ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — On Sunday, Broncos owners Greg and Carrie Penner met with head coach Sean Payton, general manager George Paton and contract/salary cap guru Rich Hurtado at the team's UCHealth Training Center headquarters, sources told 9NEWS.
The meeting was to discuss the budget and strategy the Broncos' football brass would use to carry out their plan for free agency. Their were analytical analysis, value charts, prioritized lists of players at each position and Payton and Paton explanations, philosophies and beliefs.
The budget was apparently bountiful. The execution couldn't have been far from perfect.
When the Broncos reached agreement Monday evening with Arizona Cardinals' defensive tackle Zach Allen, their one-day haul on the first day of free agency: Six players for a total investment of $219.25 million.
Allen, who played his first four and previous four seasons in Arizona for defensive coordinator Vance Joseph -- who now holds the same position with the Denver Broncos -- received a three-year, $45.75 million deal, a source confirmed to 9NEWS.
Allen is 25 years old, 6-foot-4, 281 pounds and a third-round pick out of Boston College in 2019. A 2 ½-year starter, Allen posted 9.5 sacks the past two seasons from the interior position while becoming stronger against the run each year.
He may not be quite as talented an interior pass rusher as Dre'Mont Jones, but the Broncos apparently deemed Allen at $15.25 million a year a better value than Jones, who left Denver via free agency for the Seattle Seahawks reportedly at $17.17 million a year. Allen is a little bigger and considered sturdier against the run.
Jones was the Broncos' third-round draft pick in 2019, No. 71 overall -- six spots behind where the Cardinals took Allen. Jones had 6.5 sacks in 13 games for the Broncos last season, 22 in his four years here.
Monday was essentially the first day of NFL free agency as teams were free to negotiate contracts with unrestricted players from other teams. The contracts can't be signed until 2 p.m. Wednesday but that is simply a formality. By the time the Broncos' Monday group of players are finished signing Wednesday, the clock could be pushing the dinner hour.
A look at the Broncos' first day acquisitions and total investment spent:
- RT, Mike McGlinchey, 5 years, $87.5 million
- LG Ben Powers, 4 years, $52 million
- DT Zach Allen, 3 years, $45.75 million
- ILB Alex Singleton, 3 years, $18 million
- QB Jarrett Stidham, 2 years, $10 million
- TE Chris Manhertz, 2 years, $6 million
Total investment: $219.25 million
Has it been mentioned Rob Walton, Greg Penner and Carrie Penner, who bought the Broncos in August for a record $4.65 billion, are the richest owners in sports? Just as significantly, Greg Penner as the team's CEO, has authorized spending big money to help improve a Broncos team that was 5-12 last year and has suffered six consecutive losing seasons.
It is also worth remembering the Broncos had little choice but to spend big in free agency because in the past year the team traded away three, first-round draft picks and three second-round selections in exchange for their starting quarterback (Russell Wilson) and head coach (Sean Payton).
Ideally, the Broncos would want less free agent spending and greater reliance on draft picks in their annual roster retooling. But in the interim, roughly $220 million in one-day player investment will do.
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