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NFL free agency: Broncos may have to fight off Cardinals to re-sign linebacker Nate Irving

It won't be easy for the Broncos to bring back Nate Irving.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

After re-signing Steven Johnson, Denver has turned its attention to Nate Irving.

The Broncos are "interested" in bringing Irving back, according to the Denver Post's Mike Klis. Klis said Denver wants him to be their top inside linebacker backup behind Danny Trevathan and Brandon Marshall in Denver's 3-4.

Bringing him back as a backup may not be easy.

The Cardinals have expressed "primarily" interest in Irving and may try to bring him in for a visit, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson. If Irving believes he will compete for a starting position in Arizona, it's hard to imagine him returning to Denver.

Irving started eight games last season, recording 46 tackles and a sack. Denver placed him on the team's injured reserve list in November after he suffered a partially torn ligament in his knee.

Denver's current linebackers include Trevathan, Marshall, Johnson, Von Miller, and potentially DeMarcus Ware as a 3-4 rusher. Bringing back Irving would help provide more depth.

Free agency officially starts at 2 p.m. MT. Denver has already scheduled visits with two players.