Top 5 This Week

Related Posts

Broncos address porous run defense by agreeing to two-year deal with DL Malcolm Roach, source says

Ask Sean Payton what went poorly for the Broncos in 2023 and he won’t get too far down the line before bringing up Denver’s run defense.

The Broncos gave up 5.0 yards per carry, worst in the NFL. They gave up 137.1 yards per game, the No. 30 mark.

They had one particularly bad game — 350 yards allowed in that historic Week 3 blowout loss against Miami — but they also gave up 234 rushing yards against the New York Jets. They surrendered 171-plus on six occasions.

It makes sense, then, that Denver is adding reinforcements in free agency. The Broncos agreed to terms with former New Orleans defensive tackle Malcolm Roach  on a two-year deal that can be worth up to $8 million, sources confirmed to The Post on Tuesday morning.

Roach, listed at 6-foot-3 and 290 pounds, grades out as one of the better run defenders among interior linemen by some services. Pro Football Focus graded him to have the best “stop” percentage — run plays which he turns into a negative for the offense — in the league at 17.4%.

Roach, 25, went undrafted out of Texas in 2020 and has been a part-time player for the Saints, but he’s appeared in 41 games over his first four professional seasons (25 the past two years). He fits a similar profile to Monday’s safety addition, Brandon Jones. He’s still young, was available at a modest second-contract price and will likely be counted on to play a slightly bigger role in Denver than with his previous team.

One coincidental note: Jones and Roach played together at Texas with Denver’s re-signed safety P.J. Locke and also fellow safety Caden Sterns.

Roach actually isn’t the first defensive line signing of the offseason for Denver, either. The Broncos also signed defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence, another 2020 draft pick, to a futures contract in January.

Lawrence started 13 games and appeared in 25 for Vance Joseph’s Arizona Cardinals between 2020-22 before bouncing around practice squads in 2023.

Bringing back Burton. The Broncos on Tuesday also agreed to re-sigh fullback Michael Burton, a source confirmed to The Post. The veteran will be back for a second season in Denver and a 10th in the NFL after turning himself into a reliable contributor in 2023.

Burton, 32, appeared in all 17 games, including three starts. He didn’t get the ball much — seven carries for nine yards and three catches for eight yards — but served as a blocker and special teams regular. Overall he played 18% of Denver’s offensive snaps and 63% of the team’s special teams snaps.

Trautman returns on a two-year deal: The Broncos are re-signing tight end Adam Trautman on a two-year deal, multiple sources told The Post. Trautman, who was traded to Denver from New Orleans during last year’s draft, caught 22 passes for 204 yards and three touchdowns in 17 games.

The deal might not stop the Broncos from adding another tight end through the draft or free agency. Denver released Chris Manhertz and Greg Dulcich has battled hamstring injuries.

Want more Broncos news? Sign up for the Broncos Insider to get all our NFL analysis.

Popular Articles