Denver Broncos: What a high tender for Elijah Wilkinson means

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

The Denver Broncos will reportedly put a 2nd-round tender on OL Elijah Wilkinson. What does this mean for his role in the 2020 season?

Based on what we saw in the 2019 season, it seems like a horrible strategy for the Denver Broncos to put a lot of faith or stock into their in-house offensive linemen.

With that being said, the Broncos didn’t hire Mike Munchak for optics’ sake, they hired him to develop their offensive linemen.

That’s why this offseason, the more that seems to come out regarding the Broncos’ plans on the offensive line, the more it seems like the team intends to put more faith in players like Garett Bolles, Patrick Morris, and even Elijah Wilkinson, who has started 19 games over the last two seasons.

Wilkinson, a former undrafted free agent out of Massachusetts, could be getting a high second-round tender from the Broncos as one of their top restricted free agents. This news was broken by Mike Klis of 9News in Denver.

According to Klis’ report, the Broncos’ plan for Wilkinson is to give him looks at right guard and left tackle during OTAs.

The second bit is a surprise considering how Wilkinson struggled playing the right tackle position this past season, but perhaps he would be more comfortable on the left side. More likely, Wilkinson would be penciled in as the Broncos’ starting right guard for the 2020 season if he were to get this high of a tender.

The second-round tender is typically given to players who are starting caliber and players the Broncos want to protect themselves from losing as free agents. Although the overall price (in terms of dollars) is not much compared to what players are making in unrestricted free agency, the fact that the Broncos essentially block other teams from trying to sign players with second-round tenders is telling enough.

Wilkinson has experience starting at both right guard and right tackle. With Ron Leary’s contract option being declined for 2020 (saving the Broncos over $8 million) it stands to reason that he would be penciled in as the starting right guard for the offseason program, and it’s been rumored that Mike Munchak really likes Wilkinson for the last nine months or so.

The Broncos certainly won’t forsake the 2020 NFL Draft on the offensive line. This is a deep class of prospects and they wouldn’t be making a mistake by taking two or three players among their 12 picks to add depth and talent to the line.

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With that said, Wilkinson has plenty of experience and certainly is favored by the coaching staff. He could wind up being the starting right guard in 2020 and this is evidence of how highly the team thinks of him.