More Broncos Roster Moves Coming With Sean Payton Era in Full Swing

The Denver Broncos loaded up on the offensive line on the first day of the NFL free agency legal tampering period, adding a pair of starters in guard Ben Powers and tackle Mike McGlinchey. The Broncos later added defensive end Zach Allen. Ari Meirov thinks this may just be the beginning of a wild offseason in Denver as Sean Payton helps reshape the roster.

Free Agency

Sean Payton Takes Important First Step by Solidifying Broncos’ OL

The Denver Broncos were in disarray last season, and the quickest way to address that is to fix the offensive line, former NFL coach Mike Martz says. New coach Sean Payton took a huge step in that direction with the free agent additions of tackle Mike McGlinchey and guard Ben Powers.

Free Agency

2023 NFL Free Agency: Teams Prioritize O-Linemen on Day 1

Working in the NFL trenches is paying dividends.

As the legal tampering period frenzy began Monday, protecting the quarterbacks who really make the big bucks clearly was a priority. So the league’s best player, MVP Patrick Mahomes, got a stud blocker to replace a likely departing stud blocker: Jawaan Taylor is in, and left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., is out. 

Mahomes won’t have his protector on the right side, though, as tackle Andrew Wylie will follow former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to the Washington Commanders

Russell Wilson, who rarely received solid blocking during his first season with the Denver Broncos, now will have tackle Mike McGlinchey and guard Ben Powers in front of him.

Desmond Ridder – or whoever winds up behind center in Atlanta – will have second-team All-Pro guard Chris Lindstrom back after he got a new deal from the Atlanta Falcons

And Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts can breathe easier with perennial All-Pro center Jason Kelce announcing he will be back for 2023.

Yep, the Hogs are getting fed nicely.

The 25-year-old Taylor will leave Jacksonville for what ESPN reported is an $80 million, four-year deal, with $60 million guaranteed. He could replace either Brown or Wylie; Taylor played the right side for the Jaguars in the best of his four pro seasons. His durability also was a selling point, with Taylor playing in every game since he was selected in the second round of the 2019 draft.

Wylie, 28, will get $24 million over three years from the Commanders, who, for now, plan to go with untested second-year quarterback Sam Howell. Wylie has been with the Chiefs since 2017 after brief stays with the Colts, Browns and Chargers, and was a favorite of Kansas City coach Andy Reid.

Denver’s line was a sieve, a major contributor to the worst season of Wilson’s previously stellar career. So getting right tackle McGlinchey from the San Francisco 49ers for a reported $87.5 million over five years, with $50 million guaranteed, is a coup. McGlinchey has been rated by many as the best O-lineman available in this crop, and after missing most of 2021 because of a torn quad, he rebounded with the best of his pro seasons in 2022. At age 28, he figures to be a leader up front for Denver.

“[Sean Payton] did the first thing you do when you go into a new team like that — you solidify the offensive line. Everything starts with the offensive line” said Mike Martz, former NFL head coach and analyst for The 33rd Team. “It’s absolutely the right thing to do to bring in those two solid guys, particularly Powers, I like him a lot.”

Barry Wilner was a sportswriter for the Associated Press for 46 years. He has covered virtually every major sporting event, including 14 Olympics, 9 World Cups, 34 Super Bowls, the World Series, and the Stanley Cup finals, and has written 75 books. Follow him on Twitter @Wilner88

Free Agency

Expect Fast Start for Big Names When NFL Free Agency Opens

Ari Meirov thinks that free agency, which begins March 15, could get off to a fast start for the top-of-the-line guys. He also says we should keep an eye out for more than a couple of trades.

>> READ: Top 150 Free Agent Rankings

Free Agency

2023 NFL Free Agency: Top 9 Offensive Linemen Hitting Open Market

Free agency is right around the corner, so let’s rank the top nine available offensive linemen on the open market, or at least the ones with the potential to make it there. We will start at the bottom and work our way to No. 1.

