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Fox Talks Free Agency Process

Posted Mar 25, 2014

Head Coach John Fox talked about the Broncos’ free-agency plan.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Broncos opened free agency with a splash, adding three Pro Bowlers in the first two days of the new league year.

Within 48 hours of the free-agency window opening, T.J. Ward, Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware became Broncos, helping bolster the team’s defense.

“You try to make your football team better every offseason,” Fox said. “That was our first priority in free agency and the first thing out of the blocks. There is a pool of players. Just like the draft, in free agency you evaluate your team. The day after our last game we did our own players’ evaluations to a man. Then you kind of identify where you’re going to go at that point. You realize you have holes to fill after that. We evaluated all of the guys out there and we were very pleased with what we got.”

Before Talib signed, the Broncos had been talking about  resigning cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. When those negotiations didn’t work out, the team moved its focus to Talib and was pleased to add the 2013 Pro Bowler.

“We had an offer on the table to ‘DRC’. They were working through it,” Fox said. “I don’t get involved in this stuff—this is agents and (Director of Football Administration) Mike Sullivan. It’s scholarships with price tags. We obviously are an appealing place but the reality is it comes down to the contract, usually. We were all over that and then it flipped and we were very pleased to get Aqib.”

While there were several different options discussed for which players the team could add, Fox said he doesn’t get too involved in the negotiations stage of the free-agency process, leaving those discussions to the Broncos’ personnel department.

“There were a lot of things that happened late there. Julius (Peppers) got cut I think maybe the day after we signed DeMarcus. Jared (Allen) was in discussions. At that stage you’re still trying to get price tags. That’s kind of out of my lane; I let other people worry about that stuff. It kind of fell (that way). We were involved with a lot of people and then a guy goes here; a guy goes there; this guy switches back. It’s an interesting process.”

Both Talib and Ward agreed to terms on the first day of free agency. Then, the following day DeMarcus Ware made a trip to visit Dove Valley and left with a contract.

“He was the most veteran guy that we signed in free agency,” Fox said of the 10th-year pro. “He has a lot of skins on the wall—one of the highest sack guys currently. I remember when he came out (of college). He played injured. That says something about a guy. He had surgery the minute the season was over. It was something he (injured) in training camp.”

In addition to signing three players that are expected to compete for starting jobs next season, the Broncos also hope to have several starters that ended the 2013 season on injured reserve back in the lineup.

Defensive end Derek Wolfe, defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, linebacker Von Miller, cornerback Chris Harris and safety Rahim Moore all were starters for Denver in 2013 and all finished the season on injured reserve.

“Really what happens is you play a season and you realize a lot of needs during the season,” Fox said. “We lost six starters along the way on defense. That usually doesn’t help matters. We were aging some and we wanted to get younger and get faster like every year. We’re a much younger defense at this point. We needed to re-tool that side of the ball.”

With the three aforementioned defensive players added to the fold, plus the re-signing of wide receiver Andre Caldwell and the latest addition in wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, the Broncos made a lot of moves the early wave of free agency.

However, that doesn’t mean that the club is done looking at ways to improve.

“We had more than three,” Fox said of positions the team was targeting for improvement. “You don’t fill them all in this round of talent acquisition. We’ve got a draft coming up. We didn’t sign Shaun Phillips a year ago until I think a week before the draft—it was late. It’s a fluid process. There are players still out there that don’t have a chair yet. I can’t predict what’s going to happen other than we’re always looking to improve.”