Broncos Sign Free-Agent Rush Linebacker Isaiah Irving to 53-Man Roster, per Report

Chad Jensen

The Denver Broncos are coming off their first loss of the season after falling to the Tennessee Titans in heartbreaking manner 16-14. It was a game without much pass rush to speak of from either side with one sack to be had. 

Broncos' outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu got that sack on Ryan Tannehill but anyone who watched that Monday night showdown could recognize that Vic Fangio's defense struggled to generate much pressure, although Tennessee's play-action game is a formidable foil to any team's pass rush.

Bradley Chubb managed to play 73 percent snaps but was obviously still not back to his old self. And although the team temporarily called up rookie Derrek Tuszka to the gameday roster, he only saw snaps on special teams. 

Attaochu and Malik Reed made up the difference when Chubb lost steam. The Broncos anticipated some pass-rushing problems after Von Miller went down with a freak ankle injury last week with a preemptive decision to bring in ex-Fangio acolyte Isaiah Irving. 

Initial reports indicated the Broncos planned to sign Irving to the practice squad once he passed through the three-stage COVID-19 tests. But a report on Tuesday morning from the same Denver insider who broke the Irving story last week — KOARadio's Benjamin Allbright — has the Broncos signing him to the 53-man roster. 

"Per Source the Denver Broncos have signed outside linebacker Isaiah Irving to the 53 man roster," Allbright tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. 

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Irving went undrafted out of San Jose State in 2017 and signed with Fangio's Chicago Bears. As the defensive coordinator in Chicago, Fangio had Iriving under his wing for two seasons, so at least the schematic foundation is there for the Broncos.

Irving bounced back and forth from the Bears' practice squad to the active roster, though he did appear in 13 games in Fangio's final year — 2018, the season Chicago's defense was so dominant a head-coaching job couldn't be denied him any longer.

All-in, Irving has one career sack and 27 tackles. Again, he's solid depth but if the Broncos are looking for a veteran who can step in and make an impact right away, Irving isn't it. 

Don't get me wrong. The kid has some upside but he's raw, untested, and relatively inexperienced. 

Meanwhile, we know the Broncos reached out to Clay Matthews and Cameron Wake last week but could not come to an agreement. Former long-time Baltimore Raven Terrell Suggs is still out there, who happens to join Miller and Wake as the only three active players with 100-plus career sacks. 

Suggs makes perfect sense from the outside looking in. Internally, though, it's hard to say how the Broncos view their rush linebacker situation. 

Again, though, if GM John Elway and Coach Fangio are resting their hopes on Irving, the Broncos are likely to be disappointed. In a perfect world, the Broncos sign a proven vet like Suggs and by the time the team enters the second quarter of the season, Chubb is back to full strength and doing his thing with Attaochu, Reed, and I guess Irving, serving as the backup rotational guys. 

The Broncos will have to make a corresponding roster cut with Irving signing. No word yet on who that might be. 

Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen and @MileHighHuddle.

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Comments (3)
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Dick Hanky
Dick Hanky

Wow, total game changer.


Tough to find a difference maker at this point in the season.


Underwhelmed but strength in numbers I guess