Best/Worst Case Scenarios for Denver Broncos 2021 Free Agents
By Noah Smith
Denver Broncos 2021 free agents: Phillip Lindsay, Running back
“The Colorado Kid” signed with the Denver Broncos as an Undrafted Free Agent in 2018, and quickly earned the team’s trust as a starting running back. Throughout his first two seasons in the NFL, he became the Broncos’ most explosive player on a struggling offensive unit.
Lindsay struggled to stay healthy throughout the 2020 season and lost significant touches to Free Agent signing Melvin Gordon. Lindsay often was underutilized in the Broncos’ offense, leading to frustration from fans and Lindsay’s family.
Lindsay is a Restricted Free Agent this offseason, and the Broncos will need to pay up to make sure they keep their star running back in the Mile High City.
Best Case: The Broncos lock Lindsay up as a part of their young core on offense, and show loyalty to their home-grown talent. Lindsay will rebound from a down-year in 2020, and bring the explosiveness he showed in his first two seasons.
Worst Case: Lindsay’s party is unhappy with his role in Denver, and negotiate with a contending team. The Broncos choose not to exercise the 2nd-round tender and do not match the team’s offer, letting Lindsay walk with no reimbursement for the Broncos.
My Prediction: The Broncos tag Lindsay with a 2nd-round tender, and elect to match other teams’ offers. Lindsay stays in Denver for at least one more year.
Alexander Johnson, Linebacker
Johnson’s professional career started off on the wrong foot, with legal issues and accusations that ended his chances of playing professionally. After fighting and winning his legal cases, Johnson was signed by the Denver Broncos and has paid off as a low-risk option.
Johnson has been a mainstay at off-ball linebacker for the Broncos’ defense after making a strong debut against the Los Angeles Chargers during the 2019 season. Johnson is a restricted free agent, and a player Vic Fangio and his staff would love to have back.
Best Case: Johnson resigns with the Broncos to a team-friendly contract that keeps him in Orange and Blue for the foreseeable future. Johnson continues his strong play as an excellent run stuffer and strong blitzer.
Worst Case: The Broncos fail to negotiate a long-term contract with Johnson, and elect not to place a 2nd Round Tender on him. Johnson negotiates with a contending team looking for linebacker help, and the Broncos choose not to match his offer.
My Prediction: Johnson resigns with the Broncos on a 3-year extension, with an average of around $7.5 million per year. Johnson’s contract would put him in the middle tier of linebacker contracts and would keep him in Denver until he turns 32.