George Paton isn’t messing around in free agency this year.
So far, he’s brought in offensive guard Ben Braden, formerly of the Packers, in a somewhat surprising move. Then, on Monday night, Paton and the Broncos signed D.J. Jones, a run-stuffing defensive tackle, to the squad. At 6′ and 305 pounds, Jones isn’t just a big body, he also made 10 tackles for a loss last season as well as forcing two fumbles.
Next up was the biggest signing of the free agency period thus far in Denver, as the Broncos snuck in and stole Randy Gregory from the Dallas Cowboys. Gregory, who’s missed a lot of time during his career due to suspensions and injury, was ready to sign in Dallas until the team changed his contract at the last minute and the Broncos swooped in.
Welcoming Gregory and Jones to the defense will be Josey Jewell, whom the Broncos originally selected in the 4th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He’s started 30 games since then, including all 16 in 2020 and two last year before being injured and missing the rest of the season.
Jewell was signed to a 2-year, $11 million deal per reports.
In 2020, Jewell graded out as a 68.1 overall, and he was a bit better in the run game than in pass coverage. Last year, though, he earned an 83.5 grade overall in those two games, with his coverage (84.6 grade) really sticking out as a huge improvement. A somewhat under-athletic linebacker, Jewell is tough and never gives up on plays.
It’s possible his former linebacker mate Alexander Johnson also re-signs with the Broncos, however, the team is running lower on cap space now, especially with the Gregory signing (5 years, $70M).
Denver still has needs at tight end, right tackle, slot cornerback, strong safety and backup quarterback as well as backup running back. It will be interesting to see how all the contract details shake out and exactly how much of that $23M in cap space remains following these signings.
All of Denver’s free agency deals and rumors are being updated as they happen here, on our Broncos FA Tracker.