NFL Free Agency: Jared Allen, Jairus Byrd fits for Broncos?

Rick Stewart

Two of the top defenders in this year's free agency class could fit right in on Denver's defense.

The Denver Broncos, who have already been making headlines by pursuing free-agent middle linebackers Lofa Tatupu and D'Qwell Jackson, are expected to be busy in free agency this offseason. In addition to Tatupu and Jackson, two other big-name free agents have already been connected to Denver.

Last season, the Broncos tried—and came oh, so close!—to trading for Allen before the NFL's trading deadline. The Vikings ended up holding onto the 31-year-old pass rusher, but the Broncos clearly displayed their interest. If Denver is still interested in Allen, the feelings would probably be mutual.

On SiriusXM NFL Radio earlier today, Allen noted that he is looking for a team that will give him a "chance to win."

Denver fits all of Allen's requirements: playoff contenders, great organization, and $19.4 million in 2014 cap space.

Three years ago, Allen recorded 22 sacks in a single season. His totals have dropped since then (from 12.0 in 2012 to 11.5 in 2013), but Allen has enough gas left in the tank to be an effective rotational player on any defense. Allen's current contract with Minnesota will expire on Tuesday when the new league year begins.

Allen hasn't specifically mentioned the Broncos as a potential landing spot, but another free agent defender, safety Jairus Byrd, has. Drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 2009 NFL draft, Byrd is about to hit free agency after earning three Pro Bowl berths in his first five seasons with Buffalo. Earlier this week, Byrd spoke highly of Denver.

The Broncos desperately need a safety and Byrd is a youthful 27 years old. Like Allen, Byrd wants to play for a contender. Denver fits the bill.

John Elway has attracted notable free agents since Day 1—from Peyton Manning to Wes Welker to Louis Vasquez to Shaun Phillips to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Denver has made big splashes over the last two years. That trend will likely continue this year.

Once the new league year starts, Allen and Byrd will be free to visit suitors. It would not be far-fetched to expect Denver to be among their many hosts.

Stay tuned throughout the coming weeks as we follow all the free agency buzz surrounding Dove Valley and the Denver Broncos.

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