With Keith Brooking hitting free agency and Joe Mays coming off a season-ending ankle fracture suffered after he lost the starting middle linebacker job to Brooking, it was reasonable to wonder if the Broncos were going to be shopping for a middle linebacker this offseason.
According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, that’s not the case. Per Klis, the team is planning to let Nate Irving and Steve Johnson battle it out for the job. Neither player has seen much time on defense, playing mostly special teams, but that doesn’t seem to bother the Broncos.
Irving was the team’s third-round pick in 2011 and Klis reports that the feeling is he was hurt “as much as any player” by the lockout. Johnson was signed as an undrafted free agent before last season and the team gave him a sizable signing bonus to secure his services, which indicates their desire to add him to the roster.
Mays is still under contract, although he’s only guaranteed $500,000 of his $4 million salary and he already fell out of favor with the team last season. It seems like the Broncos will be casting their lot with inexperience in the middle of their defense.