Denver Broncos’ free agency just got tougher in 2023

Denver Broncos, Jack Conklin - Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos, Jack Conklin - Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos offensive line is likely going to be given some attention in free agency, but that task just got a bit tougher after Friday’s action.  Two of the biggest names who were scheduled to be free agents in 2023 are now off the board.

Both Elgton Jenkins of the Green Bay Packers and Jack Conklin of the Cleveland Browns were going to be the two hottest names on the free agent market in 2023.  Ironically, both players agreed to massive contract extensions with their current teams.

This is a bit of a tough pill to swallow.  Now to be fair, if Jenkins and Conklin were hitting the free agent market, a plethora of teams would have had interest, so this isn’t exclusively impacting the Broncos, but there shouldn’t have been any doubt that the Broncos would have had a ton of interest in both players.

Conklin is an elite right tackle who was drafted in 2016 and has remained just about the best at his position since the Titans took him.  Jenkins, similarly, is an elite player who can play both guard and tackle at a high level.

So, how does this complicate things for the Broncos?

Well, obviously since the two biggest names are off the market, the team will likely look elsewhere when they inevitably bring in offensive line players from free agency.  With Conklin and Jenkins off the board, the Denver Broncos may have to look to the tier-two type players who are projected to hit the market.

Among guards and right tackles, some of those players include George Fant, Mike McGlinchey, retaining Billy Turner, Jawaan Taylor, Justin Pugh, Roger Saffold, and Wes Schweitzer.  Obviously, there are plenty more names available, but those are some of the “premier” guys left.

This will also have ripple effects.  Teams will now be in more of a competition to improve their offensive line in free agency, so large contracts that may not have been offered to the tier-two type players might become common.

Teams may also now turn their focus more to the NFL draft to rebuild their offensive line.  This could greatly hurt the Denver Broncos, as they now have less wiggle room to improve their unit.  I’d also say that in a way, this all bit signals that Garett Bolles will indeed be back as the starting left tackle.

I noticed some chatter when Bolles initially went down with his leg injury that the team could operate with Calvin Anderson as the left tackle going forward and move on from Bolles.  To me, Bolles likely returns on a restructured contract.

The left guard, center, and right tackle spots are the main issues with the Broncos’ offensive line.  Bolles and second-year guard Quinn Meinerz have both proven to be effective at what they do, and frankly, that’s a very solid core to build around.

We’ll see how the Denver Broncos improve their offensive line in free agency and the draft, but I think it just got a bit harder.