Denver Signs Frank Clark For Pass Rush Insurance
With Baron Browning sidelined due to surgery, Denver needed to sign a pass rusher for depth. The former three-time Pro Bowler Frank Clark fits the bill, as the Broncos also signed interior defensive lineman Zach Allen (former Arizona Cardinal) in free agency to replace Dre’mont Jones, who signed with Seattle.
Clark, 29, inked a one-year deal worth up to $7.5 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, as he joins Russell Wilson and new head coach Sean Payton.
Compensation update: Broncos are giving former Chiefs’ pass rusher Frank Clark a one-year deal worth up to $7.5 million, per source. The deal includes a $5.5 million guaranteed base salary, $1 million in makeable incentives and another challenging $1 million in incentives. https://t.co/JbAgDZ6LbN
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 8, 2023
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The former second-round pick from Michigan was drafted by Seattle in the 2015 NFL Draft and spent four seasons there, as the defensive end had ten and 13 sack seasons with the Seahawks.
The defensive end then spent four seasons with the Super-Winning Chiefs for two playoff runs, as Clark will see his former team Kansas City twice a season as he stays in the AFC West. Clark’s best season with the Chiefs was an eight-sack season when he first joined the team in 2019.
The former two-time Super Bowl Champion joins in the mix of Randy Gregory, who had an injury-riddled 2022 with his new team, and Nik Bonitto, a former second-round pick last year from Oklahoma who made a minimal impact his rookie season.
Browning converted from inside linebacker to outside linebacker before the 2022 season and thrived in his new role, as he is currently the leading sack-getter still on the team with five sacks.
The Broncos trading away Bradley Chubb to Miami (who had 5.5 sacks for Denver) gave Browning a chance to shine in his new position and he did under the radar. With Browning on the edge, Jones was the leading leader for Denver last season, with 6.5 sacks, but played in the interior as more of a 3-4 defensive end or 4-3 defensive tackle.
But due to a partially torn meniscus, Browning will undergo off-season arthroscopic knee surgery but is expected back by training camp, as he is still out during the start of OTAs.
Clark gives them a quality starter in case there are setbacks with Gregory and Browning’s recent injuries and someone who, statistically, knows how to get after the quarterback efficiently.
It will be interesting where he lines up, as Clark has played in the 270s weight range, but he has also been in the 260s more recently and wanted to play in the upper 250s. If he puts back on good weight, Clark could be in the mix for a more versatile role when Gregory and Browning are both healthy to keep them all on the field at the same time, as he could play some 3-4 defensive end.
This would make sense for new defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and his multiple-front scheme, as he gets his experienced edge rusher starter in Clark.
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