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Broncos reach 3-year deal with defensive tackle D.J. Jones

The 305-pound Jones should help Russell Wilson get the ball back when down one score and 4-plus minutes remaining.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — For all the overhyped praise the Denver defense received this past season, there were three games when their inability to stop the run led directly to three defeats.

In a 17-14 loss in late October at the Cleveland Browns, Denver’s D needed just one stop to give its offense a chance to tie or win it. The Browns with their two top running backs out with injuries ran off the final 5 minutes, 12 seconds as Teddy Bridgewater and the Broncos’ offense had zero chance to pull off a comeback drive.

 In a 30-13 upset loss at home to the then 3-6 Eagles, the Broncos, coming off what should have been a momentum-changing upset win at Dallas, allowed Philadelphia to completely control the game with 216 yards rushing off 39 carries.

And then on the day after Christmas, the Broncos battled the Raiders to keep it close, 17-13. The Raiders, one of the league’s worst rushing teams, nevertheless ran off the final 3:54 in leaving the Broncos’ offense to watch helplessly from the bench.

Denver’s D may have finished strong statistically overall, ranking No. 3 in points allowed and No. 8 in yards allowed, but it didn’t play the best complementary defense. Thus, the Broncos agreement Monday night with burly San Francisco defensive tackle D.J. Jones filled a huge need.

Sources confirmed to 9NEWS that Jones will get a three-year, $30 million contract once the new league season officially opens at 2 p.m. MDT Wednesday.

RELATED: Former Broncos QB Bridgewater reaches one-year agreement with his hometown Dolphins

Credit: AP
San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle D.J. Jones (93) reacts on the field prior to an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Jennifer Stewart)

Jones, 27, only had 2.0 sacks last year and 7.0 sacks in his five-year career with the 49ers. But when the Broncos are down one score with 4-plus minutes remaining, the 305-pound Jones can help get the ball back to Russell Wilson and the Denver offense.

Jones started and played well in playoff games two months ago against the Packers, a 13-10 win, and Rams, a 20-17 loss. The Packers' offensive coordinator was Nathaniel Hackett, who is now the Broncos' head coach and the Rams' secondary coach, Ejiro Evero, is now Denver's first-year defensive coordinator.

Jones is a bit of a character. He proposed to his girlfirend Kayla prior to a 2019 Monday night game against Cleveland from the sidelines of the 49ers Levi's Stadium. His dad, "Big Dave," owns a BBQ and catering business based on two sauces. Jones also uses his platform as an NFL player to help charitable causes for the homeless and children.

After attending two years of junior college, Jones finished his college career at Ole Miss and was a 6th-round draft pick of the 49ers in 2017. He became a starter with four games left in the 2017 season.

Jones and Packers backup offensive lineman Ben Braden, who got a one-year deal, were the Broncos’ two purchases on the first day of free agent negotiations Monday. Jones fills a void created when Shelby Harris was part of the trade that brought the quarterback Wilson from Seattle last week. Not that Jones and Harris are the same player. Harris is more of a backfield penetrator who had 14.5 sacks the past three seasons.

Jones is tougher against the run who can still bring a complementary interior push so the edge rushers can work. Broncos general manager George Paton is working to try and bring in a prominent edge rusher from free agency.

RELATED: 9 free agents who may draw Broncos interest

Credit: AP
San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle D.J. Jones (93) celebrates after sacking Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

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