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Matt Paradis #61 of the Denver Broncos warming up before a game against the Minnesota Vikings during week one of preseason at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on August 11, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. The Vikings defeated the Broncos 42-28. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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Franklin: Paradis the ‘most important free agent’ the Broncos have

Matt Paradis #61 of the Denver Broncos warming up before a game against the Minnesota Vikings during week one of preseason at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on August 11, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. The Vikings defeated the Broncos 42-28. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

With free agency looming just about a month away, speculation has already begun on who the Denver Broncos may want to target to add to the roster.

On Monday, however, 104.3 The Fan’s Orlando Franklin said perhaps the most important transaction this offseason for the Broncos might not be an acquisition but rather keeping a key piece of the team’s offensive line: center Matt Paradis.

“I’m signing Matt Paradis. He’s the most important free agent the Denver Broncos have. I have no idea why he has not been signed,” Franklin said as he filled in on “Schlereth and Evans” on Monday.

Franklin said that if the Broncos should bring in a young quarterback, which some speculate could happen as early as this offseason, Paradis would be a pillar to lean on in terms of reading defenses for a young signal-caller.

“If you’re going get a rookie quarterback at some point, why not re-sign your best offensive lineman that could completely take away from making the Mike points and the responsibility for a rookie quarterback early on in his career?” Franklin said.

Later Monday, “Stokley and Zach” co-host Brandon Stokley said that if it came down to Denver choosing to retain just one of its free agents, cornerback Bradley Roby or Paradis, he’d choose the latter.

“I would choose to keep Matt Paradis, that center, that anchor. You need a centerpiece of your offensive line, and, for me, that would be Matt Paradis,” Stokley said.

Paradis has been a model of consistency for Denver since being drafted in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Until a fractured fibula ended his season in Week 9 last season, the center hadn’t missed a snap since taking over the starting role in 2015.

Even with landing on injured reserve midway through the 2018 season, Paradis still ranked second among all NFL centers according to Pro Football Focus.

Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @JohnnyHart7.