Bunkley's departure is a blow in Denver

March, 21, 2012
3/21/12
3:45
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It will be lost in the specter of Peyton Manning’s arrival and Tim Tebow’s departure, the loss of Brodrick Bunkley is significant in Denver.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Bunkley has signed a five-year, $25 million deal with the Saints with $9 million in guaranteed money. It is a pricey deal, but he’s a valuable player.

Many scouts thought Bunkley was a key to Denver’s defensive success last year. An underrated player, he was a major cog in the middle.

This is a blow for a defense that must continue to get better. The Broncos needed to add to the position even if they brought back Bunkley. Now, they need several additions to the spot. They need to bring back Marcus Thomas and make other additions. Among the free-agent defensive tackles available are Antonio Garay, Aubrayo Franklin, Trevor Laws and Pat Sims.

Expect Denver to take a defensive tackle (it’s a strong class) with the No. 25 pick. The last time Denver took a defensive tackle in the first round was in 1997 when they took Trevor Pryce. Meanwhile, the Broncos, who are in talks with several defensive free agents, need to continue to get the overall unit better.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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