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Free Agent Profile: Defensive End Quinton Jefferson

The Denver Broncos will have a need along the interior of the defensive line that a player like Quinton Jefferson could excel at under Vic Fangio’s scheme.

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NFL: NFC Wild Card-Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Quinton Jefferson is a fifth-year defensive end selected in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. After spending his first two seasons developing, he caught on as a full time starter in Seattle in 2018. Jefferson has compiled back-to-back consistent seasons where he had 3 and 3.5 sacks and 15 and 10 quarterback hits the last two seasons.

With the Denver Broncos potentially losing both of their starting defensive ends in Shelby Harris and Derek Wolfe, they will be in the market for some talent at that position even if they are able to re-sign one of those two players.

What kind of contract could he get

I found a couple of interesting sources for Jefferson’s expected market value. Our sister blog, Field Gulls, broke it down using OverTheCap’s projections and came to a four-year deal worth about $32 million. However, based on how free agency tends to inflate contract values, Field Gulls ended up predicting Jefferson would end up more in the four-year, $44-46 million range.

That appears to be high range, because Spotrac also has a Market Value estimation for Jefferson on their site. They have him pegged at a four-year deal worth $22.676 million. That would be significantly lower than projects elsewhere.

Why the Broncos should sign him

Jefferson is a versatile player who can play both the five-tech and three-tech. He’s an underrated pass rusher and stout run defender. With a 72.5 PFF grade, Jefferson also ranked 17th of all interior defenders in “win-rates” when facing 2+ blockers.

He would definitely bring the interior pressure under Vic Fangio’s scheme. While he doesn’t get double teamed as often as guys like Aaron Donald, when he does get double teamed he beats them as quickly as many of the other top interior pass rushers in the NFL.

If the Broncos are serious about generating an interior pass rush, Jefferson might be the free agent out there that could bring it.

Why the Broncos shouldn’t sign him

The only reason I could see for the Broncos to bow out of chasing after Jefferson is if the price ticks up to the $10 million a year range. He’s a good football player, but hardly in the elite category - at least not yet.

Final word

If his market projection is truly in the four-year $32 million then I’d be all over that if I were John Elway. Jefferson is an underrated interior pass rusher who has back-to-back healthy seasons. It’s the kind of move that could pay huge dividends under a Fangio-style defense.

However, if the cost rises to the $10 million a year range then it might be best to stick with the homegrown talent they have been developing.

What do you think Broncos Country?


Should the Broncos go after Quinton Jefferson in free agency?

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