With hours before the opening of the NFL’s Legal Tampering period and mere days before Free Agency officially begins, Matt Paradis is reportedly generating great interest from several teams - including the Broncos - but is more likely to land somewhere in New York.
At least one, if not both, will spend big on a center. Mitch Morse and Matt Paradis are at the top of the center market. https://t.co/X8Ru0Y8oDi— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 11, 2019
Weight: 300 lbs
Experience: 6th year
Drafted in 2014 by the Broncos in the sixth round, Matt Paradis has proved to be a workhorse at center ever since. He was waived as a rookie and then signed to the practice squad, where he remained throughout the season. But in the Broncos’ magical Super Bowl season of 2015, Paradis was the anchor of a very suspect offensive line and did everything he could to help Peyton Manning do just enough to keep the Broncos’ hopes alive and earn another Lombardi.
In the 2016-17 season, Paradis surrendered just 17 pressures with a pass-blocking efficiency of 97.9, earning him a No. 1 ranking among centers by PFF.
A Pro Bowl alternate in 2016, Paradis has remained that anchor, often playing through hip pain - for which he had surgery in the 2017 offseason - and playing a total of 3,850 snaps, the second longest active streak in the NFL before fracturing his fibula during the Texans game last season.
Why it makes sense
Because Paradis is a smart and tough center, one of the few consistently solid offensive linemen for the Broncos the past four years. Just before Super Bowl 50, Peyton Manning told Mile High Report that Paradis reminded him of his longtime Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday:
“I really enjoy playing with Matt. He really reminds me a lot of Jeff Saturday,” Manning said just before the Broncos beat the Panthers in Super Bowl 50. ”He is smart. He’s a student of the game. ...Matt is a tough guy. He is a guy you like having in front of you. You know he is going to fight for you.”
Why it doesn’t make sense
As one of the best centers in the NFL, Paradis is going to be able to command an annual salary in the $10-$12 million range - more than twice what he has made total in the NFL so far.
And coming off a fractured fibular injury, there is no guarantee Paradis will be the same workhorse he’s been (though, my money is on him thriving after getting back on the field).
Reports today show that the Jets are highly interested in Paradis - as well as Chiefs’ center Mitch Morse - and the Jets have a lot of cap space to pay for the center they want. And if the Jets go with Morse, the Bills could be next in line for Paradis.
I personally wish the Broncos had tried harder to give Paradis a contract worthy of his play the past four years and respectful of what he brought to the field - both in practice every day and games every week. Having the son of an Idaho rancher on the offensive line is about as honest as it gets and would have ensured some continuity for the incoming offensive coordinator and new quarterback.
But financially it makes sense for the Broncos to let Paradis test the market, and I have a feeling he’ll be leaving Denver - even though I hope there’s some way the Broncos can sneak in and still be the team to keep him.
Where do you think Matt Paradis will end up?
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