2. Baron Browning, EDGE
Another draft pick by the Denver Broncos in 2021, Baron Browning has developed into an average pass rusher with some enticing qualties. He was a third-round pick of the team and has struggled a bit with injuries during his three-year career. He suited up for 10 games this year, missing the first chunk of the season with a knee issue.
Browning racked up 4.5 sacks, four tackles for loss, and nine QB hits. I think we've see the ceiling for Browning, which is being a decent rotational piece off the edge. And that's fine, I guess, but when he becomes a free agent in 2025, I guarantee you that the Broncos will have a young pass rusher on the roster, perhaps from the 2024 NFL Draft, and may also dip into free agency to boost the unit.
Browning might end up being the odd man out, and his production is something that isn't really impacting the game through his first three years.
3. Jonathon Cooper, EDGE
Jonathon Cooper might also fit into the same exact scenario as Baron Browning. I do truly think the Denver Broncos are going to significantly re-work their pass rush unit this offseason, including a draft pick in 2024 and a free agent addition or two. Jonathon Cooper has gone from a seventh-round pick to a full-time starter, starting all 17 games for the Broncos in 2023.
He accumulated 8.5 sacks, eight tackles for loss, and 13 QB hits. I do think that is very good production, given where Cooper is drafted. If Coop takes another step forward in 2024 and has a better season next year, his price could drive the Broncos to let him walk in free agency.
There's also Nik Bonitto who is still in the picture, and whom the Broncos used a second-round pick on in 2022, so they have invested more in Bonitto than both Browning and Cooper. Plus, Bonitto is the better player, and if the Broncos are able to find a stud pass rusher in the 2024 NFL Draft, that may make Browning and Cooper expendable.