George Paton and the Denver Broncos struck quickly to address their glaring need at cornerback by signing Washington’s Ronald Darby to a 3-year $30 million contract that includes $19 million guaranteed. We know now that at least Washington and the Arizona Cardinals were also interested in Darby.
Smart teams patch holes in free agency so they have additional flexibility in the draft. Paton and the Broncos surely hope Darby gives them options in April. It is noteworthy that 9News’ Mike Klis reported Denver also pursued Mike Davis of the Los Angeles Chargers, as this suggests Paton isn’t done adding corners.
Per multiple sources, Broncos tried to secure 2 CBs yesterday: Washington's Ronald Darby/Chargers' Michael Davis. Broncos and Chargers made similar offers but Davis decided to stay put at $8.4M per.— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) March 16, 2021
Washington also tried to retain Darby but Broncos got him at $10M per. #9sports
I’m currently three games into my tape study on Darby, but thought it wise to reach out to someone more familiar with his game. So I reached out to Pro Football Network’s Matt Valdovinos, who covers the Washington Football Team in addition to the NFL Draft.
1st and 10
Having watched Darby up close, did you want Washington to retain him? Where did he rank for you as far as free agent corners?
Valdovinos: I did want him back. Darby and Fuller last year led the NFL in pass deflections + interceptions among all CB duos. Darby himself led the league in deflections with 15. I wanted him back for a little less than what Fuller makes, but he actually got exactly what Fuller makes per year. As far as free agent corners go, he was a Top 5 guy.
Washington could have the best defense in the NFL in 2021 if they can re-sign Ronald Darby and find an average-above average free safety.— Matt Valdovinos (@MVScouting) December 28, 2020
Darby is the only major contributor not under contract next year.
Young unit that continues to improve week in and week out.
2nd and 10
Ronald Darby came to Washington on a 1-year deal a season ago. What were your expectations going into the move and did he meet them?
Valdovinos: He blew all expectations out of the water. After struggling with injuries in Philly, he was brought in and my personal expectation was that he’d operate as CB4. He came in, instantly won the CB2 job, and really fit nicely in the roll they had for him. It was easily the best year of his career since leaving Buffalo.
Depending on what happens with William Jackson, Ronald Darby might be the best free agent cornerback lmao— Matt Valdovinos (@MVScouting) February 8, 2021
3rd and 8
What are Darby’s biggest strengths that he’ll bring to the Broncos?
Valdovinos: First and foremost he’s a competitor. Instinctive and aggressive when the balls in the air, also a solid run defender. He possesses well above average athletic ability, and it shows in his ability to click and close. I also think his experience will be huge for a defense that will be starting a young CB opposite of him in Ojemudia. Someone who I didn’t like coming out but was really impressed with at times last year.
Ronald Darby plays big on 4th down. pic.twitter.com/9mSBNi3Lgx— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) March 16, 2021
4th and 4
Is there any issues or concerns you have with Darby that Broncos Country should be aware of?
Valdovinos: The only real issue to watch for are the injuries. He was healthy in Washington for the first time in what seems like forever. If he can stay healthy for Denver, he’s a very capable cornerback with minimal downside. I will say that every few games he tends to bite on a double move and get beat down the field, but his athletic ability helps him recover well.
This is what absolutely cannot happen.— Matt Valdovinos (@MVScouting) September 17, 2020
3rd and 22(!!!!) and Philadelphia completes a 55 yard bomb.
Ronald Darby just gets TOASTED by Eagles first rounder Jalen Reagor. pic.twitter.com/uZWf63mTbH
Do you think the Broncos made a wise decision to sign Ronald Darby to a 3-year $30 million deal?
Valdovinos: I do. I think the expectation around the Broncos in the 2021 draft was that they were definitely going CB with the 9th pick. This contract opens up all possibilities and likely takes CB off the board at 9. The deal isn’t long enough or big enough to really bite Denver in the behind, but if Darby can match his play last year for the next three years it’s more than worth it for the Broncos. I also really enjoy his fit with Fangio.
Do you like this signing?
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