Denver Broncos top 15 free agent signings of all-time

Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /
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Neil Smith, Denver Broncos
Neil Smith, Denver Broncos. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport /

player. 45. . DE. (1997-99). Neil Smith. 4

Neil Smith was the second overall pick in the 1988 NFL Draft out of Nebraska by the Kansas City Chiefs.

That is perhaps the most satisfying thing about his standing on this list.

Smith was a lifelong Chief before coming to the Broncos and bringing home the hardware. If you’re a Chiefs fan reading this, how about that?

Smith had made five Pro Bowls with the Chiefs. But when he hit free agency at the age of 31, he went title chasing. After a legendary career with the Chiefs, Smith brought his signature style of play to Denver, where he made the Pro Bowl in 1997 and helped the team win their first championship in franchise history.

Though Smith was the NFL’s sack leader in his days with the Chiefs and wasn’t quite that dominant in Denver, he was one of the pieces clearly missing from Denver’s teams in the 1990s that they needed to push them over the top.

Smith was a modern-era athlete playing in an era of football that literally had to create rules for the way he played.

At 6-foot-4, 260 pounds, Smith ran a 4.55-second 40-yard dash and had a wingspan bigger than 7-foot-1.

This guy was freakish.

He put together three very strong seasons for the Broncos with 19 sacks in 43 games.