One of the most consistent players on the Broncos roster has been, surprisingly, a player on the offensive line. While the offensive line as a whole has faced criticism from both fans and media members, everyone can agree that the Broncos have a special player in center Matt Paradis.
Paradis, a 2014 sixth-round pick, is entering his fourth year for the Broncos. Since being promoted from the Broncos’ practice squad in 2015, he has started all 16 games for the Broncos in back-to-back seasons.
Paradis proved he can be effective in both run blocking and pass blocking, showing poise and consistency in all areas of the offense. Paradis might not get the attention of some other centers around the league, but his outstanding play certainly warrants consideration as one of the league’s best.
After the the 2016 season, Paradis was selected as a Pro Bowl alternate. It appears that the Broncos have found their permanent answer at center for the foreseeable future. But, as the 2017 season draws near, Paradis is entering the final year of his contract.
Due to make $615,000 for the 2017 season, Paradis, 27, should be looking for a contract extension as one of the game’s best centers.
According to a report from Over The Cap, paying Paradis like a top-10 center could cost the Broncos a minimum of $5.58 million a year.
While paying Paradis the money he deserves is a steep price for the Broncos to pay, it might be worth it in the long term. If the Broncos are confident in the quarterbacks on the roster, keeping them protected well into the future is a piece of mind that usually exceeds any given price tag. Tom Nalen, a seventh-round pick in 1994, was the anchor of a line that delivered two Super Bowls while earning three All-Pro nods. Paradis could be on that same trajectory.
However, health concerns are a factor to take into consideration for Paradis’ future with the Broncos.
At the end of 2016, Paradis underwent dual hip surgery. One hip injury would be cause for concern at a leverage position like center. Two is certainly reason for pause. If Paradis misses any time in 2017 due to injury, the Broncos may be hesitant to give Paradis a long-term offer.
Thankfully, the Broncos will have more time to decide whether they want to extend Paradis, as Paradis will enter the 2018 offseason as a restricted free agent.
Restricted free agents are not available to sign with a team right away, and the Broncos will have the opportunity to match any offer another team gives the Paradis.
Fans should remember similar situation with running back C.J. Anderson, whom the Broncos were able to retain after the Miami Dolphins offered him an original contract.
While the Broncos’ offensive line appears to be improved from the 2016 season, losing Paradis going forward would be a huge blow to the Broncos as they continue to build a line that can protect their young quarterbacks.
Paradis is expected to start for the Broncos Week 1 against the Los Angeles Chargers, which would be the first step he takes towards securing a well-deserved long-term deal with the Broncos.