Denver Broncos rumor: Garett Bolles on the way out?

Sayre Bedinger
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 22: Garett Bolles #72 of the Denver Broncos runs onto the field during starting lineup introductions before a game against the Detroit Lions at Empower Field on December 22, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 22: Garett Bolles #72 of the Denver Broncos runs onto the field during starting lineup introductions before a game against the Detroit Lions at Empower Field on December 22, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

Could the Denver Broncos draft Garett Bolles’ replacement at left tackle and get rid of him altogether in the next few days?

The Denver Broncos could go a number of directions with their top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and one of those directions is offensive tackle.

The Broncos did plenty of work on the top offensive linemen in this draft, even just that we know of, and I’m sure there was plenty more done behind the scenes that no one knows about.

The Broncos had formal interviews with most of the top tackle prospects at the 2020 Combine, and while it’s not abnormal for John Elway to cover all of his bases, there have been plenty of reasons in the last couple of years for the Broncos to move on from former first-round tackle Garett Bolles.

Bolles will be 28 this season and through three years of his NFL career, he averages about a penalty per game, the majority of which are holding calls. His propensity for penalties has been infuriating and is one of the reasons the Broncos have been unable to achieve any sort of consistency on the offensive side of the ball in recent years.

With that said, the Broncos have had to justify keeping Bolles on the field in the last couple of years despite his penalties and inconsistent play because of the fact that the team invested a first-round pick in him. The Broncos have done the right thing by not throwing in the towel on Bolles up to this point, but now that he’s in a contract year, things could be different.

Albert Breer of seems to think that Bolles could be on his way out in Denver.

"I think Garrett Bolles is on the way out in Denver. We’ve mentioned the last two weeks that the Broncos could be looking at trading up—and that it might be for a lineman, even though they’d like to address their receiver need as well. And a big part of that, again, is the likelihood that the team could move on from 2017 first-round pick Garrett Bolles, who started 48 straight games for Denver at left tackle…It’s possible he becomes a reclamation project for one on the seemingly endless list of teams that go into this week’s draft looking for offensive line help.Albert Breer,"

The Broncos have certainly been a rumored trade up target and Breer is one who has believed their trade up target is more for an offensive lineman than it would be for a receiver. He’s really the only one who has gotten that intel, however.

Everybody else feels like the Broncos are telegraphing a wide receiver in the first round, and they’ve recently been connected with the Cleveland Browns in a possible trade up scenario.

If the Broncos were to trade up for a tackle, a few guys would make sense, including Alabama’s Jedrick Wills, Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, Louisville’s Mekhi Becton, and Georgia’s Andrew Thomas. Thomas is the best pure left tackle in this draft right now, while players like Wirfs and Becton perhaps offer better upside with their athletic traits.

Although it’s not high on my personal priority list (the Broncos gave up only 5 sacks in Drew Lock’s five starts, including two games with none allowed), Denver could view Bolles as a long-term liability rather than a solution. It’s entirely possible they could maneuver around the board for a tackle, even using Bolles to do so.

If I had any say in it, I would try to convince the Broncos to use Bolles as a trade piece to get Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams and keep my first round pick focused elsewhere.

Williams is going to want a massive contract for sure, but over the next few years the Broncos can afford that and they could get a proven premiere left tackle in the process. That’s worth the price you pay in terms of salary cap space, especially with a quarterback on a rookie contract and only Melvin Gordon’s two-year contract a significant cap allocation to offensive skill players.

Williams is going to be traded during the draft, and the Broncos have had dealings with Washington in the recent past. Sending Bolles and, say, the 95th pick to the Redskins for Williams seems like a fair enough deal, though Washington has been holding out for a second-rounder.

They’re not getting that in the current trade market where players like Jurrell Casey are going for seventh-round picks.

Not all trades are created equal, of course.

Next. Broncos 7-round mock draft: Trading up for a playmaker. dark

If the Broncos plan on investing one of their top five selections in a tackle, it would be wise to at least consider the possibility of Trent Williams being the guy who replaces Garett Bolles.