The Denver Broncos have cost-effective depth in the pass rush department behind Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. Shane Ray & Shaquil Barrett will be huge…
Chalk it up as a win for the front office and scouting department, as well as the coaches for player development, but the Denver Broncos have a major steal on their hands in edge rusher Shaquil Barrett.
Barrett was an undrafted free agent in 2014 that could have easily made the roster, but the Broncos opted to risk putting him on waivers and getting him through to the practice squad. He made it, and ultimately ended his rookie season on the active roster.
In 2015, Barrett’s production in the preseason and training camp were too difficult to ignore, and he became the Broncos’ top backup to Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. He was really productive early on in the season, and continued to provide the team with impact off the sideline through the playoffs.
Joining him in 2015 was rookie Shane Ray, the team’s first round pick. Ray had a great finish to the 2015 season and an excellent postseason, and looks primed for a major role in 2016.
Wade Phillips spoke incredibly highly of both players when asked about the impact of DeMarcus Ware’s possible absence to start the season…
“If he’s not ready, [OLB] Shaquil [Barrett] and Shane could be starters on any team in the National Football League. Shaq has been flawless in the secondary, been flawless in the pass-rush, flawless in run-game.”
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The great news for the Broncos after just signing Von Miller to the richest contract for a defensive player in the history of the league? Both Barrett and Ray are cost-effective options for the foreseeable future.
There’s always the possibility of a holdout, but as it currently stands, the Broncos have Ray under contract through 2019 with a cap hit that doesn’t ever reach $3 million. They have Barrett under contract through next season as an ERFA, and all the Broncos have to do is tender him and he has no choice but to return under that designation.
With DeMarcus Ware’s $10 million coming off the books next offseason, the Broncos are in really good shape with their depth alongside Von Miller, and can use the draft/free agency to add even more talent in the pass rush department.