The 2022 offseason marked the first time in Josey Jewell’s NFL career that he was a free agent, although his availability did not last long in the open market. Denver Broncos general manager George Paton announced Jewell’s re-signing in March to a two-year contract worth $11 million, with $6 million guaranteed this season.
“I’m very happy that they want me back, and it meant a lot to sign here,” Jewell said during Wednesday’s press conference at the UCHealth Training Center. “We kind of had a wave of old coaches, a bunch of new guys. I was just hoping to build a little relationship at least while I was still here in rehab at the start of the offseason. I got to know a few of them. Linebackers coach Peter Hansen, I got to talk to him a couple of times, ‘Coach E’ (defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero) a couple of times, and really enjoyed my conversations with them.
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Entering his fifth season, Jewell will play under his third head coach since entering the league with Vance Joseph and Vic Fangio in the rearview mirror. In 2018, former Iowa linebacker Hawkeye was drafted in the fourth round (No. 106) and competed for playing time as a backup. Jewell eventually got starting shots on a limited basis in its first two seasons before bursting onto the scene in its third year.
The 6-foot-2, 236-pound linebacker played in all 16 games of the 2020 season, recording 113 tackles (67 solo), five tackles for a loss, five QB hits, four passes defended and two sacks. Jewell hoped to continue his searing success in 2021, only to suffer a torn pectoral muscle while tackling a returner in the Week 2 game at Jacksonville.
Jewell was asked about a season-ending injury that completely halted his fourth-year momentum.
“Yeah, I definitely feel like I’m playing one of the best balls I’ve played professionally so far,” he said. “But I’m definitely looking towards this and trying to improve on this from what I did last year, and keep trying to stack those days and stack the good plays and good practices. on top of each other.”
Jewell didn’t step into the background after his pectoral injury last fall. He stayed plugged into Dove Valley and became almost an extra coach for his suddenly beleaguered teammates who had not only lost him to the injury bug, but also teammate Alexander Johnson. Jewell explained why he stayed in the building.
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“I just want to stay with them, depending on what’s happened in the next year and also, keep this relationship with everyone,” Jewell said. “I know if you slack off from the game for too long you lose some IQ. or maybe you slack off somehow you miss somewhere and lose knowledge. So I wanted just stay around the game, stay up to date and get to know these guys even more, and keep that relationship and communication going.
The 27-year-old is in line to start at inside linebacker in the Broncos’ 3-4 base defense and will play alongside newly signed linebacker Alex Singleton, in addition to Baron Browning and Jonas Griffith. Jewell was the model of consistency in the Broncos locker room and is known for his willingness to coach guys, his blue-collar work ethic, and an extremely high drive that translated into the rehab room.
“I’ve never really had an injury like this before, or an injury at all that was a season-ending injury. So much better than I expected,” Jewell said when asked about his recovery.
‘The Outlaw’ has confirmed he has been “100 per cent” since February so his rehab is complete. The Broncos will continue to rely on Jewell as a veteran presence in a rapidly changing culture in Dove Valley this season.
Asked about expectations for the Broncos’ new defense, Jewell opted for the fences.
“I think we have a lot of great players, a lot of great talent in the room, whether it’s linebacker, safety, offense, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent, I just think we need to articulate our work, communicate, and I think the sky’s the limit for us.
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