Two of the most valuable pieces of the Denver Broncos’ roster over the last two seasons, Kareem Jackson and Melvin Gordon, are unrestricted free agents and were projected to leave the team.

However, a recent conversation with general manager George Paton, courtesy of DNVR and The Afternoon Drive’s Andrew Mason, should provide Broncos Country with some optimism that Jackson and Gordon could return.

“We’ve spoken to both their agents,” Paton told the media on Sunday morning. “It’s ongoing. We’d love to bring everyone back, but we just can’t do it. We’re still talking with those two — really good players.”

While the fact there continues to be an open dialogue between the team and those players is promising, it should also be noted that Paton’s comments were about as non-committal as he could be while remaining polite.

The comment about wishing they could bring Gordon and Jackson back while acknowledging not everyone can return feels especially dubious.

With that said, Paton did still make a point to leave the door open on Jackson and Gordon’s return and it’s easy to see why.

Jackson has been a leader in the locker room and on the field for Denver’s defense, which is already set to get a good deal younger this season and could be in need of leadership. Along with his intangibles, Jackson’s also been one of the NFL’s better safeties and is an ideal scheme fit for the defense Ejiro Evero is projected to bring in. Jackson also brings a physical, imposing identity to the backend of the Broncos’ D.

Safety is also somewhat of a need, as the Broncos presently only have one proven starter on the roster. Caden Sterns could fill Jackson’s role coming off an exciting rookie year but remains unproven.

Meanwhile, Gordon has been the offensive MVP each of the past two years, tallying 1,904 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground in that span. However, giving a running back their third contract is a bad idea, and the Broncos have other options at running back, such as the absurdly talented Javonte Williams.