Broncos will likely choose between Derek Wolfe and Shelby Harris

Jul 28, 2018; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe (95) during the first day of training camp at Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

With NFL free agency less than a month away, the Denver Broncos are faced with some critical decisions regarding their roster for the 2020 season.

It has become apparent through Broncos’ insiders that Denver intends to fill out their defense on the open market while improving their offense via April’s draft.

This makes sense, given the franchise is tailored for defense with Vic Fangio as head coach. While the Broncos will likely shell out some money on the free-agent market, there is sure to be some turnover from last season, specifically at the defensive end position.

Both Derek Wolfe and Shelby Harris are set to hit the open market, and there is a growing expectation that Denver will retain just one of the two players.

According to NFL insiders Benjamin Allbright and Tony Pauline, there is a belief Harris will sign with another team during free agency, and Wolfe will return to Denver.

Harris is expected to have a large market for his services and would prefer to play for a contender moving forward in his career. These factors, paired with the money he will fetch on the open market, makes it hard to envision a scenario where Harris returns to Denver.

That said, Wolfe has more experience and is less than two years older than Harris. Additionally, Wolfe is durable and has started every NFL game he’s played in since his professional debut in 2012.

Harris has been solid for the Broncos, logging 13 sacks and 122 tackles in three years with the orange and blue. Plus, he’s the best in the NFL at batting the ball down at the line of scrimmage. However, as Denver looks towards the future, Wolfe is a better fit in coach Fangio’s defensive scheme.

Things can change between now and the start of NFL free agency, but as it stands, it appears Denver will go in a different direction with at least one of their defensive ends.

Denver is projected to have roughly $60 million in cap space to work with. Mike Klis of 9news reports Denver will prioritize cornerbacks and defensive line, so if Harris walks, the Broncos could look to fill the void elsewhere. As we wrote last week, Ravens’ lineman Michael Pierce could fill Harris’ void if he indeed leaves.

Wolfe has been a critical component of the Broncos’ defense and a leader within Denver’s locker room for the last few seasons. As the Broncos look to return to championship contention, Wolfe’s pedigree is ideal for leading a defense, which makes him the favorite to return to the Broncos next season and beyond.

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