Darian Stewart is another player who made big money after the Broncos title run in 2015. Similar to Marshall, Stewart signed a four-year deal for the start of 2017. This deal is worth $28 million and $13 million guaranteed.
Also similar to Marshall, Stewart has significantly regressed since signing his big money deal.
Darian Stewart, an undrafted free agent from South Carolina in 2010, has been with the Denver Broncos for four seasons now after spending time with the Rams and the Ravens. The initial signing itself didn’t come with much fan fare, but Elway (with the help of Gary Kubiak) should be applauded for getting a quality player for a low-risk deal in 2015 because Stewart played an integral role as the last line of defense for that 2015 team.
His pro football focus grade after 2015 was a career high 77.9, but since that time it has only continued to go down. He regressed slightly in 2016, but still managed to make the Pro Bowl. In 2017, the wheels fell off and Stewart posted his worst pro football focus grade since his sophomore season in the league.
To be fair to Stewart though, the front line of the secondary hasn’t performed nearly as well either leaving him relatively exposed, but you expect the third-highest paid safety in the game to handle that challenge with ease.
Instead, we have a player regressing at break neck speed who can’t protect the secondary and isn’t much of a threat to come down into the box and stop the run game or spy the quarterback for that matter. On two occasions this season, Stewart has been out ran by a quarterback. One was Patrick Mahomes, but the other was the standing tree himself, Joe Flacco.
The good news is that his contract is a little easier to get out of than Brandon Marshall’s. If the Denver Broncos were to cut Stewart pre-June 1 after the 2018 season, he would only cost $2.8 million against the cap. As the season progresses this is looking more and more likely especially if the Denver Broncos feel confident that their young safety core can continue to grow in lieu of the injury bug they’ve suffered in the first quarter of this season.