Broncos: A case to bring back safety Will Parks in 2021
Will Parks is once again on the market, and it could be wise for the Broncos to bring him back.
As the new league year begins, all eyes are set on new Broncos GM, George Paton, who has yet to show all his cards in his first free agency period in Denver.
Earlier this week, Paton and the Broncos chose to decline Kareem Jackson’s contract option. The move freed up about $10 million in cap space and a huge hole in Fangio’s defense along with it.
Jackson’s hard-nosed play style was a staple in Fangio’s defense. In his short tenure in Denver, Jackson posted 160 tackles, three interceptions, and a touchdown along with a hard-hitting highlight reel Broncos fans can cherish forever.
Aside from freeing up some cap space, the upside of this move was its timing. Now, Paton should have plenty of time to search for his replacement guy, whether it be through the upcoming draft or free agency.
An easy place to start could be with a familiar face to both Paton and the Broncos, Will Parks.
Parks should expect a decent market this year. However, like many other hybrid-style players in the league, if Parks is not utilized correctly, he could quickly lose his value on a team. We saw this when he signed with his hometown Philadelphia Eagles last offseason.
His first season in Philly got off to a slow start after he suffered a hamstring injury in training camp. But upon his return, the Eagles struggled to find ways to utilize him in their defensive sets. In only six games with the Eagles, Parks averaged only 13 snaps a game. That number spiked to 50 once he reunited with the Broncos for the final four games of the season.
After his short stint with the Eagles last year, other teams may feel hesitant to offer him up a big payday, making him a cheaper option in the free agency for the Broncos.
Granted, Parks may not be the long-term solution for the Broncos in terms of starting alongside Justin Simmons, but his fit with the team makes too much sense not to bring him back to Denver.
Parks, who was originally drafted by the Broncos in 2016, is already familiar with Fangio’s defense.
In just one season under Fangio, Parks was utilized as a safety, dime linebacker, and nickel corner. The amount of versatility Parks brings to the Broncos is indisputable.
After last season’s plethora of injuries, the ability to be versatile should not be overlooked by the Denver Broncos.
When about Parks, Fangio said:
"He can play safety as you’ve seen him do some for us. He can play the dime position, which is very similar to the nickel position. He does like playing football and he’s a good guy to have on your team. I enjoy being around him and I think everybody does.Vic Fangio (via Broncos PR)"
There’s a chance George Paton might view Will Parks in a similar manner. Despite being claimed by the Broncos last year after being waived by the Eagles, Parks also drew in claims from the Minnesota Vikings.
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Now whether Paton had anything to do with the claim as an assistant GM or not, is left to our imagination. But, with Jackson’s departure from Denver, it is certainly something to keep a close eye on.