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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Jon Heath

Stay or go: Predicting the fates of all 16 Broncos free agents

NFL free agency does not officially start until the new league year begins on March 13 — teams can officially sign pending free agents from other teams on that date.

Two days earlier, the “legal tampering” window will open on March 11, allowing teams to negotiate with pending free agents from other clubs. Teams and players can reach verbal agreements, but no contracts can be officially signed until March 13.

The Denver Broncos have 16 in-house free agents who will be allowed to negotiate with other teams starting one week from today. Denver can prevent some of their in-house free agents from hitting the open market by giving contract extensions to select players before March 11.

Not everyone will stick around, though. Some players the Broncos will choose to let walk, and other players will be too costly for Denver (the team is about $14 million over the salary cap at the time of publication).

So, which players will the Broncos re-sign? Check out our stay or go predictions for Denver’s 2024 free agent class below.

C Lloyd Cushenberry

(Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

The Broncos would probably love to bring Cushenberry back, but it’s easy to imagine them being outbid by other teams.

Prediction: GO

LB Josey Jewell

(Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)

This one is tough to predict, and Jewell’s market might be the deciding factor. The Broncos are bringing back Alex Singleton in 2024 and Jonas Griffith will return from injury, so Denver might be OK with losing Jewell. If there’s not a big market for Jewell, though, the Broncos could bring him back on a one-year budget deal.

Prediction: GO (depending on interest)

K Wil Lutz

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Broncos coach Sean Payton seems unlikely to let Lutz walk in free agency after he traded a draft pick to acquire the kicker last year.

Prediction: STAY

TE Adam Trautman

(Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

Another player that Payton gave up a draft pick to acquire, Trautman seems likely to remain in Denver. The tight end probably won’t generate a lot of buzz on the open market, so it shouldn’t be too difficult for the Broncos to re-sign him.

Prediction: STAY

DB P.J. Locke

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Given the injury history of Caden Sterns, re-signing Locke should be a priority for the Broncos. It’s possible that Denver’s opening-day starters at safety could be Justin Simmons and Locke in 2024.

Prediction: STAY

DL Mike Purcell

(Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)

Purcell is a solid defensive lineman, but he’s getting older and Denver’s interior defensive line struggled to stop the run last season. The Broncos can probably find a younger, cheaper replacement.

Prediction: GO

FB Michael Burton

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Burton played well on offense and on special teams in 2023, but Nate Adkins will be a cheaper option in 2024. If the Broncos are confident Adkins is ready to step into the fullback job full-time, they team could let Burton walk.

Prediction: GO (toss-up depending on Adkins)

CB Fabian Moreau

(Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)

Moreau came out of nowhere to start 11 games in the place of a struggling Damarri Mathis last year, but the Broncos surely do not want to count on him as a starter in 2024. If Denver re-signs Moreau, he will be a depth option.

Prediction: GO

WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey

(Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

Humphrey quietly hauled in 13 receptions for 162 yards and three touchdowns last season. He has a decent shot to return as a fifth or sixth receiver.

Prediction: STAY

OL Quinn Bailey (RFA)

(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

It won’t be hard to re-sign Bailey because he’s a restricted free agent. The 28-year-old backup swing guard/tackle should return in 2024.

Prediction: STAY

OT Cam Fleming

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Fleming is an experienced backup swing tackle and he’s not expensive, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him return.

Prediction: STAY

CB K’Waun Williams

(Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)

Following the emergence of Ja’Quan McMillian, the Broncos seem unlikely to bring back Williams after he spent all of the 2023 season on injured reserve.

Prediction: GO

LB Justin Strnad

(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Strnad has made no impact on defense, but he’s been a solid contributor on special teams. It remains to be seen how much Denver thinks those contributions are worth.

Prediction: GO

RB Dwayne Washington

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Washington is another player who contributed on special teams in 2023. He won’t be a priority for Denver.

Prediction: GO

DL Jonathan Harris (RFA)

(Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

Harris has started nine games of the last two seasons and he won’t be expensive to bring back as a restricted free agent. He could return as a depth option.

Prediction: STAY

LB Ben Niemann

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Niemann might be slightly more likely to return if the Broncos do not re-sign Jewell, but he’s not much more than a depth option.

Prediction: GO

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