ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Among players whose contracts expire after this season, starting defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones and four-year starting left guard Dalton Risner are two of the Broncos’ top priorities.
Which is no big revelation considering those are the only two players remaining from the Broncos’ 2019 draft class. Jones was a third-round selection out of Ohio State; Risner came from Wiggins and Kansas State in the second round, one spot ahead of quarterback Drew Lock. (First-round tight end Noah Fant and Lock were traded away in the Russell Wilson deal; fifth-round outside linebacker Justin Hollins and sixth-round receiver Juwann Winfree were waived in their second seasons.)
There were no contract talks for Jones or Risner last week during the bye – which is when the Broncos negotiated extensions for receivers Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick last year. Then again, the Broncos were 3-5 at the bye this year. Management may want a little more time to evaluate before throwing money around.
That doesn’t mean negotiations won’t begin before season’s end. Re-signing Jones, who is having a terrific year while posting 5.5 sacks from an interior position, figures to become priority No. 1 for 2023 and beyond, especially after the Broncos traded away another pass rusher, Bradley Chubb, last week to Miami.
Jones was curt when reporters asked him Wednesday about his contract situation and whether he wanted to re-up with the team.
“I’m here right now,’’ he said.
Jones is not likely going anywhere. His worst-case scenario is the franchise tag that is projected to come in between $18 million and $20 million for defensive linemen. Again, it would not be a surprise if the Broncos started to talk dollars with Jones before the season ends.
Kareem, Simmons updates
There was some good, and some concerning news at the Broncos’ safety position Wednesday. Kareem Jackson replaced the traded Chubb as one of the Broncos’ five co-captains. Jackson, who is 34 and in his 13th NFL season, was a captain in 2021 and it was a surprise he was not among the captains this year.
“He’s a guy that’s played a lot of games and been around this league for a long time,’’ said head coach Nathaniel Hackett. “Personally, I have so much respect for him. Our team does. He’s one of the leaders of our team. He’ll be our full-time captain for the defense moving forward.”
The concern was another co-captain and starting safety, Justin Simmons, was held out of practice Wednesday with a knee sprain, an injury suffered in the game against Jacksonville in London 10 days ago. Simmons did work out on a side field Wednesday, so there is a chance he will be able to play Sunday at Tennessee.
Deep-threat receiver KJ Hamler suffered a hamstring injury Wednesday that limited him in practice. Hamler has receptions of 55, 47 and 47 yards in three of the past five games.
Superstition halts fashion police
Because they won while wearing road uniforms that featured blue-striped, white tops and orange-striped, blue pants, Broncos players voted again to wear the same combination for their game Sunday in Tennessee. The stripes don’t match up, but superstition has always been a part of sports.
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