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Mile High Morning: Broncos could be cautious in 2021 free agency period

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The Lead

As free agency nears and fans' eyes get wider, it may be more prudent to temper big expectations, as Woody Paige wrote recently in The Gazette.

Instead, the emphasis will likely be on how many of the Broncos' own free agents General Manager George Paton can retain.

"Paton, based on his years in Minnesota, will try to complete deals with the Broncos' own," Paige wrote. "He already has franchise-tagged Justin Simmons and is negotiating a long-term deal. The general manager claims he wants Von [Miller] back, intends to tender the restricted free agents (including Phillip Lindsay. A.J. Johnson and Tim Patrick) and has shown an inclination to want Shelby Harris to return."

Aside from the ongoing discussions to keep Simmons in Denver beyond 2021, the Broncos' biggest decision will be what they do with Miller and his contract. Paton and Co. basically have three options: to exercise the team option for the last year on his contract, to decline it and make him a free agent or to decline the option and agree to terms on a new restructured contract.

There will also be other players to consider, Paige notes, like Will Parks, DeMarcus Walker and Jeremiah Attaochu, but external free agents may comprise a short list.

Could that be a wise course of action? Perhaps. As Paige notes, splashy signings have not always guaranteed success in Denver, whether recently or in the first decade of modern free agency. They've played a role in helping fill gaps in championship rosters, but have not necessarily built a contender on their own.

In an analysis of the Broncos' free-agent moves over the past five years, The Denver Post's Ryan O'Halloran walks us through the hits and misses the team has made. Denver has certainly made some solid acquisitions, but a cautious approach in 2021 may pay off.

Below the Fold

About a month has passed since Denver-area chiropractor Nelson Vetanze died. Perhaps unknown to most fans, Vetanze was beloved by numerous Broncos players, who found him to be more than just a great chiropractor, as George Stoia writes for The Gazette. "He looked out for my best interest in a career where so many people look to take advantage of you," Justin Simmons told Stoia. "The conversations that we would have — personal conversations, life conversations, football conversations — it was just like I was talking to like a really good friend that I've known for so long. We would have real life conversations."

The Unclassifieds

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