Top 9 Free Agent Offensive Linemen

9. Isaiah Wynn, OT, New England Patriots

Isaiah Wynn, a former first-round pick from Georgia, flashes a ton of athleticism and a lot of pass-blocking prowess. He’s really good when pulling out into space, but it just hasn’t come together for him with the New England Patriots. He battled some injuries this past year and missed eight games. They switched him to the right side, which didn’t go quite as well.

Wynn has plenty of talent and the ability to be successful. If he goes to a team where he feels more comfortable, meshes better with the coaching staff, and stays healthy, he could be a valuable player. This league is about throwing the ball and protecting the quarterback, and he does that at a pretty high level.

8. Kaleb McGary, OT, Atlanta Falcons

Kaleb McGary had a really strong 2022 season, which was bolstered by the Atlanta Falcons‘ offensive scheme. He was a tremendous run blocker in their heavy outside zone scheme. It’s a fun offense to play in, but it makes offensive linemen look better.

I benefited from that when I blocked for Kyle Shanahan, and it’s become a trend with those offenses that rely a lot on the outside zone and the play action. McGary has been a decent player. The weakest part of his game has been pass-blocking. That took a step up this past season, both because of the offense and because he’s improved.

7. Jermaine Eluemunor, OT, Las Vegas Raiders

Jermaine Eluemunor has been a good player for a while. He was an occasional starter with the Patriots for a few years. He played all the positions well, but he finally got a starting job for the Las Vegas Raiders this past season. Eluemunor struggled in a couple of early games, but he settled into his role nicely and finished strong.

He doesn’t quite look like an offensive tackle. He’s a little bit shorter (6-foot-4), he’s a little bit stouter (345), but he plays the position well. Eluemunor has a ton of leverage and is super strong, allowing him to move defenders off the ball in the running game. In the passing game, he’s stout at the point of attack if a defender tries to bull-rush him, and he’s got the lateral ability to mirror rushers. 

6. Andrew Wylie, OT, Kansas City Chiefs

Andrew Wylie is criminally underrated. I know exactly what that position is asked to do in the Kansas City Chiefs offense. Wylie’s done a pretty good job of handling it. If you look at a few of the games he hasn’t performed well, you’ll see a mixture of things that went into that. 

No. 1, he ran into a string of top-tier, if not Hall of Fame pass rushers. He went against Nick Bosa, Joey Bosa, Maxx Crosby and Von Miller in about a five-week stretch, so there will be a couple of bad reps, which is OK. We all have bad reps, and Wylie is going to keep fighting. He’s equally good in the run game and the passing game.

You know what you’ll get out of Wylie at this point, which is a valuable thing to have in the locker room and on the field.

5. Jawaan Taylor, OT, Jacksonville Jaguars

I’ve always loved Jawaan Taylor‘s game, partly because he had my former offensive line coach, George Walker, coaching him. So maybe there is a little bit of bias in that perspective because I see all the same pass sets and techniques I used to take. He has been a good player for the Jacksonville Jaguars

Taylor utilizes a vertical set, which can look a little funky and be a little bit off-putting for people that aren’t used to it. He’s pretty good in pass protection, which is important as an offensive tackle.

Taylor can move defenders off the ball in the running game. He is competitive enough to be a well-rounded player. One team will be pretty lucky to sign him.

4. Mike McGlinchey, OT, San Francisco 49ers

Mike McGlinchey was billed coming out of Notre Dame as a sturdy, steady offensive lineman with an elite frame and athleticism. It hasn’t quite all come together as expected during his time with the San Francisco 49ers. Now, it’s not fair to compare him to Zack Martin or Quenton Nelson, but those are the guys that he played with in college.

McGlinchey has turned into a solid offensive tackle in San Francisco’s scheme. He gets bolstered a little bit because he’s not asked to do as much drawback protection. He’s not asked to do the hard stuff quite as often as other teams. When healthy, he’s progressed and improved his game over the past few years. Health is one of McGlinchey’s concerns, along with consistency in pass protection.

Any team that signs him will get a good run blocker and someone who is pretty well-rounded.

3. Isaac Seumalo, OG, Philadelphia Eagles

We spent all season talking about how great that Philadelphia Eagles offensive line was, and Isaac Seumalo is right up there with Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce. Plus, he happened to play between them, which was pretty nice for Philadelphia. Seumalo, who went to Oregon State, has been a good player for a while who has improved every single season. 

