The Denver Broncos were a revolving door at right tackle last season. They started out with Chris Clark then eventually went with Paul Cornick and ended with right guard Louis Vasquez for the stretch run. They also spent a third-round pick on tackle Michael Schofield, but he was a game day inactive for every game the Broncos played this season.
With all that said, the Broncos are expected to upgrade the right tackle position this offseason. Some have assumed that the Broncos would sign one of the top tackles on the free agent market. Names like Bryan Bulaga, Doug Free, and Derek Newton have been tossed around. Unfortunately for the Broncos, two of those guys are no longer on the free agent market.
It was reported today that the Dallas Cowboy's and right tackle Doug Free agreed to a new three-year deal.
Per Todd Archer of ESPNDallas Free's three-year deal is worth $15 million, with $6 million guaranteed. The deal will have a $3 million cap hit in 2015.
Free is a veteran right tackle who has experience in a zone blocking scheme, and some believed the Broncos would have some interest in him.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported earlier today that the Houston Texans have re-signed right tackle Derek Newton to a 5-year, $26.5 million deal.
Houston gave Derek Newton a 5-year, $26.5 million deal, including $10m gtd; 13.75M in first 2 and $17M in first 3. Not bad for a 7th rd pick— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 7, 2015
The former seventh-round pick has been widely connected to the Broncos by fans because of his connection to new Denver Broncos Head Coach Gary Kubiak.
Newton was a former draft pick by Kubiak and has plenty of experience in Kubiak's zone-blocking scheme. He was my top option to be the Broncos right tackle next season.
Now with two of the top right tackles off the market, let's take a look at who is left and if the Broncos will have interest in them.
- Bryan Bulaga
- Joseph Barksdale
- Jeremy Parnell
- Eric Winston
- Ryan Harris
Bryan Bulaga who is the top right tackle available is on the free agent market for the Broncos. There have been some reports that the Packers would like to re-sign Bulaga, but if he does hit the free agent market when it opens on Tuesday I would expect the Broncos to show some interest. With both Free and Newton getting $5M annually, I would expect Bulaga to command $6-7M annually.
After Bulaga, the market really thins out. Former St. Louis Rams tackle Joe Barksdale would be the next best option. He's a solid run blocker but does struggle in pass blocking.
An intriguing name is Jeremy Parnell. With Doug Free being re-signed by the Cowboys, Parnell is expected to be available in free agency. When Doug Free went down with an injury this past season Parnell stepped in and the Cowboys offensive never missed a beat. He also has some experience in a zone-blocking scheme. So he's definitely a name to keep an eye on.
Rounding out the list are veteran right tackles Eric Winston and Ryan Harris. Both have experience with Kubiak, but neither is considered a starter in the league right now.
If the Broncos decide against adding a right tackle through free agency, look for them to add one in the first two rounds of this years NFL Draft. The Broncos have already shown a bit of interest in the top offensive tackle prospects in this year's NFL Draft.