The Denver Broncos won’t be getting a discount from free agent defensive end Derek Wolfe this time around as he approaches free agency a second time.
If the Denver Broncos have visions of retaining most of their own free agent players, they’re going to have to get ready to pay up.
Defensive end Derek Wolfe played in just 12 games this past season, but still managed to post a career-high 7.0 sacks in Vic Fangio’s defense, and was playing at a high level not only as a pass rusher but as a run defender.
In a recent appearance on 104.3 The FAN in Denver, Wolfe vowed that he’s going to give the Broncos a chance in free agency, but that he’s not going to do what he did ‘last time’.
What does that mean, exactly? Well, the last time the Broncos re-signed Derek Wolfe, he took less than fair market value in order to stay in Denver and stick with a team he felt had special potential.
He doesn’t regret the decision to stay in Denver, but Wolfe paid a hefty price to stay in Denver through some of the worst years the team has experienced in recent memory.
So what kind of money is Wolfe going to be looking for on the open market? Despite the fact that it feels like he’s been with the Broncos for about 15 years at this point, Wolfe is only 29 going on 30 and should have a few good years left in the tank if he can stay healthy.
Staying healthy has proven difficult for Wolfe, but he’s definitely played through some tough injuries and not only that, but he’s played well.
What Wolfe brings to the table as a defensive lineman as a reliable run defender and pass rusher is something just about every team would want, and he can play a variety of positions on the defensive front.
Defensive linemen are also getting paid a lot of money even into their 30s these days, so Wolfe shouldn’t have trouble getting potentially upwards of $10 million annually on a new contract.
Will the Broncos pay that?
As well as Wolfe played in Fangio’s defense, they just might. The Broncos have plenty of cap space to work with but specifically on the defensive line, they will have options in free agency and leverage as a result.
We could see a couple of new starters on Denver’s offensive line in 2020.