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Broncos make decisions on all three restricted free agents

Henry Chisholm Avatar
March 12, 2018

Three Broncos were restricted free agents this offseason and the team has made decisions on all of them ahead of Wednesday’s deadline.

The Broncos placed second-round tenders on center Matt Paradis and outside linebacker Shaq Barrett, according to 9News’ Mike Klis. But the team opted not to place a tender on wide receiver Bennie Fowler III, making him an unrestricted free agent and all but ending his time in Denver.

Restricted free agents have until April 20 to sign their qualifying offer. They can also sign with a new team, but the new team must send the draft compensation specified in the tender to his original team. The original team also has the right of first refusal and can match any contract offered to the player. The second-round tender placed on Paradis and Barrett comes with a $2.9 million price tag.

Fowler signed with the Broncos as an undrafted free agent out of Michigan State in 2014, and his role has increased every season since he arrived in Denver. He was the Broncos’ third receiver last season, behind Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, but the 26-year-old only caught 29 passes for 350 yards and three touchdowns. According to Pro Football Focus, only 53.7 percent of his targets resulted in a completion. Regardless, Fowler’s departure amplifies Denver’s need to find a productive third receiver.

Paradis has started 48 games for the Broncos since he was drafted out of Boise State in the sixth round of the 2014 draft. Despite undergoing two hip surgeries last offseason, Paradis hasn’t missed a snap since he became a starter at the start of the 2015 season. Paradis is a candidate for a long-term extension, should the Broncos leave free agency with excess cap space.

Barrett joined the Broncos as an undrafted free agent out of Colorado State in 2014. The 25-year-old has appeared in every game over the last three years after spending his rookie season on the Broncos’ practice squad. In that time, he’s forced seven fumbles and posted 11 sacks. In 2017, Barrett started nine games while Shane Ray was recovering from multiple wrist surgeries.

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