After a very quiet start to the day, the Denver Broncos made two huge moves in signing cornerback Ronald Darby and re-signing interior defensive lineman Shelby Harris.
The Broncos brought back their star IDL Shelby Harris on a 3 year, $27 million deal with $15 million guaranteed.
This was a fantastic deal for the Broncos as they were able to re-solidify their defensive line without having to break the bank. With signing a deal at $9 million per year, it was reported that Shelby Harris took a “hometown” discount, rather than fetching a larger deal in the open free agency market, so he could stay with the Broncos and Vic Fangio’s defense.
It was recognized all along that the Broncos wanted to bring back Harris, but this signing became almost necessary with the division rival Chiefs and Chargers beefing up their interior offensive lines. The Chefs signed one of the best guards in the league, former Patriot Joe Thuney, to a mega-deal and the Chargers brought in last season’s best center, Corey Linsley from the Packers.
What makes Shelby Harris so great is that he’s an all-around player; He can get after the QB, stuff the run, and is the best defensive lineman in the league at batting passes down from the line of scrimmage. This can be seen with his 16 passes defended in the last 2 seasons.
Here’s how well Shelby preformed last season:
88.3 grade (8th best among interior defenders)
83.5 pass rushing grade (6th best among interior defenders)
76.1 run stopping grade (18th best among interior defenders) https://t.co/z5VTd2Cakl
— PFF DEN Broncos (@PFF_Broncos) March 15, 2021
The Denver Broncos signed CB Ronald Darby to a 3 year, $30 million contract with $19.5 million fully guaranteed.
This a huge signing for the Broncos as the cornerback position was the biggest glaring need when looking at the roster makeup of the team.
After cutting CB AJ Bouye after one season, Broncos GM George Paton and HC Vic Fangio stated that they were going to look at adding multiple corners to the team this offseason, through both the draft and free agency.
It was reported that Ronald Darby was the Broncos top CB target heading into free agency and this is for good reason. Darby, a six-year veteran who has played with the Bills, Eagles, and most recently the Washington Football Team in 2020 is a great man-to-man, one on one cornerback. Despite the majority of Fangio’s defense playing a zone scheme, Fangio likes to have a CB1 who can man up on the outside with the opposing team’s wide receivers. Darby fits this mold and if he performs, it will allow the Broncos bets CB from last season, Bryce Callahan, to play return back to the slot and nickel corner positions where he plays best.
The big red flag with this Darby deal comes with his injury history and the amount of money he was given. When Darby was with the Eagles during the 2017-2019 seasons, he managed to miss 20 games over that time span. However, this past season with the WFT (Washington Football Team), he played a full season of 16 games, seeming to get over his injury problem. As per the amount of money that he was paid, that’s just simply the going rate for good cornerbacks in the league today, so that part really isn’t that concerning when you look at the situation as a whole.
During this past year with the WFT, Darby was a very efficient cornerback on the NFL’s second-best defense in the league. He was targeted 98 times and only gave up a single touchdown.
Over the course of his six-year NFL career, Darby has displayed great athleticism and quickness while healthy and has recorded a total of 8 interceptions in 73 total games played.
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