This would be the perfect free-agent haul for the Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos are going to be a completely new-look team in 2024.

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C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Denver Broncos
Detroit Lions safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson (2) waves at the crowd. / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Safety

This would be another case of Payton going back to a guy he had in New Orleans, but after the Broncos made the painful decision to release Justin Simmons earlier this week, it makes sense.

C.J. Gardner-Johnson was drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 draft by the Saints and has also played for the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions. The Broncos would be his fourth team but it would be a tremendous spot for the 26-year old safety.

Gardner-Johnson plays with attitude (he tends to get a bit mouthy at times) but he is a playmaker. In his career, he has 245 total tackles, 13 interceptions and four sacks. He has a knack for the ball and will put a big hit on a ball carrier when necessary.

There is talk that teams are starting to see the safety position as less important than it once was (similar to how the running back position has become), but the Broncos still need more depth.

The team has chosen to re-sign P.J. Locke to a two-year deal but a starting combination of Locke and Caden Sterns leaves much to be desired, particularly with Sterns coming off of a season-ending injury.

Other safeties on the roster include Delarrin Turner-Yell and JL Skinner as well as Devon Key and Keidron Smith. Turner-Yell struggled mightily last year and Skinner was a healthy scratch in just about every game. Key and Smith were practice squad guys.

The Broncos need a boost at this position and Gardner-Johnson is an easy dot to connect to the team.