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Setting the record straight: Garett Bolles ranking among starting left tackles in 2021

Where did Garett Bolles really rank?

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Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

There was some discussion (and disparagement) of Garett Bolles play in 2021. In the recent article about how Mike Munchak might not be retained as the Denver Broncos offensive line coach, it was claimed that Bolles was not even in the “top 20” among tackles by PFF.

I decided to dig into this, because it did not sound right. I looked up the PFF overall rating for every starting left tackle (most snaps at LT for each team in 2021). I’m only looking at starting left tackles because I want to compare apples to apples. Below is the resulting table. All of this is from publicly available data from profootballfocus.com

Rank Team Starting LT Off Snaps PFF overall grade
1 SF Trent Williams 936 97.8
2 DAL Tyron Smith 738 91.4
3 PHI Jordan Mailata 914 87.4
4 LAR Andrew Whitworth 926 86.1
5 LV Kolton Miller 1139 84.0
6 LAC Rashawn Slater 1116 83.6
7 TAM Donovan Smith 1147 83.3
8 WAS Charles Leno 1121 81.2
9 NYG Andrew Thomas 800 78.9
10 BUF Dion Dawkins 1089 77.5
11 CIN Jonah Williams 1044 77.5
12 CHI Jason Peters 853 77.5
13 DEN Garett Bolles 870 76.6
14 DET Taylor Decker 529 75.5
15 KC Orlando Brown 1127 75.2
16 NE Isaiah Wynn 915 74.9
17 MIN Christian Darrisaw 652 71.9
18 SEA Duane Brown 969 71.5
19 TEN Taylor Lewan 846 71.4
20 ATL Jake Matthews 1029 71.3
21 NYJ George Fant 889 71.1
22 NOR James Hurst 941 69.8
23 IND Eric Fisher 874 68.2
24 ARI DJ Humphries 1083 67.8
25 JAX Cam Robinson 856 67.4
26 CLE Jedrick Wills 763 66.1
27 BAL Alejandro Villanueva 1205 65.2
28 GNB Yosh Nijman 590 63.1
29 HOU Geron Christian 588 59.5
30 PIT Dan Moore 1079 57.8
31 CAR Cam Erving 589 56.0
32 MIA Liam Eichenberg 1108 50.8

While this is a far cry from his overall ranking with PFF in 2020 (when he was top 3), it is still an improvement on his ranking (and overall rating) in 2018 and 2017. Bolles overall PFF rating by year:

  • 2021 - 76.6
  • 2020 - 90.6
  • 2019 - 76.1
  • 2018 - 72.8
  • 2017 - 72.9

So while Bolles was one the top three left tackles in 2020, he regressed to his mean in 2021. In other words he ostensibly played in 2021 like he did in 2019 - at least according to PFF.

How do his stats compare to other left tackles in terms of blown blocks, sacks allowed and stuffed instances? For this we turn to SIS datahub for the data.

Rank Team Starting LT Blown Blocks (SIS) BBR PB Snaps Sacks Allowed Sack % RB Snaps Opponent Stuffs Stuff Rate
1 SF Trent Williams 11 1.18% 478 0 0.00% 458 1 0.22%
2 LAR Andrew Whitworth 11 1.19% 568 6 1.06% 358 2 0.56%
3 LAC Rashawn Slater 21 1.88% 336 4 1.19% 780 1 0.13%
4 DAL Tyron Smith 16 2.17% 410 2 0.49% 328 0 0.00%
5 TAM Donovan Smith 26 2.27% 751 5 0.67% 396 5 1.26%
6 ATL Jake Matthews 25 2.43% 622 4 0.64% 407 2 0.49%
7 BUF Dion Dawkins 27 2.48% 675 4 0.59% 414 3 0.72%
8 WAS Charles Leno 28 2.50% 633 5 0.79% 488 1 0.20%
9 DEN Garett Bolles 22 2.53% 496 6 1.21% 374 2 0.53%
10 SEA Duane Brown 25 2.58% 544 7 1.29% 425 1 0.24%
11 NYG Andrew Thomas 21 2.63% 483 3 0.62% 317 4 1.26%
12 NOR James Hurst 25 2.66% 493 5 1.01% 448 2 0.45%
13 CHI Jason Peters 23 2.70% 480 11 2.29% 373 2 0.54%
14 NYJ George Fant 24 2.70% 549 4 0.73% 340 1 0.29%
15 TEN Taylor Lewan 23 2.72% 431 5 1.16% 415 3 0.72%
16 LV Kolton Miller 31 2.72% 383 4 1.04% 756 4 0.53%
17 KC Orlando Brown 32 2.84% 706 6 0.85% 421 2 0.48%
18 NE Isaiah Wynn 26 2.84% 490 6 1.22% 425 4 0.94%
19 CLE Jedrick Wills 23 3.01% 413 8 1.94% 350 3 0.86%
20 DET Taylor Decker 16 3.02% 286 1 0.35% 243 2 0.82%
21 ARI DJ Humphries 33 3.05% 618 9 1.46% 465 2 0.43%
22 PHI Jordan Mailata 28 3.06% 478 6 1.26% 436 2 0.46%
23 BAL Alejandro Villanueva 38 3.15% 718 8 1.11% 487 4 0.82%
24 HOU Geron Christian 19 3.23% 332 3 0.90% 256 1 0.39%
25 CIN Jonah Williams 34 3.26% 597 9 1.51% 447 3 0.67%
26 MIN Christian Darrisaw 22 3.37% 376 6 1.60% 276 6 2.17%
27 PIT Dan Moore 38 3.52% 652 7 1.07% 427 2 0.47%
28 JAX Cam Robinson 33 3.86% 540 2 0.37% 316 6 1.90%
29 GNB Yosh Nijman 23 3.90% 342 4 1.17% 248 2 0.81%
30 CAR Cam Erving 25 4.24% 326 6 1.84% 263 4 1.52%
31 IND Eric Fisher 43 4.92% 452 9 1.99% 422 3 0.71%
32 MIA Liam Eichenberg 55 4.96% 647 12 1.85% 461 4 0.87%

