Broncos Named ‘Best Team Fit’ for $21 Million Replacement for 17-Game Starter

Sean Payton, Denver Broncos

Getty Head coach Sean Payton of the Denver Broncos.

The Denver Broncos changed several parts of the roster this offseason, and none of them have received more attention than at quarterback.

That trend should continue with what the Broncos can do to put their starter – be it incumbent Jarrett Stidham, trade acquisition Zach Wilson, or rookie first-round draft pick Bo Nix – in the best position to succeed.

The biggest remaining question mark is along the offensive line.

Both starting tackles and both starting guards return. But the center spot is in limbo following former third-round pick and 17-game starter Lloyd Cushenberry in free agency.

“With the expectation Denver coach Sean Payton will hand over the offensive keys to rookie quarterback Bo Nix, adding a proven veteran in [Connor] Williams to the interior line should be on the table,” ESPN’s Matt Bowen wrote on May 20. “Yes, Williams tore his left ACL last season, but before the injury, he had registered a pass block win rate of 93.9% (would have ranked just outside the top 10 centers had he qualified).

“Williams counters his lack of power and ability to anchor with the movement skills to play as a positional blocker. He’s also very good in space, creating positive angles to cut off defenders. If Williams is cleared to go this summer, then I like this potential move.”

Bowen points directly to Cushenberry’s exit as the basis for this potential fit.

Connor Williams Could Help Bolster Broncos’ Offensive Line

Connor Williams, Denver Broncos

GettyConnor Williams #58 of the Miami Dolphins.

Williams, 26, was a second-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2018. He signed a two-year, $14 million contract with the Miami Dolphins in 2022 and started all 17 games that season.

His injuries cut this past season short after just nine games. He has still earned the best offense grade of his career, per Pro Football Focus, and had appeared in every game over the previous three seasons.

Williams has earned $21 million in his career.

Spotrac projects him to command a two-year, $16.5 million pact if and when he does sign. That would take up most of the Broncos’ current $8.4 million in cap space, per Spotrac.

The Broncos added Sam Mustipher to a group that includes 2022 fifth-round pick Luke Wattenberg, and 2023 seventh-round pick Alex Forsyth. They could buy Broncos brass time to evaluate the situation and see if Williams is necessary.

It would also allow Williams more time to recover.

Connor Williams Suffered ‘Significant Knee Injury’

Connor Williams, Denver Broncos

GettyConnor Williams #58 of the Miami Dolphins.

Williams’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, shed some light on the situation, not even clearing up whether or not Williams plans to play again.

“So Connor had a pretty significant knee injury. Without getting into his private business, it was a significant knee injury,” Rosenhaus told Josh Moser on March 18. “So, he’s taking his time with his rehab. I don’t think he has immediate plans to sign with the Dolphins or any team right now. I think he’s focused on his medical situation — getting healthy — and then see where he stands at that point. So, it’s not going to be any time soon that we see Connor Williams signing with an NFL team.

“I think it’s more something, more, we’re gonna have to monitor over the offseason. I don’t see it being an immediate future thing. But I do think it’s somewhat fluid. And we’ll check in with Connor periodically to see what he’s thinking and how he’s feeling.”

With no updates on Williams’ status, his name might be one for the Broncos to file away for later.

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