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Despite ‘very positive’ talks with Broncos, Dre’Mont Jones is expected to test free agency

The NFL’s free agency negotiating window will open on March 13 and the most notable in-house free agent for the Denver Broncos is defensive end Dre’Mont Jones.

Jones, 26, is one of the top interior defensive linemen scheduled to become a free agent this month, and the Broncos would like to re-sign him. Speaking at the NFL combine earlier this week, general manager George Paton described the team’s talks with Jones as “very positive” leading up to free agency.

“I’ve spoken with his agent, Kyle McCarthy, from Athletes First,” Paton said. “I’ve had a number of conversations with Dre’Mont. Dre’Mont is a very good player. He’s one of our core players on defense. They’ve been very positive.”

Paton has said in the past that the team makes it a priority to re-sign “core players” to long-term extensions. Despite the positive talks with Jones, though, the defender plans to test free agency and the Broncos will not place a one-year franchise tag on him, according to KMGH-TV’s Troy Renck.

Placing a franchise tag on Jones would cost Denver $19.73 million this season. A long-term deal would likely have a much lower salary cap hit in 2023 and in the early years of the contract. In order to sign him to an extension, though, the Broncos will likely have to compete with other teams who could drive up Jones’ price.

Paton wants to keep Jones on the roster, but it remains to be seen just how much Denver is willing to pay in order to make that happen.

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Story originally appeared on Broncos Wire