Denver Broncos General Manager George Paton had a one-on-one interview with KOA’s Benjamin Albright and Ryan Edwards today at the combine and dropped an interesting nugget regarding impending free-agent defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones.
He repeated that they would like Jones back and that they have had some good conversations, but that he is going to hit the market. He continued by saying, “When these players hit the market, you never know what is going to happen”.
George Paton indicated to us today in our exclusive interview that Dre'mont was going to hit the market. https://t.co/1H5kzmgAXv— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) February 28, 2023
Earlier today, we heard from Paton and he spoke about Dre’Mont Jones and how that he and Jones’s agent have had positive talks. Paton mentioned that as well in the KOA interview, but mentioning that Jones would indeed hit the market is news.
It was already reported by 9NEWS Denver’s Mike Klis that the Broncos are unlikely to place the franchise tag on Jones, so the fact he is hitting the market should not come as a surprise. He is arguably the top free agent defensive lineman on the market and is the top pass rushing interior defensive lineman on the market. If the Broncos are not going to tag him and commit to him, why would Jones accept an offer from them before testing the market?
The franchise tag for a defensive lineman is about $19 million dollars and Jones would likely get that or potentially more on the free agent market. Interior pass rushers are highly valued and often “overpaid” in free agency, so the fact he is testing the market is not a good sign for the Broncos. As Paton stated, when a player like that hits the market, you never know what is going to happen.
Jones has been a consistent contributor for the Broncos along their defensive line. This past season, he totaled 42 tackles and 6.5 sacks in 13 games for the Broncos’ defense. In his four seasons with the teams, he has totaled 124 tackles, 22 sacks, 6 pass deflections, and 2 career interceptions.
Outside of Dre’Mont Jones, the Broncos lack consistent pass rushers from their defensive line. Nose tackle D.J. Jones is a solid run defender but does not have the pass-rushing chops that Dre’Mont has. So, losing Dre’Mont would open a pretty big hole on the Broncos defense. When you’re in a division that has Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert, you need to have as many pass rushers as possible on your defense.
So, if the Broncos were to lose Jones to free agency, he would be a major loss for this defense and a hole they would likely need to fill. In my personal opinion, if Jones hits the market, as Paton says he will, it is probably unlikely that he will return to the team. He is a consistent interior pass rusher and a top one on the market and will likely get some big money offers from other teams. The Broncos do not have a ton of cap space, so they would likely be priced out on Jones, but we shall see. Paton will continue to meet with Jones’s agent in Indy at the combine, so maybe things will change.
You can listen to the full interview between Broncos GM George Paton and KOA’s Benjamin Allbright and Ryan Edwards below.