Broncos’ riskiest free agency move in 2023 NFL offseason

The Denver Broncos are now Sean Payton’s team, and he spent his first NFL offseason with the franchise remaking it in his image. That means upgrading along the lines and adding weapons on offense. Payton accomplished these goals via the NFL draft and in free agency. But what was the riskiest move they made? The Mike McGlinchey Broncos’ free agent signing is the biggest risk the team took in the 2023 NFL offseason.

Why the Mike McGlinchey Broncos’ free agent signing is the riskiest move of the 2023 NFL offseason

Sean Payton started his career under former Philadelphia Eagles coach Ray Rhodes, who coached under the father of the West Coast offense, Bill Walsh. And the West Coast offense is, foundationally, what Payton runs.

This means quick, short passes to receivers, backs, and tight ends are what drive the offensive game. However, during his time with Drew Brees in New Orleans, Payton tweaked his offense to include an aggressive downfield passing component as well. And while a true West Coast system uses short passes in lieu of the run game, Payton likes to have a traditional power run game, too, in order to exploit matchups when he can.

All this requires a strong offensive line that can both pass protect and run over defenses when necessary to execute his varied play calls.

With this as the Broncos’ needs this NFL offseason, Payton and general manager George Paton made a major commitment to the position group.

The team brought in former Baltimore Ravens guard Ben Powers, former Seattle Seahawks center Kyle Fuller, and former San Francisco 49ers tackle Mike McGlinchey.

Fuller got a one-year deal, Powers got four years with an out after two, and McGlinchey got the biggest deal of all. The Mike McGlinchey Broncos’ free agent signing included a five-year, $87.5 million deal a $17.5 million signing bonus, and $52.5 million guaranteed, for an average annual value of $17.5 million per season.

The deal does have an out after three years at the guaranteed $52.5 million, which will leave $7 million in dead cap, but the Broncos are now locked into McGlinchey at right tackle for the next three seasons.

The good news about this is that Payton loves continuity along the offensive line, and if McGlinchey works out, the new head coach will have that on the right side for the next three to five years at least, as the tackle is just 28 years old.

However, the reason the Mike McGlinchey Broncos’ free agent signing is such a risk is that it’s questionable how good a starting right tackle he is.

McGlinchey is a big, smart tackle who is best as a run blocker. At 6-foot-8, 310 pounds, the 2019 No. 9 overall pick out of Notre Dame can hold down the backside on a run play or lead the charge, flattening anyone in his path.

The problem is when it comes to pass protection. As NFL pass rushers get faster and more athletic, an old-school road grader like McGlinchey just can’t hold up. In fact, his pass blocking was so bad at times last season he became the target of 49ers fans’ ire and even took some of the blame for the team losing Trey Lance, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Brock Purdy to injuries last season.

Russell Wilson also wasn’t protected well last season, and that was one of the reasons he struggled so mightily in his first year in Denver. Protecting him and giving him time to properly execute Payton’s offense is a cornerstone of the Broncos’ 2023 offseason, and McGlinchey is a (or the) crucial piece of that.

In fairness to the Broncos, there weren’t a ton of top tackles on the market this offseason, and despite his flaws, McGlinchey was one of the best available, along with Orlando Brown Jr., Jawaan Taylor, Kaleb McGary, and Andre Dillard. Denver did pay their new RT the most of any of these players, though.

Now it’s time to find out whether this risk will pay off for the Broncos. Sean Payton does have a history of taking unheralded or lightly-regarded linemen and turning them into longtime starters. McGlinchey isn’t exactly that, but he was much-maligned in San Francisco. Maybe Payton can turn that around.

If he does, then there is no problem with the fact that McGlinchey is the 13th-highest-paid tackle and sixth-highest-paid right tackle in the league. That said, if McGlinchey fails to protect Wilson as he struggled at times to do for Lance, Garoppolo, and Purdy, then that will be a major strain on the cap for the next few years, and the Mike McGlinchey Broncos’ free agent signing will look bad.

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Broncos find new kicker after shocking Brandon McManus release

The Denver Broncos made a shocking decision when they released kicker Brandon McManus. However, it didn’t take long for the Broncos to find their McManus replacement.

Denver has signed kicker Elliot Fry, via Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network. Fry is now the only kicker on the Broncos roster.

Elliot Fry came to the NFL as a free agent with the Chicago Bears prior to the 2019 season. He began his professional kicking career with the Orlando Apollos of the new defunct Allegiance of American Football.

