Pros & Cons to Broncos Extending LT Garett Bolles

The Denver Broncos soon have a big decision to make on Garett Bolles.
Sep 26, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos offensive tackle Garett Bolles (72) reacts after
Sep 26, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos offensive tackle Garett Bolles (72) reacts after / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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The Denver Broncos have a few players with expiring contracts after the 2024 season. While the Broncos should be in a better position as far as the salary cap goes, they won't be able to keep everyone.

In the coming weeks, I'm going to examine some of the Broncos players who are in the final year of their contracts and might be under consideration for a new deal. While not everyone I will discuss will get extended, they're the team's top candidates for a multi-year deal.

For each player, I will look at the arguments for and against extending the player, then consider what may matter the most to the Broncos when it comes to an extension.

We'll continue this series with left tackle Garett Bolles.

The Case for an Extension

Bolles, a 2017 first-round pick, has become the most consistent performer on the Broncos' offensive line since 2019. Though his first two seasons were rough, mainly because of penalties, he reduced those flags over time and improved as a pass protector, while remaining consistent as a quality run blocker.

Bolles suffered a broken leg in 2022 but came back with a quality season in 2023. While there had been rumors that he might be traded, it never came to pass and Bolles demonstrated he could still play well.

We have seen other cases of offensive tackle who have been able to play for many years, proving they're deserving of a third contract. One need only look at somebody like Andrew Whitworth, who played at a high level, even getting Pro Bowl selections and All-Pro awards, well into his mid-30s.

While it's true that somebody like Quinn Meinerz is younger, it's not difficult to find offensive guards in the draft. But when you have a quality offensive tackle, he can be difficult to replace. It would be better to commit money to Bolles than to Meinerz.

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The Case Against an Extension

There is no guarantee that Bolles will continue to play well beyond 2024. While there are examples of offensive tackles who have played for multiple seasons at a high level, others have declined markedly once they hit their mid-30s.

Bolles may be a good offensive tackle but he's not an elite player. There may be an argument for keeping an elite offensive tackle around but if said tackle is good but not elite, it won't be as difficult to replace him.

Meinerz may not play a premium position but he is a younger player with more upside. It's better to pay the younger player with upside than to play the older player who may be good, but whose decline could come at any moment.

Finally, there is no guarantee that the Broncos will be able to keep Bolles at a reasonable cost. The top offensive tackles average at least $20 million per year. Is that the amount the Broncos should pay to a player who will be 33 years old in 2025?

Bottom Line

What leads to an extension likely depends on two factors: How many years the Broncos believe Bolles has left in the tank before his play declines and how much money he wants in a new contract.

Bolles could be in line to seek an extension similar to what Dion Dawkins got from the Buffalo Bills, who gave him a three-year, $60.02M deal through 2029. Though Dawkins had three years left on his previous contract, the amount committed may represent what Bolles would get in an extension.

With that said, the Broncos also have to ask themselves about an extension for Bolles compared to other players, particularly Meinerz. It's possible the Broncos could keep both, of course, but for now, fans should operate under the assumption that one of Meinerz or Bolles could be extended while the other will be allowed to leave after 2024, and later replaced through the draft.

There's only so much cash and cap space to go around, after all.


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Bob Morris

BOB MORRIS

Bob Morris has served as Mile High Huddle's resident Cap Analyst covering the Denver Broncos and NFL since 2017. His works have been featured on Scout.com, 247Sports.com, CBSSports.com and BleacherReport.com.