KUSA—Party at the Pekos.
The Denver Broncos fortified their defensive line in a massive way Saturday by signing two-year contracts with both former Cincinnati Bengal Domata Peko and former Indianapolis Colt Zach Kerr, sources told 9News.
That’s more than 650 pounds of front-line reinforcement as the Broncos take on the enormous Oakland Raiders’ offensive line twice a year.
Once again, in John Elway, Broncos fans trust. Although the Broncos didn’t land all their targets on the first day of free agency, Elway added two new starters on their offensive line in left guard Ron Leary and right tackle Menelik Watson, and potentially two new starters on their defensive front in Peko and Kerr.
The Broncos needed defensive line help after allowing 130.3 rushing yards per game last season to rank 28th in the 32-team NFL.
Peko, 32, is the older cousin of Broncos’ defensive lineman Kyle Peko, who as an undrafted rookie played well in Denver’s final game last season.
Yes, Domata Peko is getting up there, but he also had a career-best 5.0 sacks as recently as 2015. And he may be the NFL’s most durable defensive lineman as he’s played all 16 games in 10 of his 11 seasons. That’s nothing short of remarkable.
At 6-foot-3, 322 pounds, Peko figures to replace Sylvester Williams in the middle of the Broncos’ 3-4 front. Williams signed a three-year deal Friday with the Tennessee Titans.
Peko got a two-year, $7.5 million contract from the Broncos, including $3.8 million in 2017 pay that is fully guaranteed. He is considered an ultimate locker room guy as with the Bengals he often hosted a gathering for the entire 53-man roster and their wives each year following final roster cuts.
Kerr, who will turn 27 before the season opener, has been a rotational-type player for the Colts as both a nose tackle and 3-4 defensive end. Undrafted out of Delaware in 2014, Kerr played in 12 games each of his three seasons with the Colts, then became available as a non-tendered restricted free agent.
Somebody in the Broncos’ front office or coaching staff, though, saw potential in Kerr.
The Broncos’ most glaring need now is at left tackle, although they could also use a pass-rushing outside linebacker if they don’t bring back DeMarcus Ware.
It’s possible the Broncos could address left tackle by both moving Donald Stephenson over from the right side and utilizing their No. 20 overall selection in the first round or No. 51 pick in the second.
And, no, the Broncos have not dismissed the possibility of pursuing Tony Romo if the Dallas quarterback is released.