Denver Broncos trade for Jonas Griffith to upgrade special teams

Denver Broncos trade for Jonas Griffith. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos trade for Jonas Griffith. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos had to make a move to address their ailing special teams, and they paid a pretty hefty price to trade for Jonas Griffith.

The Denver Broncos have made a couple of trades early on the day that teams are required to cut down rosters to just 53 players all the way from 80. Hundreds of players across the league are being released, waived, traded, or placed on injured lists and the Denver Broncos are working their way toward that number as we speak.

Part of getting to that number almost always includes adding players from other teams, and the Denver Broncos made a trade with the San Francisco 49ers to hopefully help upgrade an area of the team that has been a significant weak spot — special teams.

The Broncos acquired 49ers linebacker Jonas Griffith, a freakish athlete who was on the bubble in San Francisco and will now bring the 49ers some nice return value.

For most Denver Broncos fans, this is the first time anyone is hearing about Jonas Griffith, a 2020 undrafted free agent who played his college ball at Indiana State.

Besides the preseason, Jonas Griffith will be making his NFL debut with the Denver Broncos when they take the field against the New York Giants in week one. He was signed initially out of college by the 49ers, who waived him, then he was signed onto the Indianapolis Colts practice squad before signing back onto the 49ers’ practice squad two weeks later.

The 49ers signed him this offseason to a reserve/futures contract and he obviously played very well throughout training camp and the preseason to have earned this opportunity in Denver.

Griffith is under contract for this season at under $700,000 and will be an exclusive rights free agent in 2022. So if he works out, the Broncos will have him under contract or at least team control for three total seasons.

This guy was an absolute unicorn at Indiana State compared to his peers and competition, testing among the best of the best when it comes to his athletic metrics.

The Denver Broncos now have a number of guys like this on both sides of the ball, absolute freaks in the testing department and Griffith’s numbers here are not far off from those posted by Baron Browning, whose pre-draft metrics were historic.

It will be fascinating to see the fallout of this move at the linebacker position and what happens with veteran Alexander Johnson. Does this kind of move spell the end for Johnson and push Justin Strnad up the draft board?

Could Johnson be traded?

There are definitely a lot of options on the table at this point and the Denver Broncos should be pursuing all of them.

For now, this move is an encouraging upgrade to the special teams unit, which desperately needs it.