However, Fry didn’t last long with Bears, getting cut after Week 2. He bounced around the league after that, spending time with 10 different NFL franchises. All of that traveling didn’t amount to much playing time for Fry. Over his entire time in the NFL, Fry has appeared in just three games. He has gone 3-for-4 on his field goal attempts and 5-for-7 on extra points.

Despite Fry’s lack of actual NFL experience, the Broncos clearly see something. Brandon McManus was Denver’s kicker for the last nine years. He won a Super Bowl with the team. But with Sean Payton becoming head coach, he decided to make a change at kicker.

For now, that change is Elliot Fry. There is still plenty of time until Week 1. Fry has signed with a team and then been cut before the start of the year numerous times throughout his career. But after moving on from McManus, Fry’s signing seems like a big deal.

McManus’ departure takes a big staple away from Denver. Whoever gets the job will be tasked with performing better than him. Fry now has an opportunity to get his NFL back on track and prove he can be that guy for the Broncos.

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‘Biggest trade heist in history’: Russell Wilson’s old Seahawks teammate blasts Broncos for blockbuster deal

Former Seattle Seahawks linebacker KJ Wright didn’t hold back in criticizing and mocking the Denver Broncos for the Russell Wilson blockbuster deal over a year ago.

To recall, the Broncos made the move to acquire Wilson from the Seahawks during the 2022 offseason, giving away two first-round picks, two second-round picks and a fifth-rounder. They also sent quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant and defensive lineman Shelby Harris to Seattle to complete the trade.

Unfortunately for the Broncos, their first year with Wilson didn’t go as planned. They finished the campaign with a 5-12 record, which was the second-worst tally in the AFC. Even before the season ended, the team also decided to fire head coach Nathaniel Hackett, a further proof of the disappointment and frustrations within the organization.

With everything that happened–including the fact that Seattle made the playoffs in the past season–Wright couldn’t help but call the Seahawks-Broncos deal as the “biggest trade heist in NFL history.”

“When I look at this Russell Wilson situation, this could potentially go down as the biggest trade heist in NFL history. We’re talking two first-found picks, we’re talking two second-round picks, we’re talking a bunch of good football players Noah Fant, Shelby Harris, Drew Lock,” Wright shared during an appearance on Good Morning Football.

“We’re talking about they gave this man five years, and paid him a lot of money to say you are our guy for the next five years. Russell Wilson, we’re putting all of our eggs into you and all they’ve gotten so far is five wins, and a fired head coach. And so right now this is looking very scary. This is looking ugly.”

KJ Wright added that the Seahawks are looking like real geniuses for getting the deal done, especially since the picks they acquired are looking really valuable now.

Of course considering the Broncos’ epic fail in 2022, the trade is certainly trending to be a massive loss for them. However, that will only happen if Denver fails to win the Super Bowl with Russell Wilson. With that said, Denver fans better hope that they do.

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Russell Wilson ‘fighting for his job’ with Broncos, per NFL insider

Russell Wilson is entering his second season as quarterback for the Denver Broncos, but he may already be at risk to lose his job.

The 2022 season couldn’t have gone much worse for Wilson and the Broncos. To make matters worse ahead of the miserable season, the Broncos signed Wilson to a five-year, $245M deal. Despite the mega-extension, the team may be willing to cut ties with Wilson early if he doesn’t end up performing.

During the offseason, the team hired head coach Sean Payton. Payton hasn’t spoken much regarding the team’s commitment to Wilson for the long term, and there seems to be a general understanding that Payton could move on from Wilson after only one season together.

ESPN analyst Mike Tannenbaum believes that Wilson’s job is truly at risk.

“Russell Wilson isn’t fighting for his legacy, he’s fighting for his job,” Tannenbaum told ESPN’s Get Up.

“They (Denver) will draft his replacement if he (Wilson) doesn’t do everything he (Payton) says from day one.”

Payton has only been in Denver for a few months, but he has already established a completely different mentality within the organization.

“If you go back to his press conference, Sean Payton talked about there will be no outside coaches or mentors in the building,” Tannenbaum continued. “He (Payton) is the new sheriff in town, and is beholden to no one, including Russell Wilson’s guaranteed money.”

Wilson is determined to improve this season, though. During his media availability after practice this past week, Wilson revealed that he lost weight during the offseason and is feeling “lean and mean” and “ready to go.”

