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Priority undrafted free agents for the 2023 Broncos

Art Green was given a $170k guarantee to sign with the Broncos.

Temple v Houston Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

In 2022, the Denver Broncos gave their largest guaranteed contract among undrafted college players to edge Christopher Allen from Alabama. Allen got a $180k guaranteed deal, which is still significantly less than Alex Forsyth will make if he spends the entire year on the 53-man roster. Should Forsyth do that, he will earn $770k.

According to Mike Klis, former Houston CB, Art Green, get the largest guaranteed deal among Bronco UDFAs this year at $170k.

The amount of money offered reflects how much demand there was for the “priority” undrafted free agent, as they can choose the team that offers them the most money (or not). Undrafted players have much more freedom than drafted players since they can seek out the best situation for them both in terms of money and in terms of positional need and scheme fit.

There were 17 undrafted rookies in 2022 who got $150k or more in guaranteed money.

Ben Petrula T Boston College CLE $150,000
Jack Cochrane LB South Dakota KC $150,000
David Anenih DE Houston TEN $150,000
Kevin Jarvis G Michigan State DET $155,000
Obinna Eze T Texas Christian DET $170,000
Ryan Van Demark T Connecticut IND $175,000
Christopher Allen OLB Alabama DEN $180,000
Kody Russey C Houston NE $180,000
Haggai Chisom Ndubuisi T ARI $207,000
Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa DT Notre Dame LV $207,000
Markquese Bell S Florida A&M DAL $215,000
Mario Goodrich CB Clemson PHI $217,000
Abram Smith RB Baylor NO $222,000
Rashid Shaheed WR Weber State NO $222,000
Luiji Vilain LB Wake Forest MIN $227,000
Kevin Austin WR Notre Dame JAC $230,000
EJ Perry QB Brown JAC $230,000
Noah Elliss DT Idaho PHI $240,000
Kennedy Brooks RB Oklahoma PHI $240,000
Zach McCloud LB Miami (FL) MIN $250,000
Carson Strong QB Nevada PHI $320,000

Some of them played in 2022. Linebacker Jack Cochrane was a key special teams player for the Chiefs. Safety Markquese Bell played 22 snaps on defense and 80 snaps on special teams for the Cowboys. Wide receiver Rashid Shaheed had 28 catches for 488 yards and 2 TDs for the Saints and linebacker Luiji Vilain played 34 defensive snaps and 59 ST snaps for the Vikings. So only five of the 17 highest priority UDFAs from 2022 played in 2022, but Christopher Allen probably would have played for the Broncos were he healthy enough to do so given the lack of pass rush on the Broncos at the end of 2022.

The Broncos highest guarantee for an UDFA in 2021 was $150k. That was given to OT Drew Himmelman. The Broncos also guaranteed $125k to TE Shaun Beyer. Neither played a snap for the Broncos. Beyer spent some time on the Packers practice squad last season. Himmelman spent two seasons on the Bronco PS and was signed last month the the Commanders 90-man roster.

The biggest UDFA guarantee the Broncos gave in 2020 was to Levante Bellamy - $65k. I didn’t track the guarantees back further than 2020.

Once their is a final list I will publish the data here for how much, if any, each of our UDFAs get in guarantees for 2023. I’m guessing that the four shown above by Klis are not the full list. The Broncos gave seven UDFAs guarantees in 2022, ten in 2021 and six in 2020. Four would be an abnormally small number of guarantees given out. In Sean Payton’s final season as head coach of the Saints, they gave out guaranteed money to eleven UDFAs although three were $1500 or less. Guard Adrian Magee was guaranteed $500. That seems like a slap in the face, but the Saints gave at least some guaranteed money to every UDFA they signed that year. This was not the case in 2021 with a different head coach at the helm.

Given the depth at CB, do you think that Green’s $170k guarantee means he has the best chance of making the active roster out of training camp of the 16 UDFAs the Broncos signed ? I would guess that one of the running backs has the best shot given the question marks surrounding Javonte Williams recovery and the lack of depth behind Samaje Perrine. Tony Jones has 67 career carries. Damarea Crockett has 3. Tyler Badie has 1.

Denver Bronco 2023 Undrafted free agent signings (not to be confused with minicamp invitees).

1. RB Jaleel McLaughlin, Youngstown State

2. RB Emanuel Wilson, Fort Valley State

3. WR Taylor Grimes, Incarnate Word

4. WR Dallas Daniels, Jackson State

5. TE Kris Leach, Kent State

6. TE Nate Adkins, South Carolina

7. OT Henry Byrd, Princeton

8. OT Alex Palczewski, Illinois

9. DL PJ Mustipher, Penn State

10. DL Sione Asi, Oklahoma State

11. edge Thomas Incoom, Central Michigan

12. edge Marcus Haynes, Old Dominion

13. LB Seth Benson, Iowa

14. CB Art Green, Houston

15. CB Darrious Gaines, Western Colorado

16. DB Devon Matthews, Indiana


Which position do you think has the best chance to make the 53-man roster from the UDFAs?

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