Payton 'Anxious to See' Broncos ILB Jonas Griffith in 2024

Griffith missed all of last season with a torn ACL.
Sep 25, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos linebacker Jonas Griffith (50) celebrates after an interception in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 25, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos linebacker Jonas Griffith (50) celebrates after an interception in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It has been 575 calendar days since inside linebacker Jonas Griffith appeared in a regular-season game for the Denver Broncos. The streak dates back to the woebegone Nathaniel Hackett era and is owed largely to the torn ACL that Griffith suffered in training camp last year.

Suffice to say, Denver's current brain trust is eager to stop the count.

“Really when you look at it, both he [Griffith] and [WR] Tim [Patrick], they were kind of like redshirt players again," head coach Sean Payton told reporters on June 4 following Organized Team Activities. "So I’m anxious to see him once we get into camp and get to know the player more when he’s carrying his shoulder pads, fitting runs, playing the passing game. He’d be one of them.”

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A former undrafted free agent, Griffith had brief stints in San Francisco and Indianapolis before latching on with the Broncos, for whom he's registered 48 solo tackles, four tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, one interception, and a pass breakup across three seasons — 12 starts, 591 total defensive snaps.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound defender is a plus contributor on both sides of the ball (special teams included). His issue is availability, or lack thereof, as he's missed at least a chunk of each aforementioned season on injured reserve.

Like in Patrick's case, anything the Broncos get out of Griffith, 27, could be deemed a bonus. Unlike Patrick, however, Griffith is squarely in the mix for a starting spot after the club elected not to re-sign veteran ILB Josey Jewell.

Payton confirmed in May that "there's open competition" between Griffith, free-agent addition Cody Barton, holdover Justin Strnad, and possibly UDFA Levelle Bailey. The winner will stand aside Alex Singleton in the center of Denver's defensive front.

"There’s open competition there, and we have Jonas, we have like three or four players that we’re going to rotate through," Payton said. "Again that’s one where once the pads get on, I think it will be a little bit easier to evaluate."


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Zack Kelberman

ZACK KELBERMAN

Zack Kelberman is the Senior Editor for Mile High Huddle. He has covered the NFL for more than a decade and the Denver Broncos since 2016. He's also the co-host of the wildly popular Broncos show the Mile High Huddle Podcast.