2023 NFL Free Agency: Denver Broncos strengthen offensive line quickly

November 13, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey (69) during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

  • Two new OL: The Denver Broncos came to contract agreements offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey and guard Ben Powers early on in NFL free agency.
  • Upgrades at both spots: McGlinchey and Power represent immediate upgrades for the Broncos offensive line.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The Denver Broncos were busy as the league year opened, agreeing to deals with offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey and guard Ben Powers.

McGlinchey's reported numbers are five years and $87.5 million — $50 million guaranteed —while Powers looks set to sign for four years, $51.5 million — $28.5m guaranteed. 

According to the PFF free agency rankings' contract projections, they have overpaid a tad for both, earning a “C” value grade for McGlinchey and a “B-” value grade for Powers, but both appear to be good signings from an on-field perspective. 

McGlinchey, the ninth overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, has been in the league for five seasons and has produced a 69.0-plus PFF grade in all five seasons. He has yet to record an 80.0-plus season grade, but the Broncos can be confident that they are signing a high-floor player.

He replaces the combination of Billy Turner and Cameron Fleming, who shared right tackle duties throughout the season (Fleming also played at left tackle). Fleming was solid at right tackle, producing a 71.9 PFF grade, but is also a free agent while Turner struggled and finished the year with a 50.7 PFF pass-blocking grade, which ranked as the ninth-worst among offensive tackles who played 300 snaps.

Powers graded as one of the best pass-blocking offensive linemen in the league last year. He might not be a standout run blocker — just one season as a starter with a 60.0-plus PFF run-blocking grade — but his 86.7 PFF pass-blocking grade was ninth-best among all offensive linemen last season and second-best amongst all guards.

Pass blocking grades in 2022 among guards (regular season playoffs)
  1. Joe Thuney, Kansas City Chiefs: 88.9
  2. Ben Powers, Baltimore Ravens: 86.7
  3. Michael Onwenu, New England Patriots: 83.1
  4. Kevin Zeitler, Baltimore Ravens: 82.5
  5. Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys: 82.2

His arrival likely means the end of Dalton Risner’s time in Denver. The 2019 second-round draft pick has a similar grading profile to Powers, grading better in pass protection than as a run blocker but with a career-high 73.6 PFF pass-blocking grade in 2021, as he failed to reach Powers' ceiling in that regard.

How new head coach Sean Payton gets the best out of quarterback Russell Wilson will be one of the key storylines this season, but the Broncos have improved their ability to keep Wilson upright as free agency opens.


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