Will the Broncos try for Nate Solder in 2018 free agency?

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Nate Solder
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Nate Solder /

The Denver Broncos have an offensive line that is still a work in progress. Is Nate Solder an option, or will they rebuild through the draft?

The Denver Broncos’ offensive line is still a work in progress, and the 2017 season is brutal evidence of that.

The Broncos cycled through different players at the right tackle position, unsuccessfully, and find themselves in a similar position they were in last year.

Denver needs another starting caliber tackle, whether through free agency or the draft, and only one of those two groups has a deep crop of players.

The 2018 NFL Draft class looks absolutely loaded at the tackle position, but the free agent class lacks both in overall talent and depth in general.

That said, one name stands out on the free agent list right now that could be of interest to the Broncos, and quite frankly, that could be interested in a relocation to Colorado.

Or, back to Colorado…

New England Patriots offensive tackle Nate Solder, a native of Denver and graduate of the University of Colorado, is a free agent this offseason and could potentially be looking to re-locate.

The Patriots will likely try to keep Solder, a veteran player who was their first round pick in the vaunted 2011 NFL Draft, but if he hits the open market, he’ll have plenty of suitors.

Returning home to Denver could be at or near the top of Solder’s list, as he grew up a Broncos fan and undoubtedly a John Elway fan.

The stars weren’t properly aligned in 2011 as the Broncos picked second overall in the first round, and didn’t ever have the chance to get Solder in round two as he was taken midway through the first.

What would be Denver’s motivation to sign Solder versus the alternative of drafting someone?

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Well, the Broncos know what they would be getting in Solder, a veteran now of seven seasons and a player that has played in a ton of big games. It would also allow the Broncos to move Garett Bolles to the right tackle position, where his bulldozing style would be a good fit.

This move would also give the Broncos two of the most athletic tackles in the league, able to hold up in pass protection and two guys that are underrated run blockers.

Solder’s pass protection dipped this past season compared to other recent years, credited with four sacks allowed and 41 total pressures allowed in 2017.

The price would have to be right for both Solder and the Broncos, but this is a fit that, on paper, makes at least a little sense.

Like with a variety of other positions, this is the perfect year for the Broncos to address their needs through the draft. Solder might be better off going to a team that is more championship ready than the Broncos, as painful as that is to say, but if the Broncos are somehow able to create enough cap room, maybe…

Just maybe.