Done Deal: Broncos Sign All-Pro Linebacker After Surprise Cut…..

Through 11 weeks of the 2023 NFL season, the Denver Broncos are one game out of the AFC playoff picture. Denver’s resurgence under head coach Sean Payton has been shocking, given their 1-5 start to the year. The defense can always use reinforcements, and an All-Pro option might’ve fallen into their laps.

On Tuesday, November 21, the Indianapolis Colts unexpectedly released linebacker Shaquille Leonard. The news came after Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley told Leonard he would be inactive against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 12.

In his November 21 article, Lou Scataglia of Predominantly Orange urged Denver to sign Leonard as the team makes a playoff push.

The Denver Broncos have a pretty porous run defense, and I’d venture to guess that Shaq Leonard could help shore that up for the Denver Broncos. Currently, Alex Singleton and Josey Jewell are the two starting inside linebackers, and they’ve turned into one of the best duos at ILB in football. Singleton makes about 48 tackles a game and Jewell has forced and recovered a ton of turnovers for Denver.

Shaquille Leonard was at one point one of the premier linebackers in football, and I believe he’s still very good, and if he clears waivers, could be had for cheap.

Injuries took a toll on Shaquille Leonard during his time with the Colts.

Leonard exploded onto the NFL scene as a second-round pick in 2018.

During his rookie season, Leonard led the league with 163 tackles, generating four forced fumbles, two interceptions, eight passes defended and seven sacks. He took home Defensive Rookie of the Year honors for his efforts.

Leonard could do it all with the Colts, as he was a tackling machine and excelled in pass coverage. Throughout his first four seasons, Leonard amassed 538 tackles and 15 sacks. He was named a First-team All-Pro in 2018 and from 2020-21.

Then, the pesky injury bug began to take its toll.

In 2022, Leonard missed the first three games while recovering from offseason back surgery. The linebacker returned in Week 4 against the Tennessee Titans and suffered a broken nose and concussion in the matchup. Leonard missed the following three games. His season ended on injured reserve after suffering a setback with his back injury.

In 2023, injuries likely caught up to the veteran defender as he failed to replicate his All-Pro form. Missed tackles and being out of position led to a decrease in his playing time.

After making 58 starts through his initial four seasons, Leonard has played in only 12 games since 2022.

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