ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Add another comeback for John Elway.
After sticking to his disciplined spending plan and consequently getting outbid Tuesday for defensive tackles D.J. Reader and Quinton Jefferson, Elway, the former Hall of Fame quarterback who is in his 10th season as Broncos’ general manager, acquired a much more accomplished defensive tackle in Jurrell Casey on Wednesday morning.
9NEWS was the first to report the Broncos had acquired the 6-1, 306-pound Casey, a five-time Pro Bowler, from the Tennessee Titans in exchange for a Day 3 draft pick that turned out to be the No. 237, seventh-round selection Denver acquired along with cornerback Duke Dawson Jr. from New England last fall.
Casey has rare interior pass-rush skills – he had 45.5 sacks in his last seven seasons. He had 7.0 sacks in 2018 and 5.0 sacks in 2019 and he doesn’t turn 31 until December.
The reason the Broncos got him for such little compensation is they assumed his rather large remaining contract that will pay him $11.787 million this season and $12.28 million in 2021.
Then again, the Broncos offered Reader a $12 million a year deal and he wound up taking the $13.25 million annual average from the lowly Cincinnati Bengals.
It’s the second time this offseason Elway took a cost-certainty approach for a proven Pro Bowler whose contract came from yesteryear’s market rather than pay an inflated price from the current market.
Prior to free agency, Elway acquired Pro Bowl cornerback A.J. Bouye from Jacksonville in exchange for a late, fourth-round pick. Bouye will make $13.5 million each of the next two years – but fellow corners Byron Jones ($16.5 million annual average), James Bradberry ($15 million per) and Trae Waynes ($14 million) just reached agreements on richer deals.
The Broncos entered free agency with four primary needs: Defensive line (Casey), cornerback (Bouye), right guard (Graham Glasgow, who got a four-year, $44 million deal as the top offensive lineman in the market) and backup quarterback (Jeff Driskel, 2 years, $5 million).
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