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Respect leads tough tackling Alex Singleton to Denver

Signing is key as Broncos shifting Baron Browning to outside linebacker. Team also added safety J.R. Reed and backup QB Josh Johnson on one-year deals.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Alex Singleton had multiple teams interested in retaining his services as a two-time, 120-plus tackle inside linebacker, including one who offered more money than what he got from the Broncos.

So why did he sign up with Denver on a one-year, barely-above-the-minimum $1.1 million fully-guaranteed deal?

“For the last week, talking to teams and talking to personnel and everything, this was one of the places that showed me the most respect,’’ Singleton said in a Zoom press conference with the Denver media Tuesday. “Showed me what I’ll be able to do for them. So the second that happened it was a pretty easy decision for me to make to want to come here. I’m here to compete. I’m here to help make this the best team in the AFC West and the best team in the NFL.’’

RELATED: Sutton, Patrick convert contracts to save Broncos $12.5M in cap space

He does figure to start alongside Josey Jewell as the Broncos’ two inside linebackers in Ejiro Evero’s 3-4 set. The Broncos are moving second-year player Baron Browning from inside linebacker to outside linebacker, a source told 9News. Browning went through similar inside-outside linebacker shifts at Ohio State before he became a Broncos' third-round draft selection last year.

Undrafted out of Montana State in 2015, Singleton first signed with the Seattle Seahawks where he spent the offseason, training camp and preseason before he was cut in September and started bouncing around, first to various practice squads, then to the Canadian Football League and Calgary for three seasons.

He then caught on with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2019 and became their leading tackler with 120 in 2020 and 137 in 2021. He also had a pick six in each of the past two years. For all that, he was non-tendered as a restricted free agent and the free-agent market was brutal for most inside linebackers this year, although Singleton, 28, can make another $750,000 in play-time incentives with the Broncos.

Credit: AP Photo/Steve Luciano
New York Giants safety J.R. Reed (27) in coverage during an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. The New York Giants defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 13-7. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)

 Like outside linebacker Randy Gregory, Singleton was a free agent who found Russell Wilson’s presence as Denver’s new quarterback a factor in joining the team.

“I was lucky enough to have spent part of the 2015 season in Seattle,’’ Singleton said. “They had just come off back to back Super Bowl appearances, winning one. Seeing how Russell conducted himself then, and obviously getting to play against him when I was in Philadelphia --  we played in (2019) multiple times those years. Talking to him, the leader he was for me as a younger pro in this league, to come full circle and now to become teammates again, to me on a personal level it’s what made it exciting about coming here. Knowing the leader he is on and off the field. And he’s a winner. The years we’ve all watched him. He’s a guy who leads teams to win. That’s what this league is all about is getting the Ws.’’

RELATED: Gregory addresses troubled past head on during introductory news conference

The Broncos also reached a one-year, $895,000 agreement with safety/special teamer J.R. Reed and one-year deal worth $1.22 million with backup quarterback Josh Johnson.

Singleton, Reed and Johnson were all at Broncos headquarters for the first time Monday.

Credit: AP
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Josh Johnson throws before an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

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