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Broncos HC Sean Payton makes key roster point when discussing NFL’s 49ers-inspired QB rule change

In last year’s NFC Championship Game, the San Francisco 49ers had to play the second half essentially without a quarterback once starter Brock Purdy and backup Josh Johnson both got hurt. Predictably, it was a mess. As a result, the NFL has introduced a new rule ahead of the 2023 season, allowing teams to designate an “emergency” quarterback who doesn’t count against their game day roster. The so-called emergency quarterback rule was previously in place from 1991-2010, but was abolished once game day rosters expanded from 45 to 46 players. While most teams don’t need a third active quarterback, Broncos coach Sean Payton believes the return of this rule will have an interesting effect on how teams compose their roster.

“If you carry three on your 53[-man roster], you get a [third on] game day,” Sean Payton said during a press conference at the Broncos OTAs. “Let’s say what happened to San Francisco was a once in every seven year occurrence. Each team will then have to decide if they want to continue to have two and get an additional player other than a quarterback on their 53. Everyone has three in the building — a lot of times on the practice squad. I think team-by-team, it will vary.”

Here, Payton touches on the interesting paradox of the emergency quarterback rule. The point of the rule is to reduce the opportunity cost of dressing a third quarterback for each game, but it still forces teams to weigh the relative benefits of rostering a third quarterback. To be able to capitalize on the new rule, teams will have to include three quarterbacks on their roster, thereby having one fewer spot at another position.

It’ll be interesting to see how Payton navigates this math problem. In New Orleans, he converted Taysom Hill into the league’s most valuable and versatile third string quarterback, using him as a hybrid quarterback/tight end/wide receiver/running back/special teamer. With the Broncos, though, Payton merely has regular quarterbacks, for now at least.

The Broncos enter the 2023 season with Russell Wilson as their starter, but they made several moves to improve their quarterback depth in case Wilson can’t rebound from his cruddy 2022 season. Over the offseason, Sean Payton and the Broncos added three new quarterbacks, signing veteran backups Jarrett Stidham, Jarrett Guarantano and XFL standout Ben DiNucci

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Shannon Sharpe’s home shockingly robbed, $1 million in jewelry, bags stolen

Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe‘s home in Los Angeles was burglarized last week, a story by TMZ said.

Sharpe, who is currently an analyst for FS1’s “Undisputed” with longtime sports commentator Skip Bayless, had roughly $1 million in goods stolen, which included watches, jewelry and designer bags.

Shannon Sharpe has put up a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Per TMZ, the break-in happened May 19 between 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Sharpe was out at dinner and called police once he returned home.

Law enforcement said there were no obvious signs of forced entry into Shannon Sharpe’s house.

Despite this, Sharpe has appeared on every “Undisputed” show since the break-in. He has been on the show with Bayless since 2016.

Sharpe won three Super Bowls during his Hall of Fame career, two of which came with the Denver Broncos. He was named first-team All-Pro four times (1993, 1996-1998).

His best season was arguably in 1997, when he had 72 catches for a career-best 1,107 yards and three touchdowns. Shannon Sharpe had 10 touchdowns in the 1996 season and again in 1998.

“Undisputed” is a show that rivals ESPN’s “F1irst Take” and other national programs that offer hot takes of sports news. Sharpe has defended Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James heavily, while Bayless is known to criticize James.

The two also go back-and-forth over the Dallas Cowboys, who Bayless is a big fan of.

The show with Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless airs Monday through Friday at 6:30 p.m. PT. FS1 also airs “First Things First” with Nick Wright and “The Herd with Colin Cowherd.”




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‘Couldn’t stand him’: Ex-49ers, current Broncos player reveals honest opinion of Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson and Mike McGlinchey are teammates on the Denver Broncos heading into next season, the first time the two will play on the same side of the field — but McGlinchey hasn’t always been a fan of the star quarterback.

“For the longest time, I really couldn’t stand Russell because of how many times he beat us,” the offensive tackle said, per Aric DiLalla of

But after getting some practices in with the QB, the Broncos free agent addition has changed his tune.

“To be in the locker room with him and to be able to be in the huddle with him now has been awesome. Russ, first and foremost, he’s a workhorse. There’s nobody in the building that works harder than him. He’s addicted to this game and is addicted to trying to be great. That rubs off on a lot of people.”

McGlinchey signed a five-year, $87.5 million contract with Broncos in March. The former San Francisco 49er is 4-17 all-time against Wilson, but had some high praise for the 34-year-old.

“There’s a reason that he’s had the success in this league that he’s had,” Broncos’ Mike McGlinchey continued. “I’m excited for what we can all do together, because I think with coach [Payton], with Russ, with the talent we have on this team, I think we have a really good shot to help Russ get to even higher heights than he’s been.”

Russell Wilson is entering his second season with the team, hoping to live up to the gaudy expectations that were set last year.

