Broncos Bringing in Free-Agent OT Demar Dotson for a Visit, per Report

Chad Jensen

In case you missed it, starting right tackle Ja'Wuan James — yes, the 52 million-dollar man who played exactly 63 snaps last year — opted out of the 2020 season earlier this week, literally leaving the Denver Broncos in the lurch. 

The Broncos played almost all of last season with Elijah Wilkinson at right tackle in place of James to mixed results, putting it kindly. A natural guard, Wilkinson was mostly a liability at right tackle, though his willingness to stop the gap was commendable. 

While Wilkinson will likely continue to project as the Broncos' starting right tackle with James off the board, the team is poised to bring in some outside help to bolster the depth at worst and perhaps even the starting lineup at best. 

According to KUSA's Mike Klis, the Broncos are bringing in veteran OT Demar Dotson for a visit. 

"Broncos bringing in former TBay starting RT Demar Dotson for visit, sources tell 9News. Dotson must first go through COVID-19 testing, then physical. If all works out, Dotson would add OT depth to Bolles/Wilkinson after Ja'Wuan James opt-out. Elway knows how to audible," Klis tweeted on Saturday. 

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Dotson is an 11th-year pro who's spent the entirety of his NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after entering the league as a college free agent out of Southern Mississippi in 2009. He's an eight-year starter who'll turn 35 in October. 

Although his name wasn't uttered as often as the likes of Jason Peters, Kelvin Beachum, or Cordy Glenn in the offseason free-agency buzz, Dotson is a viable right tackle candidate and actually fits the profile of what the Broncos need quite well. Regardless of one's opinion on James, the Broncos are locked into his guaranteed contract in 2021, which means, whomever the team signs to step in this year is likely to be offered a very short-term deal. 

Then again, starting left tackle Garett Bolles will be a free agent in 2021, so the Broncos could have need of a more long-term option. If Bolles plays well this season, though, as his fellow trenchman and close friend Dalton Risner believes, there's a chance the Broncos will re-sign him. 

Dotson started 15 games at right tackle for the Bucs last season. Of all the available free-agent tackles, which currently includes the aforementioned Glenn, as well as Donald Penn, Dotson was the highest-graded based on last season's action. 

Dotson ranked No. 31 among qualifying tackles with a 71.0 grade via Pro Football Focus. PFF gave Dotson a 72.4 grade as a pass-blocker and a 67.3 grade as a run-blocker. In our Mile High Roundtable this week, more than one MHH staffer advocated for the Broncos to sign Dotson. 

For comparison's sake, Wilkinson earned a 59.6 cumulative grade last year, ranking him No. 59 among tackles, with Bolles finishing No. 18 at 76.1. When it comes to grades, fans would be wise to take PFF with a grain of salt but they can sometimes be a useful barometer. 

Bottom line is, Dotson is an experienced vet who would immediately upgrade the Broncos' tackle depth. Per Klis, Bolles and Wilkinson would still be penciled in as the book-end starters but Dotson — if signed — would compete with both. 

It sounds like the Broncos have already made their decision. Now it's simply a matter of coming to terms on a deal that makes sense to Dotson, as well as passing the physical and virus test. Stay tuned. 

Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen and @MileHighHudde.

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Comments (17)
No. 1-12
TurkeyBronco
TurkeyBronco

Think a lot of Broncos Country would be happy with that. Presumably just for the year?

broncofan55555
broncofan55555

Obtainng a mid level grading out tackle is a lot better than Wilkinson plus this provides some depth. This could leave Risner to continue his development as the LG and help to stabilize Bolles and Cushenberry. As has been noted on this forum, the middle three of the line seem to be the most important part of the OL for Lock and having good stability at both LG and RG could be very important factors in the success of a young QB and the success of Cushenberry or another young center. This is an exciting development.

4 Replies

Chilly303
Chilly303

I agree. If Dotson's brought in, it could give the Broncos a solid, albeit not spectacular, option at tackle. Either as a starter or for capable depth. Leave the interior intact, let chemistry and consistency develop for what will be the strength of the OL for at least the next few years. The Broncos don't have to give a pick up to acquire him and he'd come relatively cheap. As of now, the Broncos have the 4th most cap space for 2020 so any savings would roll over into next season. In next year's draft, I'd be surprised if the Broncos didn't draft OT in the 1st, or 2nd at the latest, and I wouldn't be surprised if a few are taken by the 4th round. That'd help fill out youth and talent on offense and the next few drafts could focus more on defense.

trapblock
trapblock

I disagree with both you and Chilly. Rt and Lft tackle are of equal importance in today's game, and Risner was a stud at rt tackle at Kansas. He should have been moved there last year when James went down. Guard is easier to fill, and they have depth there. In my view, they're hoping Muti stays healthy and pops so they can plug him in at left guard and move Risner to his future all pro position of rt tackle. Do it now!

TonyT67
TonyT67

When watching Locks college games, he played his best when he was able to step up into the pocket and deliver the ball. If you have a shaky interior 3, you can’t step up because you’ll have rushers right in your face. LT is the most important OL spot no doubt. But you can’t screw everything up because one player goes down. Also Risner Best projected as a guard in the NFL. Most NFL teams felt that way.

broncofan55555
broncofan55555

You might be right trapblock especially now that Risner is no longer a rookie. Moving rookies around messes with their progression, and that could well be why he was not moved to RT last year. Maybe this year, the coaches will feel that he could manage the shift. Yet, it is my bet that they will want him to progress in the area he has already gained proficiency (LG) plus help to stabilize Bolles and Cushenberry. Moving a solid piece of the OL to another position changes the whole dynamic of things, and since the team already will be plugging in three new pieces (C, RG, and possibly RT with Dotson rather than Wilkinson), my bet is that the coaches will want to keep at least some CONTINUITY from the previous OL.

Brew77
Brew77

My only thought is why is he still on the market? With all that has happened this offseason you would think some team would have signed for this particular situation the Broncos have found themselves in. Hopefully he isn’t looking for multiple years or too much money he could be a decent signing on a one yr deal at 2 to 4 million if not cheaper.

WSmart
WSmart

This guy is unbelievable, playing RT for this long in the NFL, same age as Domota Peko.

Be real, be sober.

Jimrichard
Jimrichard

Broncos need help at this position this sounds good.

Ronjo27
Ronjo27

I like this idea, bring him in on a one or two year deal (I personally believe that James will get hurt again next season so insurance is not a bad idea) to add depth or even win the spot over Wilkinson. If the price is right it's hard to find any negatives to this potential addition.

mdevodude
mdevodude

Didn't anybody watch the last 2 games of last season? Jake Rodgers played RT and played well enough for PFF to give him grades in the 80's, higher than any other Denver OL over the entire season. Why isn't he mentioned ahead of Wilkinson who was a train wreck where ever he played.

Mike_d
Mike_d

I like it

Tebow1507
Tebow1507

I have an idea!!! Slide Eisner to RT, Start Matui @ LG, Cushenberry @ C, Glasgow @ RG, and Bolles @ LT.

toddx7
toddx7

Dotson should provide some support at OT for the season and be able to handle the position. Wilkinson will probably also get some rotational work practically every game because of his age.

Jimrichard
Jimrichard

Dude is listed at 6'-9" & 315 lbs dang that is tall and has long arms to go with it. Certainly looks the part. Let the competition at right tackle begin.

Lance Sanderson
Lance Sanderson

Dotson would be the Broncos best pass blocking RT they've had since Orlando Franklin left. Well, aside from James but we know how that's playing out.

This is a good move if Elway can pull it off.


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