It was announced on Monday that second-year Broncos' defensive end Eyioma Uwazurike would be suspended for the 2023 NFL season due to violating the league's gambling policy. This has the potential to be a huge blow to a unit that was already a bit shaky, to begin with.
With Mike Purcell and Baron Browning both recovering from offseason procedures, the team's defensive front is getting dangerously thin. Now, both Purcell and Uwazurike were/are backup players at this point. There was no indication that Uwazurike was starter material last year, but it would have been possible for him to have taken a leap in year two.
At this point, the Broncos are probably going to cut Uwazurike. Purcell is 32 years old and is nothing more than a quality depth piece at this point. He's fallen off a bit since his breakout year back in 2019. At this point, Denver has a clear reason to add to their defensive front, at both EDGE rusher and defensive end.
Let's dive into three free agents the Denver Broncos could target at defensive end to help fill a clear void.
Denver Broncos: 3 free agent options at DE with Eyioma Uwazurike suspension
1. Matthew Ioannidis
One quality player still on the market is Matthew Ioannidis, who has played for the Washington Commanders and Carolina Panthers during his seven-year career. He's typically been an average starter, which could be something the Denver Broncos covet.
He has never really lit up the stat sheet, but he's got season-highs of 8.5 sacks, 64 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 17 QB hits, so the potential for solid interior production is there. Ioannidis is likely not seeking nearly as much as Yannick Ngakoue is on a contract. The Broncos could probably sign him for two or three million dollars for a one-year deal.
Ioannidis would bring a fringe-starter type of player and a solid veteran presence to the defensive line. He'd be a good signing to make.