Broncos: 7 free agent defensive linemen the team could sign in 2021

Denver Broncos 2021 free agent target Jaleel Johnson. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos 2021 free agent target Jaleel Johnson. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /
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Denver Broncos, Shelby Harris
Denver Broncos DL #96 Shelby Harris. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos only have a couple of weeks before the start of the 2021 free agent signing period.

The Broncos, under new general manager George Paton, have already started freeing up a bunch of cap space by cutting veterans like cornerback AJ Bouye and defensive lineman Jurrell Casey.

After Casey’s release, the Broncos’ defensive line has a top three of Dre’Mont Jones, Mike Purcell, and McTelvin Agim.

Shelby Harris is a free agent, and with top 2020 acquisition Jurrell Casey also not in the team’s 2021 plans, the Broncos will need to look to 2021 free agency to add to their rotation on the defensive line.

While it might not be likely to expect the Broncos to pursue a big-money free agent like Leonard Williams of the Giants, there are a variety of players available who could make sense for the team to pursue.

Even before a majority of teams have made substantial roster cuts, there are seven players I think could make sense for George Paton to look into signing, even possibly going after two of these players with the youth the Broncos already have in the rotation.

1. Shelby Harris, Broncos (age: 30 in August)

After playing last year on a one-year, $3.25 million contract, Shelby Harris figures to get a sizeable raise in 2021.

Of course, this is what everyone thought last year as well.

Harris is now another year older (30 in August) but he is playing at a very high level. He loves playing in Vic Fangio’s defense and has on multiple occasions cited that as a reason he chose to return to Denver in 2020.

The fact of the matter is, the Broncos have gotten Harris at a bargain price for basically his entire NFL career. Will he finally get the big pay day he deserves?

His free agency value is incredibly hard to predict at this point. In two seasons with Vic Fangio, Harris has been extremely impactful playing 60 and 43 percent of the team’s snaps respectively.

How high are the Broncos willing to go here? If they can get Harris on a multi-year deal worth less than $8 million per season, they should probably jump at that chance.