Broncos, Billy Turner can’t agree on extension so tackle takes on free agency

Billy Turner. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports.
Billy Turner. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports.

Wave goodbye to offensive lineman Billy Turner.

Turner, the versatile lineman who can play guard or tackle, is taking his talents to a new team per Ian Rapoport.

Turner, who was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the third round of the 2014 selection process, spent a short time in Baltimore with the Ravens and found his way to Denver in 2016. He was nothing but a backup with the Broncos in 2016-17, but he became a key member of the offensive line which was devastated by injury.

Turner started 11 games last season in the Mile High City, playing parts of six games at right tackle and parts of seven other games at right tackle on that M*A*S*H unit. He made a career-high of $2 million last year on a one-year deal with the Broncos, earning only $794,000 in 2017.

Last week, the Broncos were reported to be looking to re-sign both Turner and right tackle Jared Veldheer before free agency starts on March 13. Those talks with Turner, though, broke off on Friday and he’ll test the waters of free agency, likely believing he’s a starter in the league and worth a large raise.

Turner was a valuable backup for the Broncos, certainly, but he’s not starting worthy. It means Veldheer will likely be the starter for a second straight season at right tackle, Garett Bolles at left tackle, Ronald Leary at left guard and probably Connor McGovern at right guard.

Of course, that raises the question about whether or not the team is able to retain stalwart, stud center Matt Paradis, who’s the glue guy on the line. The Broncos are working to re-sign Paradis, but the word is out on how strong a player he is, and if he gets to free agency, it’ll mean a bidding war.

Certainly, John Elway and the Broncos front office are working hard to not only rebuild the team but compete for the playoffs in 2019. Elway’s done a great job so far in the two quarterback trades he’s made as well as moves to keep Emmanuel Sanders and Derek Wolfe while cutting Darian Stewart and Brandon Marshall. What comes next, we all have to wait and see.

But, whoever the Broncos bring in to play on the offensive line will get tutelage from offensive line guru Mike Munchak.