Broncos Sign Former Packers Guard: Report


Getty Jermaine Eluemunor and Ben Braden arrive.

The Denver Broncos have reached a deal with their first unrestricted free agent. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Broncos are signing guard Ben Braden to a one-year deal.

Braden went undrafted in 2017, and he has bounced around the league. He has spent time with the New York Jets, Green Bay Packers, and New England Patriots.

Braden appeared in nine games for the Packers last season, but he only played four total offensive snaps. In fact, Braden has only played eight total offensive snaps in his career.

In Denver, Braden will reunite with Nathaniel Hackett. It’s interesting that the Broncos signed Braden on the first day of free agency; usually, teams target bigger names when legal tampering begins. Hackett must have been impressed with him during his time in Green Bay.

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Braden Adds Interior Offensive Line Depth

Braden adds some needed depth to the guard position. The Broncos elected to not tender guard Austin Schlottmann.

Schlottmann appeared in 42 games for the Broncos over the past three seasons. Braden can take over that role for the Broncos.

The Broncos will have a lot of options at guard next season. On the surface, veteran Graham Glasgow seems to be locked in as a starter. He is entering the third season of his four-year, $44 million contract.

Dalton Risner posted the highest overall PFF grade among Broncos’ guards last season (68.5). His pass block grade of 73.6 was the 12th-best among NFL guards last season. He has started 47 total games over the past three seasons.

However, Quinn Meinerz and Netane Muti are two young players with potential. Meinerz was a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

After Glasgow suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 9, Meinerz stepped up and played well. He played 623 offensive snaps and earned an overall PFF grade of 67.4.

Entering his second season, Meinerz has real upside. It is not ideal to bench him.

As for Muti, he was a sixth-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Unlike Meinerz, Muti has not been reliable on the field. He allowed four sacks in only 317 offensive snaps last season.

Still, Muti is still only 22 years old. He is younger than some prospects entering this year’s draft. For example, Cole Strange, who is the fourth-ranked guard on Mel Kiper’s big board, is 23 years old.

Should the Broncos Trade a Guard?

Two players out of Glasgow, Risner, Meinerz, and Muti appear destined to come off the bench next season. Therefore, I would not be surprised to see one of those guards eventually be traded.

Starting Risner alongside Meinerz would be the smartest football decision. Risner has been the team’s most reliable guard, and Meinerz has simply outplayed Muti.

However, the Broncos would have $9.1 million in dead cap space per Spotrac, if they traded or released Glasgow. It is hard to picture the Broncos moving him under those circumstances.

This will be an interesting position group to monitor moving forward.

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