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Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

The Broncos would be wise to extend LT Garett Bolles’ contract sooner rather than later

By meerna Jun12,2024

The Denver Broncos will face the potential loss of left-back Garett Bolles as he enters the final year of his contract. Over the past two years, trade rumors have cast doubt on Bolles’ future with the team.

The team’s lack of a proactive approach to preparing for life without Bolles, such as preparing a tackle, something the Broncos haven’t done since taking him in the first round in 2017, highlights a potential weakness for the team.

Since the Broncos drafted Bolles, they have invested eight picks in recruiting interior offensive linemen and spent free agent dollars on receivers or acquiring undrafted free agents. While not the worst path to take, this move has yet to work out in the Broncos’ favor as they are still looking for a potential replacement for Bolles if he leaves Denver after this season.

The Broncos’ last two undrafted shots were Alex Palczewski (2023) and Frank Crum (2024). As a debutant, Palczewski had good preparations for the season, but suffered an injury that excluded him from playing in the season.

Playing 128 snaps, including 79 as a pass blocker, Palczewski allowed himself two total pressures. Not only did the injury hamper his development, but in pre-season he only played on the right wing, which led to concerns that he might switch sides, although he was reported to do so in practice. However, training and playing are two different things.

Crum has the athleticism and size to play at the NFL level, but not the strength or technique. If the Broncos are looking for Crum to replace Bolles, they need accelerated development from him to be ready for next season. Or the team will extend Bolles’ contract for a year or two and buy itself more time to find a potential replacement for the longtime starting left back.

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That is the question. There are many different opinions about Bolles throughout Broncos Country. Many cannot forget his early problems with penalties as a repeat offender, although he has significantly reduced the number of yellow flag offenses over the last few seasons.

According to Professional focus on footballper 30 receptions with at least 950 blocking snaps, Bolles ranked 10th in overall offensive rating, 18th in run blocking rating, fourth in pass blocking rating, sixth in sacks in sacks allowed, seventh in least pressures, eighth in pass blocking efficiency and 22nd in total penalties with eight penalties.

Four of Bolles’ penalty kicks stood, with three false starts and one illegal layup. Only seven receivers who played as many snaps as Bolles received fewer penalties than him.

While eight penalties is still higher, it is an acceptable number and shows how he has reduced his penalties compared to the first three years of his career. Bolles received 32 penalties in his first three seasons, compared to 23 in his last four seasons.

When you watch Bolles play in his first three seasons, compared to the last few, you can see a marked technical improvement in his game that has helped mitigate some of those penalties. Moreover, in some of the situations in which Bolles has been attacked over the last few seasons, they have not been technical stoppages, but referees use the principle of “shoot first, ask questions later”.

So is Bolles a top-five NFL player? No, but you can make an argument for the top 10.

Bolles is at least a top-12 tackle at his position, and considering how difficult tackles are in today’s NFL, it’s worth holding on to. But how much are you paying Bolles for the next year or two?

The eleventh highest paid fishing tackle earns an average of $15 million per year. This should be the starting point for the Broncos, but a lot depends on what happens in the 2024 season.

Overall, if the Broncos want to extend Bolles’ contract, they will likely be looking at an average annual salary of $16.5-20 million. This would put him in the top ten highest-paid left-backs without making him one of the top five. How much is Bolles willing to accept?

Will he be willing to accept less to stay? Much depends on negotiations, but short of a complete collapse of the 2024 season, the best solution for the Broncos would be to extend Bolles’ contract and gain more time to find or develop a successor.

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By meerna

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