“I want to have the best offseason of my life,” Wilson said on Thursday after the team’s first OTA practice open to the media, per DiLalla. “I want to be the best version of me, and I’m looking forward to the work of it all and doing that. You always want to be in the best shape of your life. I’m ready for that. I feel better than ever.”

With a new look offense and the addition of Super Bowl-winning head coach Sean Payton, the Broncos figure to be much better than their 5-12 showing in 2022.

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Sean Payton gets brutally honest on why Broncos cut Brandon McManus

Cost and sentimentality rarely co-exist in the NFL. Tough decisions have to be made for the benefit of the entire roster. Unfortunately, financially-motivated moves are made much easier when kickers are involved. The Denver Broncos said goodbye to veteran Brandon McManus earlier in the week, but in doing so, they gained a bit more flexibility.

Sean Payton has a grand vision, which entails some pivotal changes. McManus was a part of Denver’s last championship and with the franchise for nearly a decade. His release, while being rather abrupt given the timing, makes more sense after hearing an explanation from the Broncos head coach.

“Ultimately, you’re constantly looking at what’s in the best interest for your team,” Payton said, per Mike Florio of NBC Sports. “A lot of the time, money and what your ‘musts’ are come into it. There may be a player of two that we are still looking to sign. We factored a lot of that in and then we made that decision.”

The departure opens up $3.65 million in cap space, which could be used to add more depth or even find a hidden gem who can become a key part of the team. Moreover, the 31-year-old had one of the worst seasons of his career last year (77.8  field goal completion percentage). McManus managed to rebound from Denver right away, signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday.

The Broncos are still searching for his replacement, but Payton clearly has a big-picture plan he is implementing. That includes moving on from the past.

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Broncos’ Russell Wilson drops Tim Patrick update as WR recovers from ACL injury

A reassuring message on Tim Patrick’s ACL tear came from Denver Broncos star Russell Wilson. Patrick suffered his ACL tear during training camp last year which did not allow him to play the entire 2022-23 NFL season.

Wilson confirmed that Tim Patrick is ‘working his tail off‘ every day to suit up for the Broncos, per Zac Stevens of DNVR Sports. His update came after Patrick dropped some insight of his own on the injury when speaking to Steve Smith Jr. of the Cut To It podcast.

“At this point, I’m cleared to do everything,” Patrick said. “At this point, I’m just doing repetition to get myself ready to play in a game.”

Tim Patrick’s ACL tear took place during the Broncos’ August 2 training camp practice. It happened while Patrick was carrying a reception during 11-on-11 drills. After twisting his right knee in an awkward position, an MRI revealed that he endured a ruptured ligament on his ACL.

Both Broncos fans and Russell Wilson would be excited to see Patrick suiting up in the Mile High city this season. When he last suited up for Denver in 2021, Patrick caught 53 passes for 734 yards and five touchdowns. Over his entire four-year career with the Broncos, Patrick has caught 143 passes for 2,009 yards and 12 touchdowns.

After a rough 5-12 season in his debut, Wilson is looking to turn things around in Denver. A healthy Patrick would give the quarterback an explosive weapon to throw to. Assuming Patrick is ready to go, the Broncos could be in for a breakout comeback.

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Sean Payton drops first Russell Wilson assessment of OTAs

Sean Payton hopes to return the Denver Broncos to glory as he takes over as the franchise’s head coach. If that is going to happen, he is presumably going to need a productive and consistent year from quarterback Russell Wilson. As the team hit the field in their Organized Training Activity (OTA), Payton gave a positive assessment of the veteran quarterback.

Payton explained that for the last few weeks, the Broncos were largely in the weight room, but now that they are on the field, he can make some assessments of his players. That includes Wilson.

“He looks good, he looks sharp. He is picking it (the Broncos offense) up,” Payton said.

Wilson is a controversial figure at this point in his career. He was a superstar during the large majority of his career with the Seattle Seahawks. He made the Pro Bowl 9 times in his 10 years with Seattle, and he ranked with the top quarterbacks in the NFL when it came to throwing the deep ball.

Wilson was at his best during 2013 season when the Seahawks earned a Super Bowl victory as he threw for 3,357 yards while completing 63.1 percent of his passes. He had a 26 to 9 touchdown to interception ratio, and he also ran for 539 yards.

He was traded by the Seahawks to the Broncos prior to the 2022 season, and his first season in Denver was a major struggle. His 16 to 11 touchdown to interception ratio was brutal, and he heard criticism from the start of the season to its conclusion.

If Wilson is going to revive his career, he must have a solid start to the season or Sean Payton may be forced to replace him

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