The Broncos spent the opening period of free agency getting gutted. On Tuesday, though, they ensured one of their top defensive playmakers will stick around in Denver for the foreseeable future.

As first reported by 9News' Mike Klis, the Broncos signed linebacker Brandon Marshall -- not the Jets wide receiver of the same name -- to a four-year extension that includes a $10 million signing bonus. Minutes later, Troy Renck of the Denver Post confirmed Klis' report and provided more financial details. According to Renck, it'll be a $32 million deal with $20 million guaranteed.

John Elway then provided his own confirmation.

Marshall -- a former Jaguar and member of the Broncos' practice squad until Peyton Manning jump-started his career -- has turned into one of the team's most dependable defenders. He appeared in all 16 games last season and led the team in solo tackles with 77.

He was scheduled to become a free agent after the upcoming season, so the Broncos now have him under contract through 2020, as Renck reported.

Brandon Marshall reached an agreement that will keep him in Denver through 2020. USATSI


An outside linebacker like Von Miller deservedly receives the majority of attention in Denver because of his ability to destroy quarterbacks, but he shouldn't overshadow someone like Marshall, who makes his contributions in the run game.

Don't discount his impact on one of the greatest defenses in the history of the game. As you can see below, Marshall was nearly perfect when going up against running backs last year.

Now it's time for the Broncos to reach an agreement with Miller. They'll have until July 15 to do so.