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Broncos roster review: left tackle Garett Bolles

Will the veteran left tackle play better than he has for most of his career?

Indianapolis Colts v Denver Broncos Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Garett Bolles career will always be defined by the offensive tackle taken after him in the 2017 draft, Ryan Ramczyk. Ramcyzk was drafted by current Bronco head coach Sean Payton to play right tackle for the New Orleans Saints. Bolles was drafted to play left tackle for the Denver Broncos. Ryan has been named first team All-Pro once and second team All-Pro twice. Garett has named second team All-Pro for the 2020 season, which was his best season.

Player Profile

Height: 6’5” | Weight: 300 pounds | Age: 31 years old

Experience: 7th Season

2022 Statistics

Bolles was only able to play in five games last season as he was lost for the year with a broken leg during the fifth game. It was the first time he had played in fewer than 14 games in his career. Bolles has averaged 1013 offensive snaps during the first five seasons of his career.

Indianapolis Colts v Denver Broncos Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

How does Garett Bolles fit with the Denver Broncos?

Garett Bolles played poorly in his first action, pre-season game 1, back from his season-ending injury in 2022. We have to hope that he will improve upon that performance since the Cardinals are supposed to have one of the weakest front sevens in the league - at least on paper.

Bolles has only had one good/great season and that was 2020. That being said he was much better about not holding in 2021 relative to the first few years in his career. He was only had three accepted holding penalties in 14 games according to PFR. He was called for holding

  • 10 times in 2017 in 16 games
  • 9 times in 2018 in 16 games
  • 13 times in 2019 in 16 games
  • 4 times in 2020 in 15 games
  • 6 times in 2021 in 14 games
  • 3 times in 2022 in 5 games

Some of these were declined or off-setting, but the reality is that he has dramatically cut down on his holding penalties, although 2022 was not starting well for him.

PFF seems to still like him. They dock grades because of penalties, but even with that, Bolles has these PFF overall grades by year

  • 2017 - 72.9
  • 2018 - 72.8
  • 2019 - 76.1
  • 2020 - 90.6
  • 2021 - 76.6
  • 2022 - 72.9

So it would appear at this point in his career that Bolles is mid to low 70s rated (out of 100) offensive tackle. That’s an above average tackle, but not by much. Bolles has a cap hit of $17.8MM for 2023. The three best offensive tackles last season according to PFF got grades of 91.7, 90.4 and 90.3 (Trent Williams, Christian Darrisaw, and Andrew Thomas).

According to Bolles has the 15th highest total contract for an offensive tackle. Some would say that is more than he is worth, while others might say that is about what he is worth.

Final Thoughts

Like Mike McGlinchey, Bolles is hoping that the “Sean Payton” effect on OL guys lifts his play like it did for many veteran OL guys in New Orleans who had career years playing for Sean Payton. The Broncos really need good years from both Bolles and McGlinchey for the offense to progress to the level that all Bronco fans want the team to reach. If Bolles and McGlinchey stay healthy for the 2023 season, we should have the best pair of tackles that the Broncos have had since Ryan Clady and Orlando Franklin, which was in 2012.