Future of Broncos’ free agent linebackers coming into focus

Oct 18, 2018; Glendale, AZ, USA; Denver Broncos linebacker Todd Davis (51) celebrates after returning an interception for a first quarter touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With so many free agents — 27 in total — it’s tough to know where to start for the Broncos.

But Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway has shed some light on the offensive line, and he’s also done so on the team’s free agent linebackers.

Elway and head coach Vic Fangio are currently at the NFL Combine, with today’s wide receiver workouts being a top priority because it looks more and more like Denver will go receiver at No. 15 overall.

But, back to the Broncos own free agents for a bit.

On Tuesday, Elway explained the team will pick up Todd Davis’ $5 million option for this season, keeping him with Denver. Davis, a wily veteran, was a certain surprise on the Broncos defense last year, leading the team with 134 combined tackles. That includes six tackles for a loss and they came in only 14 games played.

Davis will again be one of the starters at ILB for the Broncos on 2020, but it looks like fellow veteran Corey Nelson will not be retained.

According to Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic, a source says the team will decline bringing him back following a torn biceps last year.

That means Denver may look to add a linebacker in free agency, or in the draft. So stay tuned on that front.

One more thing that seems certain, though, is the retaining of Jeremiah Attoachu. Mike Klis announced that today via twitter.

Attoachu, like Alexander Johnson and Mike Purcell, was a huge mid-season find by Fangio and his staff. The six-year veteran enjoyed his second-best season with the Broncos last year, appearing in 12 games with five starts. He totaled 21 tackles and 3.5 sacks, providing an extra bit of pass rush and playmaking ability.

Attoachu’s best play of the year came at Houston, where he recovered a fumble and smartly handed it off to teammate Kareem Jackson who took it 67 yards to the house for a touchdown.

So, as it currently stands, Denver would have Davis, Johnson and Josey Jewell starting at inside linebackers, with Miller and Chubb starting OLBs and Attoachu somewhere behind them. And then there’s also Malik Reed, who flashed at times, and the hyped Joe Jones, who is a restricted free agent. Many fans expected Jones to have a big year in 2019 but he started the season injured. Still, he should be back this year.

Quickly on the defensive line: Klis also reports the Broncos will let Adam Gotsis test free agency while they are working to get Derek Wolfe re-signed.

Free agency begins in earnest in March 18, so no deals can become official until then.

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