BRONCOS

ESPN projects just one top 50 NFL free agent to pick the Broncos

Feb 21, 2024, 2:18 PM

The Denver Broncos haven’t been to the playoffs since 2015 and they need talent in a lot of spots. Unfortunately for the orange and blue, the team won’t have much cap space this offseason—which is leading many to believe the Broncos could be shipping out players before acquiring improvements.

However, it’s known that Denver will need to address multiple positions no matter what. Obviously, there’s the question at quarterback with it being expected that veteran Russell Wilson will be cut. Just as big as the hole behind center is the one in the middle of Denver’s defense. Josey Jewell has been a key figure for the Broncos for six seasons but he’s a free agent and expected to command a salary that might be out of Denver’s reach.

The Broncos are already $25 million over the cap and then there’s going to be a hit of over $80 million for cutting Russell Wilson, a giant number that could be spread out over two seasons. That still leaves the Broncos in the hole, and needing about $60 million in savings this fall.

Jewell just finished a two-year $11 million deal, and Mike Kils of 9News says the Broncos will negotiate with the linebacker. But an extension to Jonas Griffith last week might be a hint from Denver that they’re planning to move on from Jewell.

If Denver does move on, that’s where a top-50 free agent would come in. ESPN projects Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen to end up in the Mile High City.

With Josey Jewell hitting free agency, the Broncos could opt to replace him with Queen, who can clean up in the run game, drop in coverage and create pressure on blitz stunts. In addition to 133 tackles, Queen chipped in 3.5 sacks and 18 pressures last season in Baltimore. He would bring a physical and productive presence to the middle of the Denver defense.

Jewell has made over 100 tackles in three of the last four seasons and has added 7.5 sacks, five forced and fumble recoveries, as well as 21 passes defended and two picks.

Queen is younger at 24 and has already appeared in a Pro Bowl. He’s had 98 or more tackles in each of his four pro seasons since being selected in the first round out of LSU. He’s also picked up 13.5 sacks, forced five and recovered five fumbles, as well as has defended 15 passes and snagged four picks.

No doubt it would be an upgrade for Vance Joseph’s unit in year two with him at the helm under Sean Payton. And it would be a huge help for that defense, which plays Alex Singleton right next to that spot.

Again, thanks to the cap space, the Broncos might only have the money to make one or two impact moves in free agency and adding Queen certainly makes a lot of sense. ESPN ranked Queen the 33rd best free agent in this year’s class.

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ESPN projects just one top 50 NFL free agent to pick the Broncos