Denver Broncos should reunite two college teammates in secondary

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The Denver Broncos appear to have a solid stable of safeties, but I think the room is more "potential" than actual NFL production. The team should consider signing a former teammate of Justin Simmons to help the room out.

Take Justin Simmons out of the equation at safety, and you're left with a very bare room. Kareem Jackson isn't good anymore-- he's slow and a massive liability in coverage. PJ Locke is a backup at best. Caden Sterns has not had a full workload in the NFL, so he's more promising than anything, and rookie draft pick JL Skinner is a massive unknown.

Honestly, this might be a position the Broncos could very much afford to add to sometime this offseason. Well, there is one safety free agent that I have my eyes on, and his fit might make a ton of sense in Denver, forming a nasty duo with Justin Simmons. He's also a former college teammate of Simmons.

John Johnson III was cut by the Cleveland Browns this offseason and is still on the open market. The 27-year-old safety was a teammate of Simmons' back at Boston College from the 2013-2015 seasons. He was a third-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and Simmons was a third-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Johnson was a 17-game starter for the Browns this past season and put up one interception, four passes defended, two forced fumbles, 101 total tackles, and four tackles for loss. He's a productive player who has missed just two games over the last three seasons. I also think he's kind of similar to Budda Baker, who Vance Joseph got the best out of when he was the defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals.

Baker and Johnson being similar in play style might make Johnson's fit in the Denver defense seamless. Baker is obviously a better player, but he's currently on a team and would not only cost draft picks to acquire but also a ton of money. Baker is seeking a contract extension, so he'd be a very expensive investment. Johnson would be much cheaper but still be a very quality option for the secondary that is pretty young.

I don't think we'll see Kareem Jackson play a ton in 2023 for the Broncos. I get the impression that he returned to be more of a player-coach hybrid, and as I said earlier, I don't think he's any good anymore. He's in his mid-30s and just does not have the speed to play at the NFL level anymore.

John Johnson III would be a low-cost, high-reward signing for a safety room that very quietly could use a boost. Reuniting Justin Simmons and John Johnson III makes a lot of sense for the Denver Broncos.

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