The Denver Broncos lost another veteran player to free agency Friday morning. Nate Irving, an unrestricted free agent has reportedly found his new home.
The five-year veteran inside linebacker has agreed to a three-year deal worth $9.25 million with the Indianapolis Colts, according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson. Irving garnered interest from several teams despite his knee injury in 2014.
Irving was drafted by the Broncos out of North Carolina State University in 2011 in the hopes that he would become a mainstay in the middle of Denver’s defense. After several seasons in which he could not keep the starting middle linebacker job he appeared to be on track in 2014.
After starting only four games in the previous three seasons he began 2014 with eight starts and was a leading tackler on the defense. In the week three loss to the Seattle Seahawks he was all over the field, racking up 11 solo tackles and 13 total in the contest. While he continued to struggle in pass coverage his run stopping ability was excellent. He was on pace to finish as the team’s leading tackler with 46 tackles after only eight games.
In week nine he suffered a knee injury that eventually required surgery and he was placed on injured reserve. His failure to sustain success in his early seasons coupled with his recent injury appears to have slowed the interest in free agency. The Colts reportedly agreed to a favorable deal for Irving and his future.
It seems that once again the Broncos took the approach of watching from the sidelines when addressing Irving. Other teammates like Julius Thomas, Orlando Franklin and Terrence Knighton also received little, to no communication from the Broncos before their departures to other franchises.
The Broncos appear to be happy with Danny Trevathan (a unrestricted free agent in 2016) and recently signed Brandon Marshall (one-year, $585,000) starting as the two inside linebackers in Wade Phillips 3-4.