Broncos give LB extension which could be a signal that another top LB won't be back

The Denver Broncos have extended linebacker Jonas Griffith.

New York Jets v Denver Broncos
New York Jets v Denver Broncos / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

Despite playing in just nine games for the Broncos across the past two seasons, the team has chosen to extend the contract of linebacker Jonas Griffith.

Griffith, who missed the entire 2023 season after suffering a torn ACL in training camp, was set to become a restricted free agent. Instead, he will be back in Denver on a one-year, $985,000 deal.

Griffith was traded to the Broncos ahead of the 2021 season and big things seemed to in his future as he began the 2022 season as one of the starting inside linebackers. But injuries slowed him down, allowing Alex Singleton to take over his spot and this season, an injury shut him down.

But the Broncos extending him right now could be an indication of where they intend to go at this position in the offseason. Griffith is a veteran depth piece to pair with Singleton. Drew Sanders can also be used on the inside.

Josey Jewell, Justin Strnad and Ben Niemann are all set to hit free agency for the Broncos but the player to focus on most is Jewell. The Broncos are a team that is currently strapped financially by the salary cap and though there are several moves the team can make to get some money to spend, it seems increasingly unlikely that Jewell is going to be in those plans.

Spotrac estimates that Jewell could fetch a contract worth about $7.6 million per season during free agency, a deal that would not be crippling to the Broncos, but with so many other holes on the roster, the team may choose to allocate money elsewhere.

And with bringing Griffith back, there may be a belief that the combination of he and Singleton can be good enough to get the Broncos by next season and then the team could look to add another inside linebacker later in the draft.

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For his career, Griffith has 92 total tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery. He is still just 27 years old. If he can stay healthy and play like the player we saw in the summer ahead of the 2022 season, he could slide right into Jewell's role and be a solid player for this team.