The Denver Broncos bolstered their defensive line Tuesday by signing defensive end Jeremy Mincey, who was released by Jacksonville after a falling-out with management last week.
Mincey reunites with Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, who was his head coach with the Jaguars earlier in his career, and with Broncos run-stuffer Terrance Knighton, whom he played alongside for several seasons in Jacksonville.
To make room, the Broncos waived center J.D. Walton, who hasn’t played this season after suffering a setback last summer in his return from ankle surgery. Walton started the first 36 games of his NFL career in Denver but went on IR four games into the 2012 season with an ankle injury and never played again.
The Broncos (11-3), who own the league’s 23rd-ranked defense, have sorely missed defensive tackles Derek Wolfe (illness) and Kevin Vickerson (hip), who went on IR last month. Against the Chargers last week, they allowed 103 yards rushing on first down and Ryan Mathews became the first running back to top 100 yards on them all season.
Wolfe has missed three games after suffering what the team called a ”seizure-like” episode on the team bus ride to the airport on Nov. 29. He’s lost a lot of weight but has begun working out with the team’s training staff and the Broncos are hopeful he can return to the rotation for the playoffs.
Mincey is a sixth-year veteran who signed a four-year, $20 million deal last season with the Jaguars that included $9 million in guarantees and calls for a base salary of $4 million for next season.
However, he fell out of favor with the Jaguars this season and coach Gus Bradley and general manager Dave Caldwell decided to release him Friday after he was late to a team meeting. He also was inactive for two games and was fined last month for tardiness.
Mincey, 30, had eight sacks in 2011 and three last season, starting 16 games both years. This season, he had two sacks in eight games as a reserve.