Denver Broncos got a steal with reserve/future contract player

The Broncos made a really underrated addition to the defensive line

Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / Jeff Bottari/GettyImages
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It's still early in the offseason, so the Denver Broncos haven't been able to make many additions, but oftentimes some of the players who fly under the radar are the ones that sign reserve/future contracts with the team. Those players will count toward the Broncos' 90-man roster once the new league year begins on March 13, and typically you see teams signing guys who were on their practice squad the year before.

But you'll also see some additions from the outside, and the Broncos made one that has sort of slipped through the cracks a bit. Of course, you're not going to pencil him in for a starting job at this point, but the Broncos signed former Arizona Cardinals fourth-round pick Rashard Lawrence to a reserve/future deal, and he's someone who could make an impact on the 2024 roster.

Denver Broncos land Rashard Lawrence on reserve/future contract

Lawrence was the 131st overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft coming out of LSU where he was a key piece of their National Championship team in 2019. We've seen the Broncos go after Zach Allen from that Cardinals defensive line to reunite with Vance Joseph, and now we see another one of Joseph's former players follow him to Denver.

And the situation for Lawrence couldn't be more ideal.

With Zach Allen and DJ Jones as the only returning key contributors under contract (both Jonathan Harris and Mike Purcell are pending free agents), Lawrence will have the opportunity to play immediately depending on what else we see the Broncos do this offseason. You expect the Broncos to have some level of restraint when it comes to spending in free agency, but even when all of the free agent dust settles, I wouldn't be shocked if this player is a factor in the rotation.

At 6-foot-2, 308 pounds, Lawrence posted an outstanding 1.72-second 10-yard split at the 2020 Scouting Combine, proving he has excellent quickness off the snap. With 34-inch arms and 11-inch hands, he's got some really intriguing physical traits as a whole, but how have those translated to the NFL level?

The answer up to this point is unfortunate: They haven't.

But just like with other players, you never know when the right combination of talent and opportunity will present itself. For Mike Purcell, it wasn't until after he'd floated around the NFL and other pro leagues that he came to Denver and earned multiple contracts with the Broncos. For Shelby Harris, it was getting cut by a handful of teams before landing in Denver and getting a deal with eight figures back in 2021.

There are certainly more guys who flame out after signing reserve/future deals than guys who become success stories. There's no reason to bank the hopes of the Broncos reviving the 30th-ranked run defense from this past season on Rashard Lawrence. But his inclusion on the 2024 roster is exciting as far as reserve/future contracts go.

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He will get a chance to prove over the course of the offseason that he belongs in the Broncos' rotation up front defensively, and he might be a sleeper candidate to crack next year's final roster.

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