When the Denver Broncos signed offensive guard Ronald Leary to a four-year $36MM deal in 2017, they were taking a chance on a very talented player with injury concerns. Those injury concerns, unfortunately, have played out fairly regularly during his two seasons in Denver. In 2019, he will be coming off a torn Achilles he suffered last October.
Ron Leary Profile
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 317 pounds | Age: 30
College: Memphis | Experience: Seventh Season
When healthy, Leary is a player you can count on to do his job well on the field. His talent has never been the problem. Under Vance Joseph, the coaching staff put less talented, less experiences players at their position of choice and moved Leary wherever they were weakest.
In fact, Leary made a point to note that fact in his first press conference this offseason.
“I love right guard,” Leary said. “I think you all might have said I wanted to go back to my natural spot at left guard more than me. I wanted to stay at right guard last year. I had made that known to the coaches, but they decided to move back to left. I’m glad to be at right. I feel a lot more comfortable at right. I had a great season at right my first year here. I’m excited to be at right. Everything’s good.”
Who knows, maybe the switched positions led to his latest trouble with a season-ending injury. It looks like he’ll compete for the right guard position this year, which is where he should be a strong candidate to start opposite rookie Dalton Risner.
Injuries. Leary has only completed a full 16-game schedule once in his seven year career. The dead money on his contract will make 2019 a make or break season for him. He has one year remaining on his contract, but the dead money drops to a negligible amount after this season. If injuries continue to derail his seasons, you can expect the Broncos to move on from Leary after this season.
On June 5th, Leary noted that his recovery from his Achilles tear went well with no setbacks and is back at full strength.
“I’m cleared,” Leary said. “I’m doing everything out there. I’ve been cleared by the doctors. Recovery went good. Probably was fast, but that’s a good thing. I feel great. I haven’t had any setbacks. Like I said, I’m doing everything and feel great out there.”
Ron Leary’s roster status with the Broncos
If Leary stays healthy through Broncos training camp, then I would expect him to easily win the starting job at right guard. No roster decision should be made, however, without accounting for who is going to be the backup right guard. History suggests, they’ll need that player to come in for significant playing time as well.
Personally, I like Leary. I think he is an outstanding player. As a fan, I just worry about his ability to stay on the field for a full season. If he can put together a second full season here in 2019, then the Broncos would be a better team for it. Here’s to hoping that happens.