The Denver Broncos have several players facing free agency this season, and some of them are very important to the Super Bowl 50 champions. However, there are five players who have the biggest chances to leave, for several reasons each.
Here's those five.
1. Antonio Smith (Defensive end, 34 years old)
Smith is simply a depth player at this stage in his career, and he is unlikely to be with the Broncos in 2016. Additionally, his child abuse allegations will likely hinder teams looking to sign him.
2. Malik Jackson (Defensive end, 26 years old)
Jackson is the crown jewel of this Broncos free agent class and is likely to have a huge market, according to CBS Sports. He is about to enter his prime as a pass rusher and is likely to be a building block for an up and coming contender. The Jacksonville Jaguars have already stated they are high on him, and with the large amount of cap space they command, according to the Denver Sun Times, it wouldn't shock anyone to see them steal away another Bronco (Julius Thomas).
3. Brock Osweiler (Quarterback, 25 years old)
Osweiler is in a funny position thanks to Peyton Manning's impending retirement. The Broncos will not publicly discuss Osweiler or make any solid attempt to re-sign the quarterback until Peyton announces his decision, according to the Denver Post. The Broncos are at the bottom when it comes to cap space and could free some - but not nearly enough to rival the Los Angeles Rams or San Francisco 49ers. Recent murmurs out of the 49ers camp indicate that they would like to stick with Colin Kaepernick, and if they pay his cap hit, he is going to play. This means only one team will likely be looking hard at Osweiler, the Los Angeles Rams. At $59 million they have more cap space than the Philadelphia Eagles ($30 million) and the Houston Texans ($30 million) the only other teams looking for a quarterback. Sure, the Cleveland Browns may look into Osweiler but they seem set on taking a quarterback with the second overall pick. The Broncos might be priced out of the Osweiler race unless they sign him before free agency.
4. Ronnie Hillman (Running Back, 24 years old)
Hillman was the second back in the rotation for most of the season and struggled to play an every-down role. Hillman is talented enough to help a team win, but he does not look like a running back who could take on an entire offensive workload by himself.
5. Brandon Marshall (Inside Linebacker, 26 years old)
Brandon Marshall is another big free agent coming out of Denver who may not return. If Denver signs Osweiler it is likely that they will not be able to afford Brandon Marshall, Malik Jackson, or most of their free agents. Marshall is also about to enter his prime and teams will see this as a chance to add a future star to their roster.