Feb 19, 2007
You might have missed it late last week, but the Broncos exercised an option bonus on WR Javon Walker for $10.7 million. Had they not done that, the rest of his five-year contract would have been voided and Walker would have become a free agent on March 2nd.
The deal Walker signed last year with Denver was basically set up for the team to have an out had Walker not proved he was recovered from 2005’s devastating knee injury. I certainly had doubts about Walker’s ability to return to form right away, on his new team, and with Jake Plummer throwing him the ball. But while Walker wasn’t a beast by any stretch, he looked great. He was all the Broncos hoped for and more, so they wisely locked him up.
So now the Broncos are set with a stud #1 WR for years to come, but the great thing for their franchise is that they were able to secure a future stud QB in 2006’s draft, so they are poised to have one of the best QB-WR combos in Jay Cutler and Walker.
Cutler may still be a little rough around the edges in 2007, but there is no question he has everything it takes to be one of the best at the position. His 54-yard score to Walker in Week Fifteen, for example, might have been the best throw of the season – by any QB.
Some of the lessons I’ve learned on WRs is that they need to command the ball, and they need to be compete receivers. Walker may not be perfect, but he is clearly an elite talent and is very close to being considered a truly elite receiver. He commands the ball, and he’s a complete receiver. Walker may not catch 90+ balls in Mike Shanahan’s offense that typically spreads the ball around, but he’s going to make a lot of big plays this year, thanks to Cutler, which will more than make up for any possible limitations in the catch department.I think I’ll be comfortable drafting Cutler as my starter in 2007, and I know I’ll be thrilled to get Walker as my #1 fantasy WR.