Broncos make their second free agent signing in DT D.J. Jones, a run-stuffer

DJ Jones tackling Kyler Murray. Credit: Chris Coduto, USA TODAY Sports.
DJ Jones tackling Kyler Murray. Credit: Chris Coduto, USA TODAY Sports.

While most of the NFL started the free agency period quickly, the Denver Broncos sat back and waited for most of Monday.

But this evening, they signed guard Ben Braden, formerly with the Packers, as their first of the 2022 free agency period. Braden played in Nathaniel Hackett’s offense, though he is a somewhat surprising signing considering Dalton Risner and Graham Glasgow were set to be starters at the guard spots this year. And neither are suited to playing tackle, which the Broncos still need.

But the bigger news was the signing of D.J. Jones, the defensive tackle who’s played the last five years with the San Francisco 49ers. According to Ian Rapoport, the Broncos signed Jones for three years and $30 million, with $20 million guaranteed.

Jones is a 6’3″ 305-pound run-stuffing machine. And in 2021, he enjoyed his best season statistically with 46 total tackles, 10 tackles for a loss. His 73.7 overall grade by Pro Football Focus was the best of his career, by far, too. That ranked 18th-best in the league, and included two sacks and two forced fumbles last year as well.

And according to his grades, he will be a slight upgrade over Mike Purcell overall. Which is saying something, because Purcell was dominant as a run-stopping defensive tackle, at times. Last year, Jones enjoyed four games with 5-plus tackles, including a 7-tackle game against Seattle and an 8-tackle game against the Cardinals.

Overall, Jones fills a massive need in the middle of the defensive line. The Broncos still have multiple other holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball, however, like defensive end, edge, two inside linebackers and strong safety.

We have all the news and rumors about who the Broncos are pursuing on our Free Agency Tracker, but there are names-a-plenty.

Chandler Jones and Randy Gregory are possibilities at edge rusher, though Jones seems to be the favorite. Russell Wilson is trying to recruit Bobby Wagner to join the Broncos at inside linebacker, and the Broncos are expected to be in the mix for offensive tackle La’El Collins.

As Denver continues to build a championship contender, there will be many more moves over the next few days. We will keep you up to date.

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