Broncos Are Trying to Bring 2 Free Agents Back: Report

Broncos Kareem Jackson Bryce Callahan

Getty Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson and cornerback Bryce Callahan celebrate.

During Randy Gregory’s introductory press conference on March 18, Denver Broncos general manager George Paton said the team is trying to bring back safety Kareem Jackson and cornerback Bryce Callahan.

We’re talking to Kareem’s folks, as well as Bryce. We’d like both of them back.

Jackson and Callahan have been key contributors for the Broncos. Jackson has started 44 games over the last three seasons. Last season, Jackson led the Broncos in combined tackles (88) and solo tackles (62).

Callahan is an excellent slot cornerback. Statistically, he was one of the best cornerbacks in the league in 2020. When targeted, Callahan allowed a passer rating of only 47.8, which was the lowest in the entire NFL. In addition, he had a PFF coverage grade of 86.7.

PFF has Jackson ranked as the fourth-best remaining free-agent safety.

Meanwhile, PFF ranked Callahan as the sixth-best remaining free-agent cornerback.

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Jackson and the Broncos Have Been Having Conversations

On March 16, Jackson spoke to Willie McGinest on NFL Total Access. Jackson said that he and the Broncos have been having conversations about a potential return.

“Yeah, definitely, they are making some major moves. I didn’t have to call them because I’m right down the street from them, so I just walk down. We’ve been having conversations for the last couple of days, so I mean, I’m definitely looking forward to possibly going back to Denver. Like I said, they are definitely making a ton of moves to turn that roster into a winning roster, and to compete and win right now in that AFC West division. So, definitely excited for my opportunity right now and I definitely would love to go back to Denver.”


Jamar Johnson Has Starter Upside

If the Broncos do not re-sign Jackson, they could target another veteran safety. Right now, the two options on their roster to replace Jackson are P.J. Locke and Jamar Johnson.

Locke has played only 33 total defensive snaps in his career.

Second-year safety Jamar Johnson has upside. Johnson was selected by the Broncos in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL draft, but many draft experts had projected him to be selected earlier. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlien projected Johnson to be selected in the third round, and he projected him to be a starter in the NFL.

His combination of vision, field awareness and instincts usually have him in the right place at the right time. Johnson is willing as a tackler, but needs to clean up his technique and approach to bolster his run support for the next level. His high football IQ should aid his transition to pro football as a future starter with a strong upside.

However, Johnson is inexperienced like Locke. As a rookie, Johnson appeared in only three games, and he did not play a single defensive snap.

Even if the Broncos do re-sign Jackson, it would be wise to get Johnson on the field more often, which should not be difficult. He is a versatile player. At Indiana, he lined up at both safety and cornerback.

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