As the Denver Broncos stare down a potential future without Von Miller, a potential replacement could be an even bigger possibility because of JJ Watt. When the Cardinals signed Watt, it meant less money in the cash pie for current free agent Haason Reddick.
Arizona’s Watt grab could make resigning Reddick difficult, and could put the Broncos in the running for the 26 year old coming off his best season in the NFL.
Weight: 235 pounds
Age: 26 years old
Experience: 4 seasons
Perhaps the most notable, direct impact of J.J. Watt signing with the Arizona Cardinals...— Brad Spielberger (@PFF_Brad) March 1, 2021
Free Agent ED Haason Reddick - who had PFF’s highest pass-rush grade among all edge rushers from Week 10-17 (90.3) - is much more likely to hit the market
Why it makes sense
The Broncos defense has been the most consistent aspect of the team under Vic Fangio. Still, there have been issues with injuries to key players, specifically on the edge. Miller and Bradley Chubb have both spent significant time on the injury list. The 26 year old Reddick has had a relatively injury free career, which could give Denver some consistency at a position that has seen starters miss significant time the last two seasons.
While Malik Reed and Jeremiah Attachaochu played well in a relief role, Reddick’s 2020 season was excellent. His 12.5 sacks showed he can get to the QB and be a disruptive player. His 34 QB hurries was a huge leap from his previous 2 seasons combined.
PFF has Reddick listed as their 91st best free agent available. Coming off a stellar 2020 season, that might seem low, but they noted 2020 was an outlier compared to the rest of his career.
Reddick’s strong finish to 2020 has looked nothing like the first 3 _ years of his career, clouding his free-agent evaluation. Reddick was clearly out of place as a traditional linebacker, grading at just 35.4 in coverage in his first three NFL seasons - the third-worst mark among linebackers during that time. However, Reddick’s move back to his college position on the edge has rejuvenated his career, as his burst has been an asset when he rushes the passer. The question will be whether Reddick will continue this incredible stretch of play or if it’s just an anomaly, but he’s definitely worth a look as a change-of-pace No. 3 pass-rusher. And he may get paid like a No. 2.
Reddick playing on the edge in Fangio’s defense could be the best remedy for moving on from Von Miller, if that is what Denver has to do.
Why it doesn’t make sense
The reasons it makes sense are the mirror image of the reasons it doesn’t. Quite simply, Reddick’s career took a huge jump in 2020. One outlier season might give teams pause when looking at giving him a big contract. There will, undoubtedly, be a bit of a bidding war for a player who had career numbers in his 4th season in the NFL. As the cost goes up, the reality is that he might be priced out of the Denver market.
A bidding war on a player who’s numbers are replaceable by the play of two less expensive players makes it seem unnecessary to go after Reddick. He would be a luxury signing that Denver doesn’t really need. The Broncos had the best red zone defense in the NFL in 2020. They played well, even in an abysmal 5-11 season.
If the Broncos can’t get some sort of restructure deal done with Von Miller, Reddick becomes an interesting target. He is a scheme fit for Fangio’s defense. He is a young player that could pair with Bradley Chubb for half a decade or more. He seems durable, with few injury concerns, making him a desirable acquisition for a team with injury concerns at the edge position.
The Broncos should explore Reddick seriously. However, if moving on from Von Miller is about money, how much are they really saving if they have to throw a mountain of cash at Reddick.
So while it might be dependent on what happens with Von, I’m all for making a reasonable push for Reddick. Reasonable probably won’t get it done, though.
Should the Broncos try to sign Haason Reddick in FA?
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