Free agent Earl Mitchell spurns Broncos, signs with 49ers

DENVER -- The streak ended. 

Since Vance Joseph took over as the Broncos boss, he was a on roll, landing every coach he targeted for his staff. Following a good visit Wednesday night with Earl Mitchell, the Broncos remained hopeful they would land the free agent defensive tackle.

The fit was right, but the money was bigger in San Francisco. Niners general manager John Lynch outbid the Broncos for the 29-year-old. An NFL source confirmed the Broncos were told Friday night Mitchell was heading to San Francisco. Mitchell's free agent tour include stops in Seattle, Denver, Atlanta and San Francisco. 

According to NFL Network, Mitchell agreed to a four-year, $16 million with $5.5 million in the first year. It represents quite a haul for Mitchell. The Dolphins released him rather than pay a $4 million salary in 2017. The Broncos offered him more than $4 million for the upcoming season, but were shy of the Dolphins' mark. 

The Broncos wanted Mitchell for his strength and versatility as they attempt to improve their defense against the run. Mitchell was a favorite of Joseph last year in Miami and played for defensive line coach Bill Kollar in Houston.

Denver added street free agent Bobby Richardson on Friday. The defensive end spent last season on three different practice squads after starting 11 games for the Saints in 2015. The Broncos will continue to look for defensive line help. Calais Campbell is a popular name among fans. He starred at Denver South High School, and produced a huge season for the Cardinals a year ago with eight sacks and two forced fumbles. Campbell projects to receive in excess of $10 million a season. 

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