In terms of BBR (blow block rate), Bolles was 9th among starting LTs. By sack percentage (sacks allowed divided by pass block snaps) he was 21st. In terms of stuffed rate he was 15th. So according to SIS, Bolles was ostensibly average in 2021 - not great, but not terrible.

According to NFLPenalties.com, Bolles had another decent season in terms of avoiding holding penalties. He had six total holding penalties in 2021, but three were declined. In 2020 he was only called for holding four times and only one was accepted (two were declined and one was offset). In 2019 and 2018 he was called for holding 13 times. He was called for holding 10 times as a rookie in 2017. So his holding penalties have come down dramatically over the last two seasons. You could attribute that to Munchak’s tutelage.

In terms of average salary per year, Bolles contract gives him 17 million per year which makes him the sixth highest paid left tackle in the NFL for the 2022 season. Here’s a table of the top 20 straight from overthecap.com.

Rank Player Team Age Total Value Avg./Year Total Guaranteed Fully Guaranteed Free Agency
1 Trent Williams 49ers 34 $138,060,000 $23,010,000 $45,100,000 $40,050,000 2027 UFA
2 David Bakhtiari Packers 31 $92,000,000 $23,000,000 $30,000,000 $30,000,000 2025 UFA
3 Laremy Tunsil Texans 28 $66,000,000 $22,000,000 $50,000,000 $40,000,000 2024 UFA
4 Ronnie Stanley Ravens 28 $98,750,000 $19,750,000 $70,866,000 $64,116,000 2026 UFA
5 Kolton Miller Raiders 27 $54,015,000 $18,005,000 $42,500,000 $25,000,000 2026 UFA
6 Garett Bolles Broncos 30 $68,000,000 $17,000,000 $40,000,000 $21,000,000 2025 UFA
7 Taylor Lewan Titans 31 $80,000,000 $16,000,000 $50,000,000 $34,000,000 2024 UFA
8 Jordan Mailata Eagles 25 $64,000,000 $16,000,000 $40,850,000 $18,850,000 2026 Void
9 Donovan Smith Buccaneers 29 $31,000,000 $15,500,000 $30,000,000 $28,750,000 2024 Void
10 Taylor Decker Lions 29 $59,650,000 $14,912,500 $37,500,000 $29,000,000 2025 Void
11 D.J. Humphries Cardinals 29 $44,250,000 $14,750,000 $29,000,000 $29,000,000 2023 UFA
12 Dion Dawkins Bills 28 $58,300,000 $14,575,000 $32,500,000 $29,500,441 2025 UFA
13 Jake Matthews Falcons 30 $72,500,000 $14,500,000 $41,350,000 $25,946,000 2024 UFA
14 Cam Robinson Jaguars 27 $13,754,000 $13,754,000 $0 $0 2022 UFA
15 Terron Armstead Saints 31 $65,000,000 $13,000,000 $38,000,000 $20,880,000 2022 Void
16 Charles Leno Jr. Commanders 31 $37,000,000 $12,500,000 $18,000,000 $9,000,000 2025 UFA
17 Tyron Smith Cowboys 32 $97,600,000 $12,200,000 $40,000,000 $22,118,013 2024 Void
18 Duane Brown Seahawks 37 $34,500,000 $11,500,000 $16,000,000 $14,250,000 2022 Void
19 Andrew Whitworth Rams 41 $17,000,000 $8,500,000 $6,500,000 $4,000,000 2023 UFA
20 Eric Fisher Colts 31 $8,380,000 $8,380,000 $6,000,000 $6,000,000 2022 UFA

There are some veteran left tackles who will be unresticted free agents (UFAs) this offseason, but I would only expect Terron Armstead to get a deal for more than Bolles is set to earn in 2022. It’s possible that Orlando Brown, Jr could also large contract, but I think he looks better than he is because of the QB for whom he was blocking in 2021.

Given what you have seen able Bolles play over the last two seasons and his contract do you think the Broncos front office made the right choice to sign him and at that price?

Poll

The Broncos signing of Garett Bolles was...

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Great - he is only going to get better and his salary is not unreasonable for an above average LT. A move to a more ZBS system should be good for the light and quick LT.
    (352 votes)
  • 49%
    Good - Bolles may have peaked in 2020 when holding penalties were down across the league. The team may be tied to an overpaid average left tackle for three more seasons.
    (752 votes)
  • 18%
    Ok - he didn’t earn it, but he still could
    (285 votes)
  • 4%
    Poor - moving to another offense and another blocking scheme is going to set Bolles back by a season because of his learning disability. He will most likely regress in 2022 before he progresses.
    (72 votes)
  • 3%
    Terrible - we should have let he walk in free agency where he could have gotten overpaid by another team and given us comp picks.
    (48 votes)
1509 votes total Vote Now