With free agency less than one month away, and 27 free agents on the roster, the Denver Broncos are gearing up for a bevy of changes.
Nowhere could those changes be more evident this offseason than on the “OK” offensive line.
Broncos GM John Elway is currently scouring over college players and looking for new talents at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he spoke with the media Tuesday about many of the team’s free agents. As did head coach Vic Fangio.
”You know those commercials about ‘it’s just OK?’ Well ‘OK’ isn’t good enough,” Fangio said Tuesday, where he accompanied Elway.
In fact, even though they’ve been a weak point of the team for years, “OK” describes Denver’s offensive line pretty well in 2019. They ranked 12th per Pro Football Focus, which is actually pretty decent, but DVOA had them at 25th in the passing game and surprisingly 10th in the run game.
Still, the Broncos’ line, led by Garett Bolles’ 10, had too many penalties in 2019.
Speaking of Bolles, the left tackle and former first-round pick was one of three linemen Elway discussed on Tuesday. 2020 is Bolles’ fourth season, meaning the final on his rookie deal and Denver’s GM said they would wait until after the draft to decide on picking up the fifth-year option on Bolles.
That means, as we all suspected, the Broncos could take an offensive tackle at No. 15 overall. The top two linemen coming out of college this year are Tristan Wirfs and Andrew Thomas, but both may be gone at 15. Even if Denver drafts a tackle, Bolles would still be in line to start this season.
Moving over, Ronald Leary’s $9 million team option will be declined, per Elway, which will push the Broncos over the $70 million cap space threshold. But, it means they need a new starter at right guard.
Ereck Flowers is 25 and a free agent after playing with Washington, or 32 year old Mike Iupati could make sense if the money is right.
Finally, Elway was also asked about free agent center Connor McGovern.
“We’d like to get better there obviously. Connor (McGovern) is still free, so we’ll be talking to Connor too,” Elway said.
The Broncos know what it’s like to lose a homegrown center because they did just that last year when Matt Paradis left for Carolina. If Denver can re-sign McGovern for around $7 million per year, he should be retained.
Stay tuned for what happens as there will be many players’ contracts to report on soon.