The moves to replace Malik Jackson have started.
The Denver Broncos announced a two-year deal with defensive end Jared Crick. Details of the contract were not announced. Crick, who enters his fifth season in the NFL, spent the last four seasons with the Houston Texans. The last two years have been the most productive of his career.
In those seasons, he finished with 104 tackles (57 solo), 5.5 sacks, eight passes defended and one forced fumble. Crick also was credited with 27 quarterback hurries and 14 quarterback hits in the last two seasons, according to the statistics compiled by ProFootballFocus.com.
Crick started all but one game over that time for the Texans.
As the Broncos said on their website, the 6-foot-4, 285-pound defensive end is expected to compete with
Crick was drafted in the fourth round from Nebraska. According to NFL.com, he missed the majority of his senior season with the Cornhuskers with a torn pectoral muscle. As the report said on him at the time, "Crick shows value not only in his ability to play inside effectively but also as a potential defensive end, particularly in a 3-4 scheme."
Given Wade Phillips utilizes a 3-4, it makes total sense. What also helps is Gary Kubiak, defensive line coach Bill Kollar and Phillips drafted Crick, so they know him pretty well. In Crick's first two years in the NFL, he was used on a rotational basis, and was working to overcome a knee injury and that torn pectoral muscle.
Don't expect this to be the last move at defensive end.
Kubiak said at the league meetings last month in Florida that he expects Denver to draft a defensive end.
In the meantime, this moves brings depth and youth to the Broncos, as well as competition from a guy who played with, watched and learned from J.J. Watt.