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Broncos, Josey Jewell have mutual interest on return

Team officials and agents for inside linebackers are expected to meet next week at Combine. Other free-agent Broncos expected to test the market with return possible

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos have several significant players who are two weeks away from becoming unrestricted free agents.

Teddy Bridgewater. Kareem Jackson. Melvin Gordon III. Bryce Callahan. Kyle Fuller. Alexander Johnson. Bobby Massie.

Among the players, the Broncos would like to sign back before he hits free agency: Josey Jewell. Sources say Broncos general manager George Paton and/or contract guru Rich Hurtado will meet with Jack Bechta, Jewell’s agent, during the NFL Scouting Combine this week in Indianapolis. There will also be meetings with agents of other Broncos’ players who are about to hit the market but there is an affinity for Jewell, a starting inside linebacker who in many ways is considered the glue to the Denver defense.

A fourth-round selection out of Iowa in 2018, Jewell is not the biggest inside linebacker at 6-foot-1, 236 pounds, nor the fastest, but he has the type of superior instincts and makeup that is consistent of a three-down player.

He has started 30 games in his four seasons, including all 16 in 2020 when he finished second on the team with 113 tackles.

It may be tricky determining Jewell’s price after he missed all but the first 1 ½ games last season with a torn pec muscle. The NFL’s mid-tier inside linebacker comes in around $3 million per year, which may be a good place to start negotiations.

All signs point to Jewell wanting to stay in Denver. Unlike other players who suffered season-ending injuries, Jewell participated in team meetings throughout the season, traveled with the team and near the end of the season participated in team stretch.

Credit: AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton
Trevor Lawrence (16) looks for a receiver as Denver Broncos linebacker Josey Jewell (47) rushes during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Broncos won’t close the door on their other free agent players, although they are expected to at least test the market. The Broncos are not expected to use the franchise tag on any of their free-agent players this year. The team must make a decision on whether to exercise a fifth-year, $6.85 million option on tight end Noah Fant, the Broncos’ first-round draft pick in 2019, by May 2nd.

The Bronco's top restricted free agents (RFAs) are outside linebacker Malik Reed, defensive lineman DeShawn Williams and backup offensive tackle Calvin Anderson. All three entered the league as undrafted rookies. The right-of-first-refusal tender would include an estimated $2.433 million salary (per Spotrac), the “same round” tender salary is about $2.5 million and the second-round tender is projected at $3.986 million.


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