ENGLEWOOD — Ten things about the first two days of the NFL's free agent negotiating period:
1. The "legal tampering" window should be abolished. First, the name is stupid. Second, it serves no purpose. The league should announce the date and time when signings and trades can be executed and every team can start from there. No negotiating window. No players potentially backing out on verbal agreements (like linebacker Anthony Barr did Tuesday, returning to Minnesota after committing to the Jets). No having to talk about "intends to sign with," "agree to terms," and other mumbo jumbo.
2. Did the Broncos get better by trading for quarterback Joe Flacco and agreeing to terms with right tackle Ju'Wuan James and cornerback/safety Kareem Jackson? Easy question. Tough answer.
3. The Broncos did upgrade at quarterback — we've made that clear. They definitely got better at No. 2 cornerback (Jackson instead of Bradley Roby). Right tackle is a tough one. When healthy, Jared Veldheer was more than serviceable. But in making James the league's highest-paid right tackle (four years, $51 million), general manager John Elway is expecting improvement for at least the next three years.
4. OK, the Broncos are better at three positions. But does that move them up a rung into the AFC West and into wild-card contention? Not yet. Unless something develops out of thin air, they're waiting to address tight end until the draft and should also add a cornerback, a cover linebacker, a safety and multiple offensive linemen.
5. About the offensive line: James (right tackle), Ron Leary (left guard) and Garett Bolles (left tackle) are locked in. The Broncos made the correct decision in letting center Matt Paradis leave for Carolina. He has had three major injuries — surgeries on both hips after the 2016 season and a broken leg last year. Buyer beware. Connor McGovern finished 2018 as the center but had issues with his shotgun snaps. At right guard, converted tackle Elijah Wilkinson finished the year there. The draft will be critical.
6. The Broncos lost guard/tackle Billy Turner to the Green Bay Packers for a reported four-year $28 million deal. The Packers are taking a risk if they want Turner to play right tackle. Last year for the Broncos, per the Denver Post's game charting, he played better at right guard. We booked him for 18 ½ "disruptions" in pass protection (including 3 ½ sacks) and 13 ½ "bad run" plays (gain of three or fewer yards). His two poorest games were at right tackle - two sacks allowed against the Jets and 1 ½ sacks by Kansas City.
7. Roby became the latest Broncos first-round pick to depart, agreeing to a one-year contract with the Houston Texans. We were underwhelmed watching Roby play in 2018. We booked him for 10 missed tackles, eight completions of at least 20 yards and six touchdowns. A wise decision by Elway to move on from Roby.
8. So much for the depth of the safety market bringing down the prices. Landon Collins ($14 million average with Washington), Tyrann Mathieu ($14 million with Kansas City) and Adrian Amos ($9 million with Green Bay) hit the jackpot.
9. Teams that will sign at least two free agents to multi-year contracts averaging at least $10 million: The Broncos (James/Jackson), Green Bay (linebackers Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith) and Oakland (left tackle Trent Brown and safety Lamarcus Joyner).
10. The league executive we spoke to last week hit guard Rodger Saffold's average salary on the head — $11 million average (four years, $44 million) to join the Tennessee Titans.
Broncos to play Falcons in HOF Game
What was expected for more than a month became official Tuesday when the Broncos announced they will play the Atlanta Falcons in the Aug.1 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game ahead of the induction of owner Pat Bowlen and cornerback Champ Bailey.