When Sean Payton arrived last offseason, one of his first big tasks was fixing the Denver Broncos’ offensive line.
By the end of the 2022 campaign, the team’s starting offensive line was Cam Fleming, Quinn Bailey, Graham Glasgow, Quinn Meinerz and Billy Turner. Payton quickly made big changes.
Glasgow was cut and Turner walked in free agency. Fleming and Bailey were re-signed as backups. Garett Bolles and Lloyd Cushenberry returned from injuries and Meinerz was the only Week 18 2022 starter assured of keeping his job in 2023.
When free agency opened, Payton immediately gave big contracts to guard Ben Powers and right tackle Mike McGlinchey to give the team a new starting lineup of Bolles, Powers, Cushenberry, Meinerz and McGlinchey.
Pro Football Focus is not infallible, but the website is useful. PFF ranked Denver’s offensive line 21st out of 32 units in 2022. After the 2023 regular season wrapped up, the Broncos’ offensive line was ranked 7th by PFF.
That represents a huge turnaround up front for Denver. Cushenberry is now scheduled to become a free agent, but the Broncos appear confident that 2023 seventh-round pick Alex Forsyth will be prepared to start in 2024.
Cushenberry’s free agent status gives the unit some uncertainty going into the offseason, but a Bolles-Powers-Forsyth-Meinerz-McGlinchey lineup would still be a much better scenario than Denver’s lineup in 2022. There’s always room for improvement, but the Broncos’ offensive line took a step forward in Payton’s first season.