John Elway stole one of theirs in in 2013. Now they've stolen one of his.
Offensive lineman Orlando Franklin, who was drafted by Denver in 2011, signed a five-year deal with the Chargers Tuesday, San Diego announced. The deal is expected to be worth $36.5 million, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Franklin's departure comes two years after Denver signed former Chargers offensive lineman Louis Vasquez to a four-year, $23.5 million deal. Vasquez is under contract through the 2016 season.
Franklin chose Denver's greatest threat in the AFC West. Since the Broncos signed Peyton Manning in 2012, their only division loss has come against San Diego (a 27-20 loss in 2013).
After a strong start in Denver, Franklin struggled at times over the past two years. He was penalized 11 times during his first two seasons before penalized 20 times over the last two, according to STATS. His sack numbers did improve — down from eight his rookie season to just one last season.
Franklin's departure leaves Denver with a scrambled offensive line. Denver's returning linemen include tackles Ryan Clady, Chris Clark, and Paul Cornick, guards Ben Garland and Vasquez, and center Manny Ramirez.
Expect the Broncos to address the offensive line this offseason.