I’ll begin with the two “negative” moves.
Both Ja’wuan James and DaeSean Hamilton have been released after getting injured away from the team facilities. James hurt his Achilles tendon and Hamilton tore his ACL. It would appear that the team is going to take the option that they have from the CBA to withhold the base salary of both players since their injuries took place away from team facilities.
The NFLPA was encouraging players to work out away from team facilities due to concerns over COVID-19. This move saves the team money, but it seems like it could seriously hurt the front office’ chances with potential free agents. Although it does not appear to have hurt with the signings of Bobby Massie and Cameron Fleming.
Massie will be 32 at the start of next season and he hasn’t played in more than 10 games since 2018. His wife, via Twitter, wants you to know that he is a young 31. Massie was one of the top offensive tackles in the weak 2012 draft class. He was selected in the 4th round (112th overall) by the Cardinals.
With James loss for the season, here are all the available free agent RTs and their ages - min 10% of O snaps in 2020. Lots of older tackles still on the market. pic.twitter.com/0jivUAjzjd— Joseph Mahoney (@ndjomo76) May 5, 2021
He appeared in ten games in 2019 and only eight in 2020. Prior to that Massie had been fairly durable starting 14-16 games at right tackle for the Cardinals (2012-2016) and the Bear (2017 and 2018). He did miss almost the entire 2013 season with injury. Massie has played about half of the offensive snaps for the Bears each of the past two seasons.
According to PFF Massie had an overall grade of 72.6 last season which would have been second on the Broncos in 2020 behind only Garett Bolles. Massie allowed three sacks in 2020 and only committed one penalty (offsides) which was declined. The last time he played an entire season (2018) he had a grade of 71.6 from PFF.
Cameron Fleming was also signed this week. He played almost exclusively as a right tackle last season for the Giants. 2020 was the first time in his long career that he started 16 games in a season. Fleming played 911 regular season offensive snaps in 2020 which was also a career high. Fleming has spent most of his career as the backup to positions all over the offensive line. The most games that he had started in a season prior to 2020 was seven (in 2015 with the Patriots). His PFF grade for last season was 58.4 which is poor. Two reasons for that low grade were sacked allowed (six) and penalties (seven). Those were three holding penalties (one declined) and four false starts. Fleming may end up as the smartest player on the team. He has an engineering degree from Stanford.
Here are the PFF grades for the four men who started at tackle for the Broncos in 2020
Bolles - 90.6
Elijah Wilkinson - 52.8
Demar Dotson - 70.0
Calvin Anderson - 55.1
Based upon 2020 performance I would think that Massie is being looked at as the starter, if healthy, and Fleming as the backup and swing tackle. Both offensive tackles got one year deals worth roughly four million. If this works out, the Broncos will have taken the cheap route to put another band-aid on the festering wound that has been our right tackle position for the past five plus years. Top right tackles in the NFL earn ten to eighteen million per year with Lane Johnson currently as the highest paid right tackle in the NFL.
This move could also signal that Mike Munchak thinks that Calvin Anderson is still one year away from being ready to play every day since we did not draft an offensive tackle for the fourth year in a row and only brought in one UDCFA OT, Drew Himmelman, this year.
Do you like the moves made by the Broncos this week?
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