3 underrated IOL free agents Sean Payton and Denver Broncos can sign
All of Broncos Country knows that the offensive line needs to be revamped under new HC Sean Payton. It was the worst unit on the team and there are some underrated options in free agency to help solve those problems.
To be clear, let's identify the specific issues on the offensive line. Here was the players that played along the offensive line in 2022:
- RT: Cameron Fleming, Billy Turner, Quinn Bailey
- RG: Quinn Meinerz
- C: Graham Glasgow, Lloyd Cushenberry, Luke Wattenburg
- LG: Dalton Risner
- LT: Garrett Bolles, Calvin Anderson
While just evaluating the list of names above, the interior offensive line (IOL) is the group's main weakness. Besides Quinn Meinerz, who has established himself as a long-term starter at RG for the Broncos, the rest of the interior line is not playing well.
Lloyd Cushenberry came into the season as the starting center and was not performing up to standards. Once he got hurt, Graham Glasgow stepped in and was inconsistent with his play. Dalton Risner was arguably the player that disappointed the worst this year with how he played last season.
Risner was looking to secure the RG position long-term for the Broncos but did make the necessary improvements to earn the trust of George Paton and the front office. Luckily enough, this group of free agents has players that can have an immediate impact under relatively cheap contracts.
With the recent trade rumors of Garrett Bolles, the offensive tackle positions can be solved via trade or the draft. Cameron Fleming didn't disappoint at tackle, but it wouldn't surprise anyone to see Payton go a different direction at every position despite RG.
There are underrated free agents the Denver Broncos can sign to improve the interior offensive line alongside Quinn Meinerz signifcantly. Here are the three options that fit best talent-wise and financially for the organization.
3 underrated interior linemen the Denver Broncos could target in 2023
C Ethan Pocic (Browns free agent)
Ethan Pocic played under Kevin Stefanski and the Cleveland Browns in 2022 and had tremendous success playing center. No doubt this was the best he has played in his six-year career.
Pocic was in Seattle with Russell Wilson from 2017-2021. He was drafted to play guard for the Seahawks but has found his groove playing center. This was the third straight season Pocic has played at center and he's improved each year.
Not only is there familiarity between Wilson and Pocic, but it's also a massive need the Broncos have at the position. Cushenberry and Glasgow are not the answer at center, and Pocic would be an immediate upgrade at the position.
Pocic is an outstanding run blocker and displayed that with Cleveland this year more than ever. Having Pocic and Meinerz in a power/duo scheme can be lethal. Broncos Country would have a lot of fun watching those two maul defenses with their tenacious blocking.
According to Spotrac, the market value for Pocic would be highly affordable for a player of his caliber. It's estimated to be around $7M annually, ranking him 10th at the position. Pocic is well-deserved of that money, and Paton should capitalize on that deal when available.
Pocic should be at the top of the list for players the Broncos need to sign this off-season, but he is not the only interior offensive lineman that is affordable and riddled with great talent.