He is a Kennedy, all right. And right now he’s not asking what the Broncos can do for him but what he can do for the Broncos. And make no mistake, he’s ecstatic for the opportunity. “My career right now, I understand what’s happened to me, but I have high hopes for myself,” said Jimmy Kennedy, the Broncos’ newest defensive tackle. “I know what I can do, I know what I can still do. The reality is, I had three different defensive coordinators in my four years in St. Louis and they all thought differently about me, had different ideas about how I should play. “I’m just looking to come out there and turn my career around, get a good start and keep it going.”
As reported by Rocky Mountain News, the Broncos shipped a sixth-round pick in the 2008 draft to the Rams on Friday for Kennedy. He was the 12th pick of the first round in the 2003 draft. After the Rams drafted University of Nebraska defensive lineman Adam Carriker in the first round this year and Kennedy met recently with Rams coaches, the veteran figured Carriker, a defensive end with the Cornhuskers, would get the first look to start alongside La’Roi Glover at defensive tackle. “Let’s just say I knew something was going to happen with me,” Kennedy said. “It was just terrible communication on their part. But I like Adam. He’s a young guy; I wish him all the best. “For me, I’m just looking forward to a fresh start and being somewhere I’m wanted and try to make a difference for a team trying to win a Super Bowl.” The 330-pound Kennedy becomes the 17th defensive lineman on the Broncos roster – they signed Sam Adams on Monday – and the ninth defensive tackle as they try to adjust their defensive front to fit the scheme of assistant head coach/defense Jim Bates.
Bates tends to prefer bigger defensive tackles than the Broncos have had in recent seasons in order to try to keep offensive linemen off the linebackers and allow the pass rushers at defensive end more room to work. And Kennedy has had 50- tackle seasons each of the past two seasons, something no other defensive tackle on the current Broncos roster has done in that span.
Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist said of Kennedy, “He just fits what we’re looking for on the interior,” “He’s a big, massive guy . . . who played with a lot more strength, I thought, last year. If he plays well, we’ll do everything we can to get him extended.” Sundquist also stated, “You can’t draft a man (that big) who runs like that and has that athletic ability in the late rounds. You just can’t do it.” Kennedy also fits the contractual mold Broncos coach Mike Shanahan likes in those looking for a career rebound. Kennedy is in the last year of the five- year, $9 million deal he signed as a rookie, which means he is making a base salary of $760,000, which the Broncos can take on very easily. The team has also made it clear it will sign players who perform to long-term extensions, which means Kennedy knows he is more than likely playing for a potentially bigger deal down the road. To make room for Kennedy on the roster, the Broncos released cornerback Eric Hill.