The right tackle position has been an issue for the Denver Broncos since Orlando Franklin moved to left guard in 2014. Denver has searched far and wide for their next right tackle and they think they found one in Mike McGlinchey.
The former first-round pick entered free agency as the No.3 ranked player in ESPN’s top 100 free agents and gave some insight on ESPN.com on how he ended up signing with the Broncos.
“I played well, and that’s when I was pretty sure I was going to have an opportunity to be a pretty major player in this year’s free agent market,” McGlinchey said.
During his exit interview after the season with the 49ers, McGlinchey met with head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch and received an honest answer as to why he wouldn’t be able to remain a 49er.
“They were clear that, barring something out of the ordinary, I wouldn’t be back. It was a money thing, and they told me point blank. ‘We’d love to have you back, but we can’t stretch ourselves too thin.'”
Entering the offseason, Broncos general manager George Paton made it clear that the team needed to address the offensive line in order to have success winning in the NFL.
“We need to upgrade at the offensive line,” Paton said. “There’s a lot of different ways to acquire any position — free agency, the draft. It just kind of depends on what’s stronger. Is free agency stronger or is the draft stronger? Obviously, we need to upgrade there on the offensive line.”
After the NFL combine and before free agency opened, McGlinchey and his agent sat down and came up with five or six teams that they thought were going to be serious contenders to sign him.
Denver stood out and made it clear that they wanted McGlinchey to be their franchise right tackle for the future.
“The window opened at 9 a.m. PT and within 10 or 15 minutes, the Broncos reached out to my agent. They were able to talk to each other. What an amazing concept. Right away, it was very easy to see what was going on in Denver, and why playing for the Broncos is such an exciting opportunity.,” McGlinchey said.
With Denver pushing all of their chips in on the former Notre Dame standout, McGlinchey didn’t really listen to other offers.
“I didn’t even really field another offer because Denver’s was so good right off the bat. They were direct. ‘We’re going to have the best offer to get you. If you want it, it’s yours.'”
Denver would sign McGlinchey to a five-year deal worth $87.5 million.
Broncos Have Struggled Finding a Right Tackle
After the Broncos lost to the Seattle Seahawks in the 2014 Super Bowl, Denver decided to make a change at the right tackle position. Franklin would be moved over to left guard and was replaced by Chris Clark.
Since Franklin, who was named as the Broncos’ All-Decade Team of the 2010’s, the Broncos have started 19 different players at right tackle. Only seven of them started in at least 10 games with Elijah Wilkinson leading the way at 19 starts.
The Broncos have tried to draft and develop offensive linemen to solve that position, but have failed. Denver has signed veteran free agents that could hold down the position for the year, but that never worked out either.
Even in 2019, the Broncos went out and made former Miami Dolphins right tackle Ja’Wuan James the highest paid right tackle of all-time by giving him a four-year deal worth $51 million.
James would end up playing in only three games for the Broncos before being released in May of 2021.
With the big contract of McGlinchey, Denver hopes that under a new regime, they can finally say they’ve fixed their issue at right tackle.
Does Mike McGlinchey Fit Sean Payton’s System?
Broncos head coach Sean Payton has become one of the smartest offensive minds in the NFL and runs an elite spread offense.
Franklin was also asked by his former teammate Brandon Stokley, on if McGlinchey will fit into Payton’s system on 104.3 The Fan in Denver.
“I think they’re going to run what we ran here with Peyton (Manning) before Gary Kubiak got here. A lot more power, a lot more move guys vertical off the line of scrimmage and you’ll sprinkle in your mid-zone to your wide-zone stuff. That being said, I think Mike McGlinchey struggles. The good thing about him, he’s a young player, like I said everything is there he’s just yet to put it together every single day.”