Between now and the opening of the NFL free agency period, I will be laying out all of the options at each position for the Denver Broncos, as well as talking about how viable those options are.
Here, I look at the wide receiver position.
The Broncos need to find another option in the passing game to complement Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Last season, several players had an opportunity to step in and be the No. 3 guy, but no one could grab the position by the throat.
The Broncos will almost certainly draft a wide receiver to compete for a spot this year or in the future, but there are some interesting options on the free-agent market as well.
Remember, the Broncos will be in the market for a third receiving option, so you won’t see a name like Alshon Jeffery on this list. Though Jeffery is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, the Broncos won’t be interested in paying him the hefty contract he’ll be looking for.
Here are some players that could fit in Denver.
1. Andre Holmes
A big, athletic target who I have always felt has been seriously underused in Oakland.
Undrafted out of Hillsdale College in 2011, Holmes has already been a part of four different NFL teams. He’s found a small role in Oakland over the last few seasons. He has caught just 28 passes in the last two seasons, but seven of those have gone for touchdowns.
How would he fit in Denver?
At 6-4, Holmes is a big wide receiver that can go up and win the 50-50 balls that Thomas doesn’t do as often as you’d like for a No. 1 wide receiver. Holmes makes every snap count and could be a great under-the-radar signing for Denver, one that could be used as a serious weapon in the red zone.
2. Kendall Wright
The Broncos would have to be careful with this move, as Kendall Wright has never come close to living up to being a first-round pick in 2012. Still, he’s the all-time leading receiver in every major category at Baylor University, and at 27 years old, a team could still get the most out of his abilities.
Injuries have cut short Wright’s last two seasons, and he caught just 29 passes in 2016. However, he has elite speed and could line up in the slot and be very effective if he could create mismatches against linebackers and slower defensive backs.
3. Anquan Boldin
Last season was the Detroit Lions’ first without Calvin Johnson. Golden Tate led the team in receptions, but guess who was second? That’s right, Anquan Boldin.
Denver should have looked at Boldin last year, especially as he sat on the free-agent market until late July. That’s when the Lions decided to sign him.
All he did for them was produce in pretty much every game. He had 67 receptions and led the team with eight touchdowns. No other wide receiver on the team had more than four.
The Broncos used some inexperienced players at the No. 3 position last year in Jordan Taylor, Cody Latimer and Bennie Fowler. Boldin’s experience alone makes him worth signing.
At 36 years old, Denver could get him for a relatively cheap price, as well.
4. Victor Cruz
This is the most interesting name on my list, and it’s one that you shouldn’t roll your eyes at.
Victor Cruz suffered a devastating injury in the middle of the 2014 season. It was so bad that he wasn’t even able to play in 2015. When he finally returned to the field last year, it seemed clear that he wasn’t the player he used to be.
But as a No. 3 receiver, he could be perfect.
In New York, Eli Manning targets Odell Beckham about 30 times a game, it seems, so Cruz’s opportunities were limited last year. That contributed to him only catching 39 passes.
The Giants limited Cruz’s snaps, as well. According to Pro Football Reference, Cruz was on the field for just 72 percent of the team’s offensive snaps. Meanwhile, Beckham and rookie Sterling Shepard each saw 94 percent of the team’s snaps.
Cruz could be well rested after missing a season and a half and having his snaps limited last year, making him a candidate to be a solid No. 3 receiver. If he can be had at a reasonable rate, there’s no reason Denver shouldn’t be interested.