This past season, all looked well for the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos as they embarked on winning a second straight NFL championship. Gary Kubiak’s club got off to a 4-0 start and their defense looked pretty formidable. New quarterback Trevor Siemian was more than holding its own. But then something went wrong in the Mile High City. The team’s ground attack faltered and a tough defensive unit suddenly forgot how to stop the run. The result was seven losses in their final 12 outings. A 9-7 finish put them in third place in the AFC West. The Broncos missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

But there’s not rest for the dethroned. Vance Joseph is the team’s new head coach. We are basically two days away (March 9 at 4 p.m. ET) from the start of free agency and a new fiscal year for the National Football League. So which key prospective free agent will general manager John Elway choose to keep? Who will he allow to test the market? Let’s take a look.

Bring him back

He has had his share of health issues in recent seasons. After playing all 16 games in 2014 in his first season with the Denver Broncos, outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware has been limited to a combined 21 regular-season contests the past two years. But when available, he remains a difference maker. When teamed with Von Miller, the former Dallas Cowboys star makes Denver’s pass rush very dangerous.

In three years in the Mile High City, Ware has totaled 21.5 sacks in 37 contests. But he comes off a 2016 campaign in which he managed career lows in games played (10) and sacks (4). Then again, the nine-time Pro Bowler and his 138.5 career sacks (35 forced fumbles) have earned the benefit of the doubt.

The Broncos would be wise to invest at least a one-year contract on the savvy pro.

Let him go

You may remember that some time ago, the Denver Broncos chose not to pick up the fifth-year option on nose tackle Sylvester Williams. With the exception of a strong postseason run in 2015 (when the club captured Super Bowl 50 and eventually defeated the Carolina Panthers), the 28th overall pick in the 2013 draft has been somewhat of a disappointment.

Ironically, he comes off a season in which he started all 16 games for the first time in his four-year career. But the team hopes to upgrade its run defense and don’t be surprised if Elway addresses this area early in free agency.

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