Entering his fifth season in the NFL, former Utah left tackle Garett Bolles knew it was going to have to be a big one if he was going to earn a new contract.
After all, the Broncos passed on giving Bolles an extension this past offseason, wanting one more season to see if the embattled left tackle could finally reach his potential when the team drafted him in the first round four years ago.
“I knew coming into here I had to do whatever I can to be the man so this organization can trust me, the fans can trust me and we can get back to where we belong and that’s in the AFC championship, to the Super Bowl,” Bolles told KSL.com last month. “And that’s our plan ever year. I know we have the quarterback and the receivers to do that, the defense to do that. And now it’s just up to me to protect Drew all that I can.”
Bolles no longer has to worry about his financial future as he recently signed a 4-year, $68 million deal.
Now at $17 million annually, Bolles will be the fourth-highest paid left tackle in the NFL, behind Green Bay's David Bakhtiari ($23 million per year), Houston's Laremy Tunsil ($22 million) and Baltimore's Ronnie Stanley ($19.75 million). It should also be noted that each of those players protects some of the top quarterbacks in the game, while it differs on a week-to-week basis regarding who Bolles protects.
According to Pro Football Focus, Bolles is the top-ranked tackle in the NFL for 2020 after being dominant in both run and pass protection, as well as not giving up a sack this season.
Bolles hasn't quite lived up to the billing of being the No. 20 overall pick in the 2017 draft, although starting all 48 games since then. He's had issues with penalties and inconsistent play, amassing 46 flags during that time period while consistently being booed.
“Nobody likes to get booed, and so I took that upon myself to get better,” Bolles said. “I do whatever I can, you know, I worked hard, I put on 20 extra pounds, I did whatever I could to make myself better, the best version of me, moving forward because I know this is a very important season not just for me but for my family. This organization is counting on me to be the best version of myself and I knew whatever I had to do this offseason to get myself ready I did.”
The biggest difference in Bolles game has been the continuity of having offensive line coach Mike Munchak return this season. It's paying dividends as this is the first time in Bolles career that he's had the same position coach in back-to-back seasons.
"That’s huge for me. Me and Coach Munchak have a really great relationship. We talk regularly during practice, before the game, after the game, just trying to get me better,” Bolles said. ”I’m just looking forward to our relationship continuing to get better. I trust him, I believe in him, I know he believes in me and I’ve just got to do everything that I can to make him know that he can trust me.”
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