Report: Former Cardinals DL Zach Allen reaches agreement with Broncos

Mar 13, 2023, 6:10 PM

Zach Allen #94 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates a sack against the Los Angeles Chargers in the f...

Zach Allen #94 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates a sack against the Los Angeles Chargers in the fourth quarter at State Farm Stadium on November 27, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals have started free agency by losing a key part of their defense. Defensive lineman Zach Allen has agreed to a three-year deal with the Denver Broncos, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Allen was one of the team’s premier free agents this offseason alongside cornerback Byron Murphy. He reunites with defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, who now holds the same title in Denver.

The defensive line room gets even thinner without Allen thanks to his departure and the retirement of J.J. Watt. The group now features Rashard Lawrence, Leki Fotu, Jonathan Ledbetter and Manny Jones. Allen and Watt combined for 18 of the team’s 36 sacks last year, plus 45 QB hits.

Allen just wrapped up his fourth NFL season after entering the league as a 2019 third-round draft pick out of Boston College.

Despite a revolving door of assistant coaches over the years, Allen showed steady growth year after year since getting his feet wet with a four-game sample size his rookie season.

This past year was easily Allen’s best despite missing four games due to a hand injury, with the defensive lineman racking up 5.5 sacks, 47 tackles, 10 for loss, 20 QB hits and eight passes defensed.

Per Pro Football Focus, Allen posted a career-best defensive grade of 72.7.

The lineman is just one of 30 in-house free agents the Cardinals had to make a decision on this offseason under new general manager Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon.

Before the legal-tampering window for unrestricted free agents opened on Monday ahead of the new league year, Arizona was already tweaking the roster.

It started with the release of wide receiver Chosen Anderson, which freed up $12 million in cap space.

Starting outside linebacker Markus Golden was also shown the door two days after Anderson’s release, providing another $3.08 million in cap relief and a dead money hit of $1.08 million.

The Cardinals did, however, see the return of exclusive rights free agent and WR Greg Dortch, who signed his one-year tender to remain with the team last Friday.

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