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Broncos sign linebacker Dekoda Watson


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --With the OTA phase of offseason work set to begin in just over a week, the Broncos bolstered their linebacker corps by signing unrestricted free agent Dekoda Watson on Monday.

The 6-foot-2, 245-pounder is in his seventh season after breaking into the league as a seventh-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2010. He played four seasons for the Bucs before spending the 2014 season with Jacksonville and Dallas and the 2015 campaign in New England.

Watson played three regular-season and two postseason games last season for the Patriots over two stints -- one a two-week stint in September and the other beginning in Week 17. He finished with two tackles in the regular season and added a pair of assists in the playoffs.

The 28-year-old linebacker has played in 73 career games, making seven starts, the most recent coming with the Jaguars in 2014. But most of his work has come on special teams, which he has played extensively throughout his career.

Watson has 45 career special-teams tackles, three fumble recoveries and three blocked punts during his career. He even was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month -- a rare accolade for a non-punter, kicker or returner -- in November 2012 after a month in which he blocked a punt and recovered a fumble that led to a touchdown.

Defensively, his career has come in 4-3 schemes, in which he played outside linebacker, both on the strong and weak side. In the Broncos' alignment, he could project as an inside linebacker, although he could provide additional depth on the outside in a pinch if needed.

Watson provides an insurance policy of experienced depth at a position group that lacks it, with all the returning linebackers other than Brandon Marshall having moved up in the wake of Danny Trevathan's free-agent departure for Chicago. On the outside, the Broncos lost Lerentee McCray, and Watson could help there, as well.

Watson's signing also comes after the demarcation point for free-agent signings and losses to count towards next year's compensatory draft-pick calculation, so his arrival will not affect the Broncos' eventual complement of picks in 2017.

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