Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno finally broke out with a career-year in 2013 after struggling to make a mark during his first four NFL campaigns. While his career took off this season, the 26-year-old Georgia product could be playing his final game with the Broncos this Sunday at Super Bowl XLVIII.
Moreno will be a free agent this offseason, and the Broncos reportedly don’t believe they’ll be able to re-sign him for 2014. They think once he hits the open market, he’ll find a better deal than they can offer.
Moreno played in all 16 games in 2013 for the first time since his rookie season. He set career-highs in rushing yards (1,038), rushing touchdowns (10), receptions (60) and receiving yards (548). Despite preseason prognostications that he would be phased out of Denver’s offense in favor of young backs Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball, the opposite happened. As the season went on, Moreno put a stranglehold on the starting spot and never gave it up.
Moreno was the 12th pick in the 2009 NFL Draft and the Broncos selected him to be their bell cow back of the future. That never happened as he struggled to find consistency as a rookie, then split time with various other backs (Willis McGahee, Lance Ball, Correll Buckhalter, Hillman, etc.) and struggled with various injuries, including a torn ACL in 2011.
He entered the 2013 season supposedly fighting for a roster spot, but completely turned the running back competition on its head and now could be one of the most sought-after ball-carriers in free agency.
Moreno has been a nice story this season and it’s pretty clear the Broncos would love for him to return. But unless Peyton Manning retires, Denver’s cap situation isn’t going to be pretty this offseason. Moreno may be suiting up with the Broncos for the final time on Sunday.