6. Restricted free agents and Exclusive Rights free agents
The Denver Broncos took care of some housekeeping when they gave restricted free agent tenders and exclusive rights free agent tenders to a number of players — starters and backups alike — on both sides of the ball.
Tim Patrick, WR
Patrick received a second-round RFA tender from the Denver Broncos, essentially preventing other teams from going after him.
Bringing Patrick back on the second-round tender was a no-brainer after his breakout 2020 season. Patrick became almost the WR1 of the Broncos after Courtland Sutton went down with a season-ending injury.
His value has now been proven with Sutton going down. It will be fascinating to see if 2021 is the final year he plays in Denver before getting perhaps a better chance elsewhere in free agency, but for now, he’s an outstanding playmaker to have among the Broncos’ top four receivers.
Alexander Johnson, LB
The other player to get a second-round RFA tender from the Broncos was linebacker Alexander Johnson, who has become a starter and a very good one.
Johnson was inserted into the lineup after a couple of bad games by the Broncos’ run defense to open the 2019 season, and he has not looked back.
He’s become one of the most consistently good players on that defensive unit for the Broncos.
Broncos ERFA signings
- OT Calvin Anderson
- RS Diontae Spencer
- S Trey Marshall
The Broncos’ group of ERFA players is a pretty important group overall.
Offensive tackle Calvin Anderson will be penciled in as the swing tackle behind Garett Bolles and Ja’Wuan James after getting a couple of chances to start in 2020. The Broncos have been invested in his development and he showed some positive signs in 2020 when he got starts at both right tackle and left tackle, though he showed better on the left side.
Diontae Spencer has become one of the best return specialists in the league and got his first return touchdown in the NFL last season when the Broncos dominated the Carolina Panthers.
Trey Marshall might see increased playing time in 2021 with the Broncos’ present lack of depth at safety, but at present, he’s a depth piece and big-time special teams contributor.