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Broncos roster review: Defensive lineman Zach Allen

The free agent addition will look to replace Dre’Mont Jones on the defensive side of the ball

Carolina Panthers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Kelsey Grant/Getty Images

As the Broncos headed into free agency, all eyes were on impending free agent, Dre’Mont Jones. He was one of their better young defensive players on the roster, but he was set for a big payday in free agency. Ultimately, the Broncos allowed Jones to test free agency and he ended up signing a large deal with the Seattle Seahawks. This meant the Broncos would be in the market for a potential replacement for Jones, and they ended up finding one. They signed former Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Zach Allen to a three-year, $45.75 million contract with $32.5 million of the contract fully guaranteed including a $15 million signing bonus.

Allen now reunites with defensive coordinator Vance Joseph whom Allen played for while in Arizona. Last season, Allen had a breakout year in Joseph’s defense and he credits him for his improvement and being able to thrive in his defense.

“That definitely was a big part. I think Vance is one of the best coaches in the NFL and I was really fortunate to be with him for four years and, if you have a chance to make it five, six, seven, then you’re going to do that. So really I’m a believer in his stuff and his coaching style and at this point he’s just a really good friend.’’

Allen calls Joseph one of the best coaches in the league and even called him a “really good friend”. So, at the end of the day, we can credit Joseph for being a big factor in Zach Allen decision to sign with the Broncos this past offseason.

Now, Allen joins a Broncos defensive line with some high expectations and some big shoes to fill. Hopefully, he will be able to continue improving as a player and be a dominant force along the Broncos' defensive line this season and into the future.

Player Profile

Zach Allen | Defensive lineman | Denver Broncos

Height: 6-5

Weight: 285 pounds

Age: 25 years old

Experience: 5th year in the NFL

Zach Allen’s 2022 stats with the Arizona Cardinals

Allen played in 13 games for the Arizona Cardinals last season and totaled 47 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, and 20 quarterback hits. All these were career-highs for Allen who played on a not-so-talented Cardinals defense last year.

Zach Allen’s 2023 Outlook with the Denver Broncos

With the Cardinals, Allen was an ascending young player who finally came into his own this past season and was one of the very few bright spots that team had last season. This led to Cardinals fans having a bit of a meltdown when the Broncos' signing of Allen was first reported. Now, Allen joins a Broncos defense with some big shoes to fill and with some higher expectations now that he is being paid a good amount of money.

With that said, I think Allen will do well with the Broncos and ultimately be a difference-maker for them on defense this upcoming season. He's a big run-stuffing lineman who can also use his power and short-area quickness to help get after the quarterback. You saw this last season when Allen totaled 5.5 sacks, 10 tackles for a loss, and 20 quarterback hits for one of the least talented defenses in the league last season. Now, he joins a more talented defense in a scheme he knows the best and should end up thriving with the Broncos.

What I like most about Allen is that he lined up all over the Cardinals defense last season and made plays. He played on the edge, lined up with his hand in the dirt taking on guards to even playing some nose tackle. With Joseph now coaching him in Denver, I think we could see more of that this upcoming season as well.

At the end of the day, the Broncos play in a division with Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert. You need to disrupt and hit these quarterbacks as much as possible if you want to win games and take the division and I think Allen is a big step in that direction for the Broncos. Especially if Randy Gregory can stay healthy and the rest of the Broncos' edge rushers are able to get after the quarterback as well.

Final Thoughts

Even before Dre’Mont Jones signed with the Seahawks, Zach Allen seemed like a logical target for the Broncos. He would be a little bit cheaper and arguably is coming off a better season than Jones. This all became more logical when the Broncos hired Vance Joseph to run the Broncos defense. Allen is his guy, there is clearly mutual respect there and it just made a lot of sense for both parties. Obviously, the money mattered too, but connections matter in the NFL and the Broncos took advantage of one here to sign Allen.

I think Allen will be a damn good player for the Broncos this season, and potentially be a great one if the pieces around him stay healthy and contribute. The Broncos need that type of play from Allen this year with their lack of depth and proven players at that position so hopefully, he lives up to the expectations this upcoming season.