback. John Elway has demonstrated that he is all in for the team to get back to the Super Bowl, as they made a tremendous upgrade at the most important position on the field.
This is where all of the Tim Tebowmaniacs can feel free to bash me, but there is no comparison between Manning and Tebow whatsoever.
Well, they did both play in the SEC in college, but, beyond that, Tebow is not even in the same league as Manning. Even though the two are currently on the same team. But that won’t last. More on that in the near future.
But Denver is serious about competing for a Super Bowl, and they are serious about doing so now. Manning is going to be paid quite handsomely to help make that happen.
But even Manning cannot do it alone. Elway still needs to surround him with the right pieces, and while many of them are in place, there are still some valuable free agents who could make an immediate impact. One of them just happens to play for the team Denver eliminated from the 2012 AFC Playoffs – the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Wide receiver Mike Wallace is a restricted free agent with a first round tender tag attached. That means that if you sign him to an offer, the Steelers can either decide to match that offer and retain Wallace, or they can allow him to sign with another team and receive their 2012 first round draft pick in return. While many teams are hesitant to part with a contract as well as a first round pick, it makes perfect sense for the Broncos.
Denver possesses the No. 25 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft next month. While it is a nice pick that could provide an impact rookie, it could better be served to sign Wallace and give the pick to the Steelers. Wallace would immediately turn into the No. 1 receiver for the Broncos, pushing Demaryius Thomas to the No. 2 role on the other side. Eric Decker could slide into the No. 3 spot and line up in the slot, making the offense much more explosive instantaneously.
Manning has proven over the years that he can take good players and make them great. While Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison did not have as far to go, look what No. 18 has done for receivers such as Pierre Garcon, Anthony Gonzalez (when healthy) and Austin Collie. He takes good players and makes them play better. At least he makes it look that way.
Thomas and Decker are nice. But how can you argue with adding Wallace?
Sure, the team does have other spots to fill, such as in the defensive backfield and adding more depth up front. But that can be done in the mid to late rounds. That No. 25 pick will not land them any player with as much upside as Wallace. If they are looking at a receiver at that spot, Justin Blackmon will be long gone. Michael Floyd may be as well. That would limit who Denver could draft with that pick, meaning it would make much more sense to part with it in order to sign Wallace.
After all, the team has plenty of money, even with the Manning signing. Being under the cap would allow them to present an offer to Wallace that the cash strapped Steelers would almost find impossible to match. And while Denver’s current stable of receivers is nice, they did lose Eddie Royal and Daniel Fells. Matt Hillis as the team’s No. 3 wideout is not that intimidating. But having a trio of Wallace, Thomas and Decker as the top three, and then perhaps drafting another receiver in the second or third round could drastically improve the Broncos’ offense.
After all, the other receivers available through free agency include an underwhelming list that includes Braylon Edwards, Ted Ginn and Early Doucet. Signing Wallace would be a no-brainer.
And adding Dallas Clark wouldn’t hurt either, along with the possibility of bringing in other former teammates of Manning’s in Joseph Addai and Jeff Saturday. Their experience would help the rest of the team catch up to what it will be like playing with Manning.