Denver Broncos sign DE Vance Walker

This move happened early in March, but it got lost in the shuffle for me so I’m just getting to it now. Walker graded out above average in both 2012 and 2013, including 17th in 2012, earning him a 3-year, 10 million dollar deal with the Chiefs last off-season. However, Walker ended up playing just 238 snaps with the Chiefs in 16 games and got released this off-season, a move that saved the Chiefs 2.75 million in cash and 1.75 million in cap space.

The Broncos signed Walker to a 2-year, 4 million dollar deal and it’s a pretty good value. Even though Walker didn’t earn the trust of the coaching staff in Kansas City, leading to limited playing time from him, he actually played pretty well on the field. In fact, no one played fewer snaps than him and graded out worse at his position in 2014. Scheme versatile, with success in a 4-3 in Atlanta, a 4-3 in Oakland, and a 3-4 in Kansas City, Walker will slot in as a valuable reserve 3-4 defensive end in the Broncos’ new 3-4 defense.

Walker will rotate with Malik Jackson, Derek Wolfe, and fellow free agent signing Antonio Smith at 3-4 defensive end. Sylvester Williams will slot in at nose tackle, with DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller at rush linebacker, Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan at middle linebacker, Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, and Bradley Roby at cornerback and TJ Ward and Darian Stewart at safety. The Broncos lost a lot this off-season, but they’ve made some nice, under the radar moves and will only have pressing needs on the offensive line going into the draft. They could fill those holes ahead of the draft as there are still some decent offensive linemen available in free agent. Obviously much of how this team does next season hinges on Peyton Manning and his health going into his age 39 season, but I thought this was the best overall team in football last year before Manning got hurt. With their early odds at 15-1, they’re a decent value to win next year’s Super Bowl.

Grade: A-




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