Denver Broncos must re-sign this key linebacker for 2022

Denver Broncos defense celebrates. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos defense celebrates. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /

The Denver Broncos are apparently going to give Baron Browning a chance off the edge. Because of this, they need to re-sign another key linebacker.

The Denver Broncos have an interesting situation on their hands.  They recently re-signed Josey Jewell on a two-year deal, and also rebuilt part of their front seven with the additions of D.J. Jones and Randy Gregory.

On paper, Denver’s front seven is very good.  The two Jones’ up front should make opposing offensive linemen worried, and the duo of Gregory and Bradley Chubb has a chance to be very effective.

However, there appears to be one small issue here.  There was a report released recently that Baron Browning is getting moved to edge rusher.

He did something similar at Ohio State and has excellent size, tools, and overall athletic ability to be effective off the edge.  Some may even say that he’s better used as an edge rusher instead of an inside linebacker.

While this may be true, and while Browning very well may succeed off the edge, the Broncos do have a significant and notable hole next to Josey Jewell.

When both Jewell and his running mate, Alexander Johnson went down with injuries in 2021, they were replaced with the likes of Micah Kiser, Jonas Griffith, Kenny Young, and Browning.

Kiser signed with the Raiders, Young is still a free agent, and Griffith is back with the team.

The Denver Broncos also signed Alex Singleton, who has over 200 combined tackles with the Eagles the past two seasons.  The issue with Singleton is that he does not perform well against the run or pass and is an overall liability at the position.  Singleton is probably a special teams player at best.

Who is set to fill the void next to Josey Jewell?  Should Denver draft someone?  Should they sign another player and draft someone?

To me, the most logical decision here, and the overall best decision to help round out the defense is to bring back Alexander Johnson.

Johnson may be one of the most underrated players in the NFL.  He exploded on the scene in 2019, starting 12 games.  He then started all 16 in 2020 and was limited to just six in 2021.

In 2020, he had 124 combined tackles, along with a sack and five QB hits.

In 2021, began the season on a tear, earning an 81.0 PFF grade.

In 2019, he was one of the very best linebackers in the NFL with an 88.5 PFF grade.

Entering the 2021 season, PFF also ranked him as the 10th best linebacker in all of football.

He’s a perfect compliment to Jewell; Jewell is more instinctual and old school, and Johnson uses his insane athleticism and sideline-to-sideline speed to his advantage.

The duo of Jewell/Johnson was ranked as the 4th best linebacking group in all of football entering 2021 by PFF.

Being that the Denver Broncos are implementing a new coaching staff, and introducing new faces along the front seven, it makes a ton of sense to bring Alexander Johnson.

I also do not think he is going to cost as much to bring back as Josey Jewell did, which is a nice bonus.