The Denver Broncos and John Elway locked up a valuable free agent Tuesday when they agreed to terms with Virgil Green. The team stated they signed the veteran tight end to a three-year contract.

Green, entering his fifth season with the team, will have a big role in Gary Kubiak’s zone blocking scheme and his return was a very important start to the Broncos free agency period. Green was garnering interest from several teams before he decided to return to the team that drafted him in 2011.

“Virgil has been a big part of our team the last four years and will continue to be in the future,” Elway said in a team statement Tuesday. “He’s been a reliable, solid contributor since the day he was drafted. We’re very excited Virgil is returning to the Broncos.”

He has been utilized as a blocking tight end and his presence was missed when he was sidelined this season for three games due to a calf injury. In his four seasons in Denver he has caught 23 passes for 206 yards and one touchdown.

Green has been a jack of all trades and has a reputation for being a hard worker. In late November, he described his mindset as a blocker and teammate, traits that the Broncos have come to love.

“I’m just trying to get out there and just do my job,” Green said. “All I can do is just play and do what is asked of me.”

He has lined up just about everywhere on a football field and his role will be just as important as it has been in the past when the offense transitions into a different style in 2015. His 6’3”, 249 pound frame has and will continue to be well suited to block the edge for the likes of C.J. Anderson and Montee Ball. Pro Football Focus gave Green a 5.7 overall grade in 2014 and his 5.5 run blocking grade ranked fourth best in the NFL.

With the likely departure of Julius Thomas, signing Green early is a big sigh of relief for John Elway and the Broncos.

Mike Klis of the Denver Post reported Tuesday afternoon that the Broncos are flying in veteran tight end Owen Daniels to speak with the organization. Daniels played his entire career under Gary Kubiak in Houston and last season with the Baltimore Ravens. He would be a steady, reliable veteran replacement for Thomas who reportedly will sign a multi-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Earlier in the day the Broncos also agreed to a new, one-year contract with backup linebacker Steven Johnson.

Johnson (6’1”, 237 pounds) is also entering his fifth year in the NFL. He has been a reliable special teams player and has also performed admirably at linebacker when stepping in for injured players. In 2014 he started seven games and had 22 tackles at the middle linebacker position.

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