The first week of free agency is in the books and nobody made a bigger splash than the Denver Broncos.

The Broncos signed starters at right tackle, left guard, defensive tackle and punter. They signed potential starters at running back and tight end, too. They also brought back a starting linebacker. All told, the Broncos spent about $40 million more on free agents than any other team.

Here are the Broncos’ biggest strengths and weaknesses after a busy week…


1. Justin Simmons and Pat Surtain II

The Broncos’ secondary is a strength, but it’s carried by two players. So I’m separating those two players out and calling them the team’s biggest strength.

Surtain can take away one side of the field. Simmons takes away the deep middle. All of a sudden there isn’t much else for the rest of the defense to defend.

The rest of the secondary is filled with high-upside question marks. Caden Sterns, 23, appears to be ready to fill the starting strong safety job but we haven’t seen quite enough of him to know for sure. Damrri Mathis, who is also 23, filled in admirably as a starting cornerback for the majority of last season, but he isn’t a certified stud yet, either.

Regardless, the Broncos’ secondary is a clear strength and its two All-Pros are leading the way.

2. Run Defense

The Broncos finished 2022 with the 12th-ranked run defense but it’s set up to improve in 2023.

Alex Singleton is back and he’ll be a full-time starter this time around. Josey Jewell missed five games in 2022, and could also be around more in 2023. The Broncos’ No. 3 linebacker, Jonas Griffith, will be back healthy to provide better depth. The biggest addition is Zach Allen, who is one of the NFL’s top run-stuffing defensive linemen.

Put all these pieces together, and there’s no reason the Broncos shouldn’t be a top-10 run defense at worst.

3. Offensive Line

The Broncos invested significantly in the trenches and I think it will pay off.

Call me crazy, but I think the Broncos might have four Pro Bowl threats on their line, although more than one would probably take a playoff appearance. New additions left guard Ben Powers and right tackle Mike McGlinchey are paid as top-five players at their positions and are worthy of the money. Left tackle Garett Bolles (who only played five games last year) has an All-Pro nod under his belt. Right guard Quinn Meinerz is one of the league’s nastiest linemen.

The Broncos need to improve significantly for their offensive line to be a strength—nobody gave up more sacks than Denver in 2022—but on paper, they’ve got the group to do it.


1. Quarterback

I don’t know what to expect from Russell Wilson, but based on last season it’s easier to see him as a weakness than a strength. Given the importance of the position, a weakness at quarterback is probably a franchise-defining weakness.

Wilson could bounce back to Pro Bowl play in 2023, but when you look at the Broncos’ roster position by position, the biggest question mark is what Denver will get out of its quarterback.

2. Running Backs

As it stands today, the Broncos’ opening-day depth chart at running back would look something like this:

  1. Semaje Perine
  2. Tyler Badie
  3. Damarea Crockett

Perine, the Broncos’ free-agent pickup, hasn’t carried the ball 100 times in a season since 2017. He’s been a third-down back for the majority of his career, but he’d be the bell cow to start the season, considering the other two options have combined for five NFL touches.

Javonte Williams will probably be back at some point in the season and regain the top spot in the rotation, but the Broncos are on thin ice at the moment.

For what it’s worth, the Broncos should be just fine at running back by the time training camp starts. They’re virtually guaranteed to sign or draft another back. I’d guess they do both.

3. Pass Rush

The Broncos finished in the bottom 10 of the NFL in sacks last season, and they’ve only gotten worse.

Dre’Mont Jones is out of the picture and is set to be replaced by Zach Allen. The 25-year-old Allen recorded 5.5 sacks last season, the most of his career. Jones has had at least 5.5 in each of his past three seasons. Allen isn’t a significant downgrade, but he isn’t as proven as Jones.

Plus, the Broncos had Bradley Chubb rushing off the edge for half of 2022 before he was traded to the Dolphins. The Broncos will be betting on young players to improve to keep up with last year’s disappointing production. A healthy Randy Gregory could bridge that gap as well.

Click here for our Film Room on new Broncos guard Ben Powers.

Click here for our Film Room on new Broncos defensive lineman Zach Allen.

Click here for our Film Room on new Broncos right tackle Mike McGlinchey.

Click here for our Film Room on Broncos linebacker Alex Singleton.


Henry was born in Columbia Falls, Montana and graduated from Columbia Falls High School in 2015. He earned bachelor's degrees in journalism and economics from the University of Montana in 2019. After graduation, he joined DNVR. He spent three years covering the University of Colorado before moving to the Broncos beat ahead of the 2022 season. Henry joined DNVR as a remote staff writer in 2017, providing support to BSN's Broncos beat reporters. He interned at DNVR headquarters in the summer of 2018 and accepted a full-time position after graduating from UM. Follow Henry on Twitter - @HenryChisholm