Elway Addresses Broncos' Timeline for Deciding on Garett Bolles' Fifth-Year Option

Chad Jensen

The Denver Broncos have a big decision to make on starting left tackle Garett Bolles. As the team's 2017 first-round pick, Bolles received a standardized four-year rookie contract with a fifth-year team option. 

The Broncos have the prerogative of exercising that fifth-year option, but in so doing, the team would have to take the third through 25th-highest salaries at the offensive tackle position around the league and average it out to pay Bolles in year five, which would represent a significant pay-raise, even if for just that year. Bolles is scheduled to make $1.969M this coming year with his base salary, which is relative peanuts for a starting-caliber left tackle. 

The other deciding factor comes down to timing. Bolles is heading into his fourth season but the Broncos only have until May 3 to officially exercise the fifth-year option on his contract. And according to a report from Ryan O'Halloran of the Denver Post, GM John Elway plans on waiting until the 11th hour to decide. 

"We’ll wait," Elway told O'Halloran. "There’s no sense doing it early. We’re not going to do it until May. We’ll see when we get there where we are." 

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Traditionally, the Broncos have waited until May when they've exercised a fifth-year option on a player, like in the case of former first-round CB Bradley Roby. Elway's right. There is no rush to decide on Bolles. 

Meanwhile, the Broncos have a lot of time to investigate whether there are better left tackle options out there they'd want to pursue for 2021. The 2020 NFL Draft class could offer up an upgrade, as could the free-agent class. 

Bolles' first three years in the league have been marred by mental lapses and penalties. Bolles has been among the league's most-penalized players in each of his three NFL seasons. 

It was no different in 2019, however, there was evidence to suggest that Bolles has begun to turn the corner. According to Pro Football Focus, from Week 13 until the end of the regular season, Bolles was the second-highest graded tackle in the NFL.

PFF was particularly impressed with Bolles' performance in the Broncos' Week 16 victory over the Detroit Lions wherein he finished with the highest game grade of any offensive player for the Broncos last season with a 93.6 grade. Despite his obvious improvement as both a pass and run-blocker down the stretch, he was still good for that one face-palming penalty per game. 

However, the Broncos have to consider strongly the possibility that the worst is finally behind Bolles and that in tandem with Mike Munchak continuing to tutor him, he might be on his way to becoming an upper-echelon left tackle worthy of his draft pedigree. Whether the Broncos decide to exercise his fifth-year option or not, one thing is nearly certain; Bolles will be the team's starting left tackle in 2020. 

Take that to the bank. 

Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen and @MileHighHuddle.

Comments (21)
No. 1-18
Studlee14
Studlee14

You just cant trust Bolles. He had times during the 2018 season (particularly near the end of the season) where it looked like he had finally turned a corner. There were times this season it looked like he shouldn't even be on a football field. I am not a believer that Bolles has turned a corner and dont think he ever will. Especially since penalties are the only consistency in his game.

Denverkewl
Denverkewl

The kid could seriously be a top 5 tackle if he could ever get his head out of his behind. I see them rejecting the option and then signing him for 2 years on their terms. Right now, no one wants him. Elway has all the leverage.

Broncos61
Broncos61

Even if they exercise 5th year option, in absence of injury, they can walk away from 5th in May 2021. G.B. is very durable. Most likely they will find someone in the draft, even in mid-round, if top three LTs are gone by # 15.

Broncos61
Broncos61

Denverkewl, there is another option. Let's assume for a moment G.B. will play in 2020 very well, with below average numbers of penalties. LT salary contract for above average player is 4 years, 11-12 millions/year , and the first two years are fully guarantee. Broncos can still offer G.B. 11/year, 4 years with majority of an annual salary coming at the end of the each season in form of bonus, based on performance, number of penalties etc. If G.B. can play well, then he will be rewarded.

smilinassassin
smilinassassin

Waiting until the last minute is a good idea regardless of the player. So many things can change between the end of a season and that date. Plus, it keeps a solid precedent so nobody can read into your moves.

Mikeal66
Mikeal66

I would give up on Bolles and look elsewhere i remember holding penalties and lack of QB protection

Coffeedude1234567
Coffeedude1234567

Let him go find a guy in free agency and draft a replacement for Coach Munchak to train up for the future. 3 years is enough I could see rookie year but not three years of screw ups

DBM1059
DBM1059

PFF doesn't account for penalties in their ratings.

SpokaneBronco
SpokaneBronco

Hopefully he's turned the corner. Having a statue like Flacco at QB certainly didn't help.

FTballFan
FTballFan

Why lay all that ground work into Bolles only to see him become a star for another team. He is starting to show what type of player he can be & the Broncos need to see it through to fruition. If he wasn’t improving I’d say move on but that’s not the case. The Broncos don’t need another Shaq Barrett story.

Jefffrey55
Jefffrey55

Opting out of 5th doesn't mean he won't be here in his 5th year it just means he gets paid an average pay for an Tackle. Opt out and if he's better than average we lose a litle in retaining him, but probably will at worst pay that same price anyway.

Erick   Trickel
Erick Trickel

Editor

Let's Denver go through FA and the draft and see what happens. If they dont get an OT they want, pick it up. If they do, don't. 5th year option is only guaranteed for injury d there havent been any concerns there for Bolles.

jimtaylor
jimtaylor

Bolles is frustrating but he is far from the biggest concern on the o-line. If the Broncos don't find an upgrade in FA or the draft, I hope they keep him for him for the fifth year. He isn't the best tackle in the NFL but he isn't the worst either. It wasn't the best pick by Elway but he isn't a total bust. Frustrating, inconsistent and maybe lacking a brain, but still a starter quality LT.

Randywestman
Randywestman

I thought Bolles got better once Lock started getting rid of the ball quicker and he didn't have to protect a statue. Before.....uggghhh.

broncofan55555
broncofan55555

Left tackles aren't a time a dozen, and they certainly don't grow on trees. Many teams wish they had a guy as durable as Bolles. I do like the idea though of rewarding him with a contract mid or late season next year if he shows that he continues to make progress and has stopped the knuckle-headed penalties.

Nick Kendell
Nick Kendell

Editor

It's only guaranteed for injury, so I actually think they do exercise it in the end. Depends on if they get a round 1 tackle but even still... OTs are HARD to find. Bolles is actually a bargain

jcps
jcps

You can criticize GB all you want, but he's a tough SOB and will continue to get better, I believe. Draft OL though, and if someone's better, maybe GB can move inside or to the right side. He's a mauler, though, and should be starting somewhere, hopefully, in Denver.

Broncsrock
Broncsrock

Bolles has to be a huge disappointment for Elway...1st round draft picks have to be highly impactful and a key factor for the team, and Bolles is not..Broncos need to cut bait with this guy, and use one of their high draft picks to get a high quality OT...


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