These four key Broncos defenders are facing a make-or-break year

Published May. 8, 2015 1:36 p.m. ET

Everyone knows about Demaryius Thomas' contract situation.

But five key members of the Denver Broncos' defense are facing a similar scenario. And with the Broncos' transition to a 3-4 defense, the team's front office will have to decide who fits and who doesn't in 2015.

Von Miller, Danny Trevathan, Derek Wolfe, and Malik Jackson are slated to become unrestricted free agents. Throw in restricted free agent linebacker Brandon Marshall, and the Broncos could be facing another offseason of upheaval.

Jackson, who'll play end in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' new 3-4 defense, says his long-term security is always on the back of his mind.

"It's a big year for me, it's my contract year, so if I said I wasn't thinking about that I'd be lying," Jackson told ESPN. "I know what I have to do is go out here and produce and make it hard on (general manager John) Elway not to give it to me."

It'll be tough on Elway no matter what. The Broncos' GM will have to factor in everything, like the ability of each player to adapt to a new scheme and the checkered injury history of Trevathan and Wolfe, who've both missed large chunks of the last two seasons.

Five starters from the 2014 Denver Broncos will suit up elsewhere next season (with a sixth, Wes Welker, more than likely off the team too). Expect more roster turnover if Elway can't lock some of these players up.


Wolfe and Jackson, to their credit, are just worried about what they can control on the football field.

"When you're winning games and having fun you're not really -- I'm not really even thinking about a contract or anything, my main goal is winning a Super Bowl," said Wolfe.

Added Jackson:  "Stuff happens upstairs and if you try to think about what goes on in those offices upstairs with Elway and them, you'll go crazy. I just try to worry about what I can do out here."

(h/t ESPN)

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports