HomeTrade RumorsDenver Broncos to negotiate a contract with linebacker Josey Jewell

Denver Broncos to negotiate a contract with linebacker Josey Jewell

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Lloyd Cushenberry probably profiles as the Broncos’ top UFA-to-be, but multiple starting defenders are weeks from free agency as well. One of the team’s defensive regulars is on the radar to stay.

Although Josey Jewell arrived back in 2018, he is more closely connected to the current Denver regime than many of his teammates. Jewell and Justin Simmons were present when Vance Joseph was in place as head coach. With Joseph back as DC, the two cogs brought in to play in his system have maintained value. Denver has Simmons under contract, and the team is also interested in another Jewell deal.

The Broncos are expected to meet with Jewell’s camp at the Combine, according to 9News’ Mike Klis. Jewell played out a two-year, $11MM deal this past season, working as a regular starter alongside Alex Singleton. Jewell, Simmons and Courtland Sutton are the only players remaining from Joseph’s HC stay. The Combine runs from Feb. 26-March 4. The Broncos retain exclusive negotiating rights with Jewell until the legal tampering period starts March 11.

[RELATED: Broncos Likely To Adjust Justin Simmons’ Deal]

Denver has received solid play from its linebackers since the Jewell-Singleton tandem formed in 2022. Pro Football Focus has viewed Jewell as more consistent than Singleton, despite the latter’s whopping tackle count. Jewell delivered a versatile season to help the Broncos’ defense rally after a woeful start, totaling 108 tackles, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. PFF slotted Jewell just outside the top 40, rating Singleton — whose 177 tackles were the seventh-most any player has accumulated in a season during the 21st century — outside the top 55. Singleton is tied to a three-year, $18MM deal.

Taking advantage of what has become a modest market at ILB, the Broncos had Jewell and Singleton on manageable contracts last season. Given the volume of linebackers who signed contracts worth between $5-$8MM per year in 2023, it would surprise if Jewell, 29, commanded a far more lucrative pact this time around. The former fourth-round pick should still have some value as a dependable starter.

As the Broncos moved on from mainstays Brandon Marshall and Alexander Johnson during Jewell’s run, they have kept the Iowa alum as a starter. Denver drafted Drew Sanders in the 2023 third round, identifying him as a hybrid player also capable of edge support, so it will be interesting to see how serious the team is about retaining Jewell. The Broncos also have nose tackle Mike Purcell and safety P.J. Locke, who emerged as a productive starter during his contract year, headed for free agency.

Sean Payton was obviously not averse to restructuring deals to create cap space in New Orleans; his new team will probably head down that path soon. The Broncos are more than $24MM over the projected 2024 cap; they will not gain any space by cutting Russell Wilson, with his $35.4MM base salary already guaranteed.

On the contract front, ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold adds $2MM of Sutton’s 2024 base ($13MM) becomes guaranteed on March 17. This gives the Broncos a window to look into a move.

While the 28-year-old wide receiver was by far the team’s most productive pass catcher last season, his through-2025 contract is currently nonguaranteed. Jerry Jeudy‘s $12.99MM fifth-year option, conversely, is fully guaranteed. Rumored to be considering moving one of their top two wideouts, the Broncos also have Tim Patrick‘s $10MM-per-year deal as a tool to create cap room. Patrick, who has missed the past two seasons due to injury, is due a nonguaranteed $9.5MM base salary this year.

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