It’s been a long time—a very long time—since the Denver Broncos have had consistency at the right tackle position.
It didn’t matter who they drafted or signed in the off-season. Far too many names to count, but we all know not a single one panned out.
George Paton knows the franchise has to get better up front. That’s why it’s reasonable to expect the Broncos will make at least one key signing to upgrade the offensive line during this year’s free agency period.
Free agent offensive tackle Kaleb McGary might be the best bet to end their woes at the position, yet it’s not even a sure bet he will be available. The Atlanta Falcons still have some time to place the franchise tag on him and work toward a long-term deal.
Highlighting McGary’s career to date
A surprise to many, the Falcons drafted McGary with the 31st pick in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. A lot of outlets had him graded as a second or third round selection, but the Falcons took a chance on him and never looked back. All it takes is one team to believe in you and it appears the Falcons’ faith in him was well-justified.
So far, so good for the Washington Huskies standout. The former two-time All-Pact 12 offensive tackle has made a name for himself in the pros and is considered one of the best young tackles in the game. To date, he has started 62 of 63 games and by all accounts he has improved each and every year.
This past season was arguably his best to date. He graded out as Pro Football Focus’ best right tackle with a dominating run grade and an average one is pass protection. That’s certainly better than anything the Broncos have fielded in a long time.
It’s not often that players of McGary’s caliber hit the market (and he still might not), but if he does, dollars to donuts the Broncos will be one of many teams inquiring about him.
Falcons OL Kaleb McGary has been named PFF’s highest graded RT in football for the 2022 season (86.1). pic.twitter.com/12SU0JKAG0— GSN (@GASportsNow) January 13, 2023
Why he makes sense for the Broncos
Upgrading the offensive line is clearly a priority for the team. If there were any position the Broncos would spend big on, the obvious glaring hole at right tackle would be at or near the top of the list.
You would have to turn back the clock quite some time to find quality and consistent play for the Broncos at the position. Orlando Franklin and Ryan Harris are two names that come to mind that were viable starters. Unfortunately virtually everyone else they have tried out there has been an unmitigated disaster.
McGary’s top-tier run blocking ability and above-average pass protection skills would help their offense significantly. With so much uncertainty on their line in the short-term and long-term, it would be nice for the Broncos to have a legitimate foundation for the future as they look to revamp their trenches on both sides of the ball.
Examining McGary’s free agent market
If he hits the market, McGary’s contract will likely be one of the highest of any player signed this free agent period. The Broncos will have stiff competition to sign him and would undoubtedly have to back up the Brink’s truck in order to lure him to the Mile High City.
According to Spotrac, McGary is in line for a four-year deal with a total value of $70 million dollars. At an annual average value of $17.5 million dollars a year, that would be a Top 12 valued contract for offensive tackles in the NFL. That’s a lot of dough.
Nevertheless, offensive tackle is a premium position and with teams desperate to upgrade their offensive lines, I wouldn’t be surprised if McGary gets even a bit more than that. But just how much are the Broncos willing to spend to upgrade that position?
Only time will tell.
Should the Broncos target Kaleb McGary if he hits free agency?
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