Well, Broncos Country, it appears the first wave of free agency is in the books. President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway and Co. welcomed the start of the 2020 league year with a flurry of exciting moves, including trades to acquire Pro Bowlers and some big-name free-agent additions — at least, according to media reports.
As the dust settles on this first wave and as the Broncos continue to shape their roster in the days and weeks to come, let's dive into a glimpse at how NFL analysts have reacted to the moves.
Broncos trade for CB A.J. Bouye
CBS Sports: Bouye's style of play was no longer valuable in Jacksonville under defensive coordinator Todd Wash, but he's an excellent fit playing in Denver under head coach Vic Fangio. In Fangio's scheme, cornerbacks that can stop the run and can play on both sides of the field benefit, two massive strengths in Bouye's game. Putting Bouye on the outside with a scheme that suits him was a perfect low-risk, high-reward move for the Broncos.
Denver only parted ways with the No. 137 overall pick, so the Broncos traded a low fourth-round pick to acquire Bouye. That pick the Broncos sent to Jacksonville was acquired in the Emmanuel Sanders trade last October (Denver also received a third-round pick in the Sanders deal). Basically, the Broncos received Bouye and a 2020 third-round pick for Sanders, who will be a free agent this offseason. Not a bad haul for Denver.
SB Nation: For the Broncos, Bouye represents a perfect bridge with the impending departure of Chris Harris in free agency. They get an upper-echelon starter who's a technician of his craft and especially thrived in 2017 when the Jaguars provided him with an elite pass rush up front. A roster with Von Miller [and] Bradley Chubb ... has a chance to give Bouye that same help.
Media reports: OL Graham Glasgow agrees to terms with Broncos
Pro Football Focus: Glasgow has played 800 or more snaps in each of the past three seasons for the Lions and he's done it by starting at three different positions — primarily left guard in 2017, center in 2018 and right guard in 2019. That versatility could end up coming in handy for a Broncos' team that may be looking to fill holes at both right guard and center if Connor McGovern leaves in free agency. More impressive is the fact that Glasgow recorded a grade of 70.0 or higher in all three of those seasons. He hasn't shown the high-end play of someone like Joe Thuney or Brandon Scherff, but the Broncos can feel comfortable with Glasgow stepping in as a solid starter on the interior of their offensive line under offensive line coach Mike Munchak.
SB Nation: Glasgow is a young, versatile lineman who is useful in both the run and passing games, and he should help keep second-year QB Drew Lock's jersey clean.
Walter Football: The Broncos had major offensive line woes last year, so that's something they had to address this offseason, especially with a young quarterback set to be the starter in 2020. This is an excellent first step.
Graham Glasgow played very well for the Lions in 2019. He's only 27, so he has plenty of room for growth. He's also capable of starting at every position in the interior of the offensive line, so he's a stellar signing for the Broncos because they had weaknesses at both guard and center.
Touchdown Wire: They added center/guard Graham Glasgow, who was one of the enticing interior offensive line options behind Joe Thuney and Brandon Scherff, both of whom were given the franchise tag.
ESPN: Broncos offensive line coach Mike Munchak is one of the best in the business, and given how much difficulty Denver has had fixing its offensive line in years past, Glasgow could be a solid regular for the team.
DL Jurrell Casey acquired via trade
ESPN: This is an easy victory for the Broncos, whose three starters along the defensive line are all free agents. Casey isn't in the top tier of interior pass-rushers, but he's a tough two-way player who should help create pass-rushing opportunities off of stunts and twists for Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. Denver coach Vic Fangio will likely use Casey in the Akiem Hicks role, and given what lesser players are getting paid in free agency, bringing in Casey on what amounts to a three-year, $37.9 million deal with no guaranteed money is a good use of a late seventh-round pick.
PFF: Casey was still the 16th most valuable player at his position in 2019 in his down year and will form a ferocious line in 2020 with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.
Walter Football: Casey is one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL. He's terrific in run support, and while he's not the same pass-rusher as he once was, he can still generate good pressure on opposing quarterbacks. If you were to ask me what compensation a team would have to surrender for Casey in a potential trade, I would have guessed a fourth-round pick, or perhaps a third.
... Meanwhile, this is an A+ grade for Denver. The team is getting a colossal upgrade on the defensive front. Casey turned 30 recently, but he's still a huge difference-maker in the trenches. The Broncos' defense was already stellar, and now it's much better.
SB Nation: Casey was a Pro Bowler in each of the last five seasons and a significant reason why the Titans were able to beat the Patriots and the Ravens in the playoffs this January.
Media reports: Melvin Gordon III to agree to terms with Denver
Bleacher Report: A little payback against the Chargers could go a long way. At the same time, the Broncos now have a loaded backfield with Gordon, Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman to take pressure off second-year quarterback Drew Lock.
SB Nation: Denver already has an entrenched 1-2 punch with Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman under contract at tailback, but Gordon gives rising QB Drew Lock another solid option for a team whose potential outweighed its production last fall.
Walter Football: Gordon has a checkered injury history, but he's still very talented, and he'll be an upgrade over Freeman.