According to reports, the Denver Broncos signed former Washington Football Team cornerback Ronald Darby to a three-year deal worth up to $30 million dollars with 19.5 million dollars in guaranteed money.
The #Broncos are giving CB Ronald Darby a 3-year, $30M deal, source said, with $19.5M fully guaranteed.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 15, 2021
The Broncos entered free agency looking to improve their secondary. They first tagged and hoping to extend safety Justin Simmons and now they have agreed to a deal with veteran cornerback Ronald Darby a three-year deal who reportedly, was their top target heading into free agency.
Darby is a 5-11, 193-pound cornerback who has played six seasons in the NFL. The 27-year old cornerback was drafted by the Buffalo Bills with their 50th overall selection in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He then played three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles before spending last season with the Washington Football Team.
Last season for Football Team, he totaled 54 tackles, 0 interceptions, and had a tied for league-high 16 pass deflections as well. During his career, Darby has totaled 288 tackles, 8 interceptions, and 81 pass deflections.
According to Pro Football Focus, Ronald Darby was given a 69.8 overall grade which was ranked as the 28th best cornerback in the NFL last season. Also, he has been ranked as their 69th best free agent available this offseason.
It’s been an odd career for Darby, who has now had productive seasons for three different teams in his six NFL seasons. The problems in between have been injuries and ineffectiveness, and 2020 is the first season in which Darby has played at least 600 snaps since 2016. He’s best in man coverage, where he has the speed and shiftiness to hang with a variety of receivers. Darby has graded in the 92nd percentile in single coverage since entering the league. The knock on Darby has always been a lack of interceptions, both in college and in the NFL; he has just eight in his career. But for man-heavy teams looking to make life difficult on outside receivers, he is worth another look as he hits free agency for the third straight season.
Darby can slide in as an instant starter in the Broncos secondary alongside Bryce Callahan who can play the slot or outside in Vic Fangio’s defense. Now, I do expect the Broncos to continue to add to their secondary/cornerback unit as we continue through free agency and/or in the draft. 2020 draft pick Michael Ojemudia struggled a bit last season and was even benched, so another starter added has to be a priority. The Broncos do have the 9th overall selection in the 2021 NFL draft and Caleb Farley and Patrick Surtain have been heavily mocked to the Broncos. The Darby signing doesn’t really change that but does give the Broncos some more flexibility with their 9th overall selection.
As for Darby, he has struggled with his health some during his career. He has only played a full 16-game season once in his career(last season) but prior to that, he had two seasons with less than 10 games played and another with 11 games played, so his health will be something to keep an eye on.
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