The Denver Broncos offense is looking to bounce back in a big way this upcoming season. Continuity at the offensive tackle position will be crucial to keeping Russell Wilson upright, and training camp will help set the tone.

Will Mike McGlinchey solidify the Denver Broncos previous void at right tackle?

The Denver Broncos have had a void at the right tackle position for far too long with failed free agency signings, injuries, and one-year stop gaps. Shortly after hiring Sean Payton, the Broncos and general manager George Paton worked to identify top needs in this year’s free agency period.

Mike McGlinchey was one of the first moves made by Paton and Payton, helping establish the vision for the Broncos’ offense. Signing a five-year deal, McGlinchey will be around the Mile High City for the foreseeable future, and his veteran experience is something the Broncos haven’t had on the offensive line in quite some time.

One of the obvious keys to success for the tackle position this year will be maintaining health — something Denver’s offensive line struggled with mightily last season. McGlinchey was an impact player for the San Francisco 49ers at right tackle for various years and helped build their winning tradition with Kyle Shanahan.

His experience as a winner and playing for a winning team is valuable in every sense as the Broncos begin to revamp the perception of them nationally. After Russell Wilson and other Broncos quarterbacks were sacked 63 total times last season, things had to change, and McGlinchey is one of the major changes made this offseason to help rectify that.

New offensive line coach Zach Strief reunites with Payton and will be crucial to helping the Broncos’ offensive line get on track after struggling for the past few seasons. He’ll work with McGlinchey and the rest of the Broncos’ O-line in an effort to establish an identity of being physically aggressive in the run game and extra protective when it comes to passing situations.

Garett Bolles returns this season after missing a large portion of last year with a broken leg. Bolles is facing a crucial year ahead of him as his contract is entering the final phases of his prior extension. While he still has two seasons left on his deal, the Broncos could theoretically move on from it after this season which would result in only $4M in dead cap space, according to Spotrac.

If the Broncos were to move on, it would likely tie into his $20M cap hit next season or a lack of production this year. Coming off of a major injury always presents question marks for any player. Still, it’s more of a storyline to watch with Bolles considering he was a subject in potential trade discussions this offseason.

Payton’s offense, on paper, seems to play into the play style Bolles thrives on — being physical in the run game, with Bolles potentially getting back to pulling from his tackle position. How he holds up in pass protection will be one of the more important factors from an evaluation standpoint for him after he had some bouts of inconsistency last season before suffering the broken leg in Week 5.

Behind Bolles and McGlinchey, question marks arise as it pertains to sustainable depth at tackle. Veteran Cam Fleming returned as a late free-agency signing after starting and appearing in 15 games for the Broncos last season. He appears like a surefire lock to make the roster on paper, considering his prior starting experience.

However, the depth behind Fleming presents plenty of questions as training camp approaches.

Isaiah Prince is a key name Broncos fans must pay attention to during training camp and the NFL preseason. Prince is a roster prospect who could develop even further on the Broncos roster with prior experience, even though it’s not a large enough sample size to determine whether he’ll truly make it.

He’s appeared in 19 career NFL games and has started in six of them since 2019 despite utilizing the Covid opt-out in 2020. After spending time on the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad, the Broncos signed him to a futures contract in February. After the team decided to let Calvin Anderson hit free agency, the outlook on the depth at tackle has been questionable, mainly relative to the lack of overall starting experience.

If Bolles or McGlinchey were to miss any time for whatever reason, the Broncos desperately need players who can step into that role without a significant drop off in production or performance — which is a rare and tough task for any backup lineman in the NFL.

Behind Prince, the Broncos have Quinn Bailey, Christian DiLauro, and undrafted rookie free agents Alex Palczewski and Demontrey Jacobs. Bailey is the only player listed in that group who has been on the Broncos since 2019 and has been a consistent mainstay on the practice squad. He’s also been called up to the active roster several times throughout his tenure in Denver.

Palczewski and Jacobs are two interesting names to watch during training camp, standing at 6’6 and 315 lbs. With four quarterbacks currently on the Broncos training camp roster, how the tackle group holds up in training camp and preseason will help Paton and Payton evaluate the depth of their team at one of the NFL’s most important positions.

Right now, the fourth offensive tackle spot on the roster appears entirely up for grabs, with room for more contributions on the team’s practice squad after the season officially begins. With Strief taking over, Payton and his staff will look to identify players who can contribute right away if needed. Still, more importantly, they can find players who they feel can further their development on the practice squad going forward.

Denver Broncos offensive tackle position overview

Garett Bolles, Mike McGlinchey, Cameron Fleming, Quinn Bailey, Christian DiLauro, Alex Palczewski, Isaiah Prince, and Demontrey Jacobs make up the depth for the Denver Broncos’ offensive tackle position.

Storylines to watch

  • Can Garett Bolles and Mike McGlinchey emerge as one of the NFL’s top tackle duos?
  • How will Garett Bolles perform coming off of last season’s injury?
  • Will Mike McGlinchey solidify himself as a long-term option at the right tackle position?
  • Could Isaiah Prince develop into a future starter at offensive tackle?
  • Is the Broncos’ depth good enough at offensive tackle?

What’s next?
The Denver Broncos report for training camp on Friday, July 28.