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Finding some replacements for Noah Fant and Shelby Harris

After trading away Noah Fant and Shelby Harris, the Broncos now have a few other needs to fill.

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Unless you have been living under a rock, you are aware that the Broncos shocked the world and acquired Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks. Along with multiple draft picks, the Broncos sent three players to Seattle in return for Wilson. Those three players are quarterback Drew Lock, defensive lineman Shelby Harris, and former first-round pick, tight end, Noah Fant.

Obviously, worth it when acquiring a top talent at the quarterback position, but it does leave some holes at the tight end and defensive line positions. So I will be taking a look at some potential free agent possibilities we could see the Broncos bring in to help fill these sudden holes on the roster

Tight End

The Broncos have Albert Okwuegbunam on the roster who has shown he can be a capable tight end in the league. He’s fairly athletic and can do damage after the catch if he’s in space. He has never been a full-time starter during his short career, but he figures to have an elevated role with Fant now in Seattle. Otherwise, I see the Broncos addressing tight end via free agency and the draft.

Here are some names I could see them showing interest in.

Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers

He had a breakout season for the Packers in 2020 where he caught 11 touchdowns from quarterback Aaron Rodgers. However, he had a disappointing 2021 campaign that was ended by a torn ACL. This injury will likely sideline him for the entire offseason, but he should be good to go by early in the season if all goes well.

The Hackett connection makes this an obvious choice, but the injury and his ability as a blocker make him a rather questionable fit. Blocking by the tight ends is key in his west coast offense, and he’s not really that type of player.

Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks

Everett has a history in a west coast offense with the Rams and played with Wilson last season with the Seahawks. He is not a world-beating tight end but would give the Broncos a consistent tight end who can make plays in the passing game who also knows the system. He also wouldn’t command a ton of money

Maxx Williams, Arizona Cardinals

Another option that is not a world-beating tight end, but a role player who would fit in well with this offense. He’s one of the better run blockers at the position and would be a nice compliment to the receiving threat that Albert O. is. Williams does offer something in the passing game, but his run blocking skills would really be beneficial to this offense.

Williams wouldn’t cost a ton and would be a nice depth option at the position as a possible number two tight end behind Albert O.

C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals

Uzomah enjoyed a solid season this year with the Bengals and even flashed some big-play ability as well. He became a bit of a fan favorite as well during this as well, so I think there will be some mutual interest there. However, if he becomes available, he would be another solid low-cost option for the Broncos.

He’s a capable blocker, shows ability in the passing game, and would be a low cost option.

O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The former first-round pick was a fan favorite of Broncos Country during the draft process, but he has been disappointing during his time with the Bucs. However, he still has “potential”, is highly athletic, is a capable blocker, and could benefit in a new situation.

A favorable offensive scheme and Russell Wilson at quarterback could be the situation needed for him to fully breakout.

Defensive line

With Shelby Harris now in Seattle, that leaves Dre’Mont Jones and Mike Purcell(potential cap cut) as the remaining starters on the defensive line. So, the Broncos need to replace Harris on and off the field as well. I think this is a major hole on the defense and one that deserves a significant addition to help replace Harris’s role on this defense.

So here are some names that I could see the Broncos potentially adding during free agency,

Akiem Hicks, Chicago Bears

Hicks has long been a stud defender in this league, but now at 32 years old, he’s on the tail end of his career. He doesn’t offer a ton in the pass rush game but is a solid run defender who can eat up blockers.

He likely would sign a one or two-year deal and likely a sizeable deal, but he would be an ideal replacement for Harris.

Calais Campbell, Baltimore Ravens

Campbell like Hicks is at the tail end of his career but would be a solid stop-gap option along the Broncos defensive line. He nearly signed with the Broncos a few years back but ended up signing with the Jaguars. He has local ties to Denver and the addition of Russell Wilson could convince him to join the Broncos and chase a ring with them.

Folorunso Fatukasi, New York Jets

Fatukasi is another run defender who could serve as an early-down option for the Broncos' defense. He doesn’t offer much in the passing game but could be a low-cost option along the defensive line