The Denver Broncos will be in the market for a new left tackle this off-season, and it could come from either free agency or the 2017 NFL Draft.
Left tackle Russell Okung, who was signed by the Broncos last off-season to a five-year, $53 million contract, is on the way out in Denver, as the team will decline the contract option in Okung’s contract that would’ve paid him the remaining $48 million over the next four seasons.
With Okung out of the picture, the Broncos could look to pursue left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who is 35-years-old and expected to be the top free agent left tackle alongside Okung now. Whitworth has spent his entire NFL career with the Cincinnati Bengals up until this point.
Denver had a lot of shifting parts on their offensive line last year that struggled to protect quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch as well as run block for C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker, and Kapri Bibbs. Okung wasn’t one of those interchangeable parts, however, as he started all 16 games for the Broncos.
Okung’s price tag and critical holding penalties ultimately are the reason why the former first-round pick is headed to free agency again this March, as it became evident even during the season that John Elway and Broncos management didn’t value Okung as a long-term fixture.
Denver will now have roughly $40 million in cap space to spend this off-season to address their needs on the line. The top left tackles in this year’s draft are Ryan Ramczyk, Cam Robinson, and Garrett Bolles.
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