ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos continued a measured approach through the first day of the early negotiating period in free agency as they agreed to terms Monday night on a three-year, $30 million deal with defensive tackle D.J. Jones, sources told ESPN.
Jones, who played nose tackle for the San Francisco 49ers, fills a specific, early-down need in the Broncos defense.
After Broncos general manager George Paton put together the blockbuster trade to acquire quarterback Russell Wilson last week, he then took a far more low-key entrance into the first day of the open negotiating period.
The Broncos also agreed to one-year deals with tight end/fullback Andrew Beck, tackle Calvin Anderson and guard Ben Braden. Beck and Anderson were two of the Broncos' restricted free agents while Braden has played in 16 games over four years for the New York Jets and Green Bay Packers.
The Broncos have plenty of spots to fill on the defensive depth chart with eight players who started at least one game on defense last season and are unrestricted free agents to go with the departure of defensive end Shelby Harris, who was traded to Seattle as part of the deal for Wilson.
Jones is the first addition as he made the most of the one-year, prove-it deal he signed with the 49ers last season. The 27-year-old finished with a career-best 56 tackles and played a career-most 51% of the team's defensive snaps.
He had 10 tackles for loss, two sacks and forced two fumbles as well in 2021. Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, who was hired in February after a Super Bowl win as part of the Los Angeles Rams' staff, said he will keep a 3-4 look on defense.
In that scheme, Jones projects to play the nose tackle spot most of the time with plenty of work on early downs and some situational work in the pass rush as well.
Jones topped 500 snaps for the 49ers last season. The Broncos had just two of their defensive linemen play more than 500 snaps in 2021 -- Harris and Dre'Mont Jones.
San Francisco originally selected Jones in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL draft. He's appeared in 61 games with 126 tackles, 7 sacks and 23 tackles for loss in his five seasons with the team.