The Denver Broncos entered the 2023-24 NFL Free Agency with a huge need, a top priority - the offensive line. General Manager George Paton and new Head Coach Sean Payton went all in, signing former Ravens' guard Ben Powers to a four-year deal, and former 49ers' tackle Mike McGlinchey to a five-year deal.
I'm focusing this article mainly on McGlinchey, before the Draft, and because the Denver Broncos have not had the same starting right tackle for consecutive years since Orlando Franklin (2011-2013). It will be interesting if McGlinchey can finally be a consistent right tackle for Denver.
Denver gave the former top-10 draft pick a massive deal, a five-year, $87.5 million contract with $50 million guaranteed, making him the 8th-highest paid right tackle in the league. McGlinchey, during his time in San Francisco, has protected five different starting quarterbacks: Jimmy Garoppolo, Brock Purdy, Trey Lance, Nick Mullens, and CJ Beathard, and now he will have the opportunity to prove that he was worth that much money by protecting a more mobile quarterback in Russell Wilson.
McGlinchey has shown over his young NFL career that he is an insane run-blocker. Not the best pass-protector, but he's been decent there. San Francisco had a huge running game, and new Head Coach Sean Payton might have a heavy run game with the Broncos too, as he did in New Orleans with the Alvin Kamara-Mark Ingram RB combo and the Terron Armstead-Ryan Ramczyk OT combo, taking advantage of McGlinchey's best traits as an offensive tackle.
Mike had a knee injury during his second NFL season and a quad injury two years ago. He missed a total of 12 games due to those injuries but has started in every single game otherwise. McGlinchey has over 60 starts at right tackle over his career.
49ers General Manager John Lynch said about his former player Mike McGlinchey:
"He’s a really good football player, so while a lot of people in our area focused on what he didn’t do or his bad snaps, Mike, the totality of his game at right tackle where there’s a couple of elite ones -- the Lane Johnsons of the world -- he’s right behind them, in my mind."- John Lynch - 49ers GM
The Niners knew that Mike was testing free agency, but they did not want to lose him. Many fans did not view McGlinchey as a top-tier offensive tackle, because they also have Trent Williams, one of the best at the position, but people inside the building do see him as a good tackle.
Once again, San Francisco really wanted Mike back, they know that he was an important player on their offensive line, but Head Coach Kyle Shanahan said at the NFL annual meeting the reason why they lost him.
"Mike just was too good - we hated losing Mike. But we know the level that Mike played at. We had a feeling of what his market would be. I don't think Mike necessarily wanted to leave and we didn't want him to leave, but when you play at that level and your market's gonna be that, it's a good problem for him. We hate to lose him, we also pay our other tackle (Trent Williams) a lot of money."- Kyle Shanahan - 49ers Head Coach