It turns out the Denver Broncos were interested in more than just talking to Mark Barron. The free-agent linebacker was brought in for a visit this past week and after passing the two-stage COVID-19 testing protocol and his physical, a deal has been consummated.
According to 9NEWS' Mike Klis, Barron has agreed to terms.
"Mark Barron has agreed to terms with Broncos," Klis tweeted.
It's a one-year deal again for Barron, per Klis, which fits fine with the Broncos' priorities at linebacker. Todd Davis might be hitting unrestricted free agency next year, but Alexander Johnson and Josey Jewell will remain under team control, and the Broncos will be getting back Justin Strnad, the fifth-round rookie who suffered a season-ending wrist injury last week.
If Barron comes in and is called up to play and thrives in Fangio's scheme, he might be able to earn another deal from the Broncos. But that would be putting the cart before the horse at this stage.
Barron played his college ball at Alabama, so he'll fit in with other Crimson Tide alums like Kareem Jackson and Jerry Jeudy. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Barron as a safety in the first round back in 2012.
In his third season, the Bucs unceremoniously traded him to the then-St. Louis Rams, coached by Jeff Fisher. By this point, Barron had mostly remained a strong safety while playing a little dime-backer but it was in St. Louis where he was converted from safety to linebacker officially.
2015 marked Barron's first full season as an inside linebacker and he totaled 116 tackles (79 solo) in 12 starts. Barron survived the regime change that saw Fisher get fired and replaced with Sean McVay in 2017.
Following the 2018 season, the Rams released Barron.
The veteran would sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019, starting nine games at inside linebacker and totaling 82 tackles (58 solo). All-in, Barron has nine career interceptions and has experience in coverage.
As a converted safety, you'd hope that Barron could bring some coverage ability to the Broncos' linebacker corps but if his Pro Football Focus grades are any indication, that might be an unrealistic expectation. We'll see.
However, Barron is an experienced veteran linebacker. In the box, he can move and get to the ball. We'll see if maybe the combined coaching acumen of Vic Fangio, Ed Donatell, and Reggie Herring can bring his old safety chops in coverage back to the fore.
Fans can get their first look at Barron in the Orange and Blue as the Broncos return to practice on Monday.