The Denver Broncos made a couple of very interesting selections in the 2023 NFL Draft, and I think one of them can put some serious pressure on a defensive centerpiece. The inside linebacker position is becoming less and less valuable in today's NFL, but it always helps to have studs at the position.
Last year, Alex Singleton shocked many of us and had the best season of his career, finishing as one of the top tacklers in the NFL. He formed a nice duo with Josey Jewell as this unit had more of an old-school feel in the middle.
Singleton inked a three-year contract extension with the team this offseason, and financially, Singleton is going to be with the team for the next two years at least. Josey Jewell is entering the last year of his contract, turns 29 at the end of the season, and has had some injury concerns.
He's missed 19 games the past two seasons but did play very well in 2022. He had two interceptions, four passes defended, 2.5 sacks, and 128 total tackles in a stat-sheet-filling season for the Denver Broncos.
He also added four QB hits and seven tackles for loss.
Alex Singleton had three passes defended, one forced fumble, 163 total tackles, six tackles for loss, and three QB hits in 2022. I'd say both players were about at the same level of performance last year. The kicker here is that the Broncos used a premium selection on a linebacker in Drew Sanders in the 2023 NFL Draft. Jewell is in the last year of his deal with the Broncos, and getting rid of his contract would save the Broncos nearly $5 million in cap space.
Couple that with how much potential Drew Sanders has and the underrated potential of Jonas Griffith, and I think it's easy to see a scenario play out where Josey Jewell is not on the roster come week one. With Singleton, Sanders, and Griffith, the Broncos may have three starting-caliber ILBs. That is plenty.
There might be someone in the room who is expendable, and Jewell fits that bill the most. If Denver would want to free up some easy cap space this year to perhaps make a significant move, parting with Jewell makes a lot of sense.
Drew Sanders might be the driving force in that happening, as he's hyper-athletic and has the ability to play inside or even outside as an EDGE rusher, kind of like Baron Browning. I do think Sanders was drafted to be a true inside linebacker, but having someone like him would bode well for the defense.
Josey Jewell's time with the Denver Broncos could be ending sooner than some think.