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Broncos face tough decisions on their potential free agents

Keep a veteran to provide depth? Move on from multiple former first-round picks? Re-sign players who were injured for most of this season?

Those are just three of the questions the Broncos are facing regarding their projected group of unrestricted free agents.

Complicating things are injuries. Among the 11 primary UFAs (not counting recent additions Gino Gradkowski and Jamar Taylor), three are on injured reserve (center Matt Paradis, guard Max Garcia and tight end Jeff Heuerman) and four (right tackle Jared Veldheer, cornerback Tramaine Brock and linebackers Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett) have missed multiple games.

That could make general manager John Elway’s decision whether to re-sign them more difficult. Another key factor to consider is if Elway first makes a coaching change, which brings new schemes and new fits (or non-fits) for the free agents, depending on the philosophical approach of the new coach.

In alphabetical order, here is a look at 11 Broncos scheduled for unrestricted free agency:


Age on Sept. 1, 2019: 26

2018 cap number: $2,914,000

Case for: You can never have enough pass rushers and Barrett would be a situational player in 2019 behind Von Miller and Bradley Chubb who also has enough size (250 pounds) to line up over an interior linemen in certain packages. … In 236 snaps this year, he’s had spurts of production, totaling three sacks, two hits and three pressures.

Case against: He will cost too much for a back-up player. … Barrett missed three games this year with a hip injury. … Current rookie Jeff Holland could be ready to step into Barrett’s role at a much cheaper price.


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