Since he’s from the Philadelphia offensive line, you know what you’re getting. They’re going to be tough. They’re going to be physical. They’re going to know how to run every single scheme — inside zone, outside zone, blocking down, pulling trap blocks, power. Anything you could ask of an offensive lineman in the run game, he’s going to have done and done it at a high level. 

His pass-blocking ability is good enough to stifle the Aaron Donald– and Chris Jones-type game-wreckers. We saw him do that against Jones in the Super Bowl.

He’s one of the top guys in this class. For me, he’s the top guard.

Chiefs Left Tackle Orlando Brown

2. Orlando Brown, OT, Kansas City Chiefs

Orlando Brown has been to four Pro Bowls in a row and just won a Super Bowl. His situation is interesting because last year it seemed like he was gunning for that top-of-the-market left tackle money. The Chiefs weren’t willing to do that so they placed the franchise tag on him when they couldn’t figure out a long-term deal. 

When you look at the truly elite guys, Trent Williams, Tyron Smith (when he’s healthy) and David Bakhtiari (when he’s healthy), Brown comes in under that group. But the next guy up typically gets the highest contract. That’s where the standstill comes in because if you’re not necessarily the elite of the elite, but it’s free agency time, you tend to get paid as the next highest guy. So he’s in the right asking for a lucrative deal.

It seems like the Chiefs did their best to sign him to a long-term deal, even though they won’t tag him again this year. Brown is going to make a lot of money. He’s been a mainstay there for two years. He played right tackle with the Baltimore Ravens and left tackle with Kansas City. You know what you’re getting: a solid player who is good in the run and pass games.

He has some limitations because of his size and athleticism. But he understands how to use that big frame, and the Chiefs want to keep that pocket nice and clear and allow Patrick Mahomes to step up. Brown allows them to do that.

1. Jason Kelce, C, Philadelphia Eagles

Should Jason Kelce be on this list? Is he a true free agent? There’s no chance he’s going anywhere other than Philadelphia or into some sort of studio as an analyst if he retires. But he is on the list because he is a free agent coming into this year. He’s the best offensive lineman that could be available, however unlikely that is.

He’s 35. He’s 6-foot-3 and doesn’t even weigh 300 pounds, but he’s still an awesome player. He can run block, pass block, everything you could want. He looks like a running back when he gets out in space. It’s incredible to watch how a smaller lineman can move defenders off the ball to create leverage. 

If you want to understand how offensive line play works, how leverage works, and how you can overcome a size deficit just watch Kelce. He plays the game the best way that he can — with physicality, leverage and smarts.

He does everything he can in the passing game, calling out protections. So, he’s on top of really every facet of the offense. Having a center that can do all those things is so valuable. 

Plus, on fourth-and-1 and third-and-1, what are the Eagles going to do? QB sneak. And everyone talks about, “Oh, it’s so easy.”

But Philly’s doing it the best we’ve ever seen in NFL history. Kelce is the guy snapping, and he’s at the point of that blocking scheme. So, you can put a lot into your offense because you have Kelce there. For that reason, he’s my top free-agent offensive lineman heading into the 2023 NFL offseason.

Mitchell Schwartz is a former NFL All-Pro offensive tackle who played nine seasons with the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs. He was a member of the Chiefs’ Super Bowl LIV-winning team. Follow him on Twitter at @MitchSchwartz71.


Former All-Pro Tackle Ranks Top 9 Free Agent Offensive Linemen

Former All-Pro offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz breaks down the best free agent offensive linemen set to hit the open market, including one AFC West sleeper, several stud right tackles, and a pair of Philadelphia Eagles.

Top Takeaways From First Two Days of NFL Combine

Top Takeaways From First Two Days of NFL Combine
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The NFL Combine kicked off on Tuesday with executives, coaches, scouts, agents and media coming together at the Indiana Convention Center. While on-field workouts are on TV, what happens behind the scenes is equally fascinating. There is endless chatting and plenty of buzz on what might happen during the offseason. You’ll see general […]

Read More

Scroll to the Top