In nearly every Denver Broncos’ loss this season, the team was emphatically beaten at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. With the likes of Dalton Risner, Lloyd Cushenberry III, Netane Muti, and Quinn Meinerz all under contract for 2022, the Broncos are poised to have a high floor along the interior of the offensive line, regardless of what GM George Paton does at the position this offseason.
However, reinforcements are on the way. After suffering an ankle injury to end his season, many assumed that veteran right guard Graham Glasgow had played his last snap in Denver. Since arriving in 2020 on a lucrative three-year deal, Glasgow had been solid.
However, Glasgow's level of play was not worth the $11.7 million cap hit he carried in 2022. With Denver able to save $8.7M against the cap if it were to move on from Glasgow with a post-June 1 designation, it appeared as if the writing was on the wall for Glasgow and his tenure in Denver.
However, ESPN reporter Field Yates revealed that Glasgow has come to terms on a contract restructure with the Broncos, ensuring his return for 2022.
According to 9NEWS' Mike Klis, Glasgow's base salary has been reduced from $8.4M to $3.1M, with the opportunity to make $1.4M back in play-time incentives after finishing the 2021 season on injured reserve due to that ankle injury.
After hearing from Paton on Sunday following the firing of head coach Vic Fangio, one thing was obvious: the front-office czar will always embrace building through the trenches. While the Broncos are placing the utmost importance on getting the head coach and quarterback positions right, Paton never shies away from talking about upgrading and further fortifying trench play.
Given the Minnesota Vikings’ emphasis on drafting offensive linemen early, as well as the Rick Spielman/Mike Zimmer regime collapsing after horrific front-seven play the last two seasons, Paton knows it’s not enough to simply correct the quarterback.
Instead of moving on from Glasgow and holding him contractually until June, the two sides were able to reach a restructured deal for next season. However, the Broncos still have a gaping hole at right tackle with the departure of three of the team’s top four offensive tackles in Bobby Massie, Cameron Fleming, and Calvin Anderson (the latter of whom will be a restricted free agent) but with Glasgow back in the fold, Denver’s interior is essentially set entering next season.
Sure, if the Broncos want to make the O-line a strength going forward, Paton might eye the likes of Tampa Bay’s Ryan Jensen at center or the Washington Football Team’s Brandon Scherff at guard but that might not be the best allocation of resources with all of Denver’s other roster weaknesses.
Outside of investing a Day 3 pick on a developmental interior offensive lineman, Paton might be wisest to leave the interior alone after retaining Glasgow to go with the other four predominant interior players still playing on their rookie contracts.
Who starts on the interior in 2022 with so many options? That remains to be seen.
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