According to 9NEWS Denver’s Mike Klis, the Denver Broncos did not tender safety P.J. Locke, cornerback Essang Bassey, long snapper Jacob Bobenmoyer and quarterback Brett Rypien. This allows all three to instantly become free agents. The team also did not tender exclusive rights free agent Jonathan Kongbo, but did tender ERFA’s ILB Jonas Griffith, OL Quinn Bailey, and punter Corliss Waitman.
#Broncos did not pick up Exclusive Rights tender for DB PJ Locke, sources tell @theScore.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) March 13, 2023
Versatile guy who played Nickel, Safety and Dime last year, while leading the team in ST tackles, despite missing two games. Locke also forced a game-clinching FF vs the #49ers.
The real surprise here is safety P.J. Locke. He is a versatile safety who was a key member of the Broncos' special teams unit and made plays when asked to play defense. With veteran Kareem Jackson a free agent, the Broncos' safety depth has taken a bit of a hit with this. All-Pro Justin Simmons leads the group, while Caden Sterns could potentially step up into a starting role this season. You could also see 2022 draft pick Delarrin Turner-Yell move up the depth chart as well. With all that said, I would expect the safety position to be addressed to some extent this offseason.
We already touched on Brett Rypien not receiving a tender and the Broncos quickly made a move to replace him on the roster with former Patriots and Raiders quarterback, Jarrett Stidham. He will now serve as the backup quarterback for Russell Wilson and look to develop under Sean Payton.
Cornerback Essang Bassey was on and off the Broncos roster the past few years and never really showed enough to stick on the roster. The former undrafted free agent had his moments, but it made sense for the Broncos to go in another direction this offseason.
As for the exclusive rights free agents, it made sense to bring back linebacker Jonas Griffith, offensive lineman Quinn Bailey, and punter Corliss Waitman. All three started games for the Broncos last season and will at least add depth at these positions. I would expect competition to be added at all three of these positions, especially at punter, but for now, they will stick around and fight for a roster spot.