The Denver Broncos had themselves a pretty great offseason.
After another disappointing finish under head coach Vic Fangio, the team decided to part ways with the defensive-minded coach. The Broncos decided it was time for the team to find a new identity, one that could potentially be offense-centric.
The team hired Nathaniel Hackett, and pulled off a blockbuster trade for superstar quarterback Russell Wilson. On top of some free agent signings, Broncos’ GM George Paton established a rather solid roster. A roster that Paton hopes will perform well in the ultra-competitive AFC West.
With Paton finding some draft and free agent gems, it has left some veterans in danger of losing their starting job to a younger player.
Broncos first-stringers in danger of losing starting jobs in 2022
Graham Glasgow – Offensive Guard
In March 2020, Glasgow signed a 4-year, $44 million dollar contract with the Broncos.
Having spent the first portion of his career with the Detroit Lions, Glasgow obviously performed well enough to earn a rather decent contract in free agency. During his time as a starter in Detroit, Glasgow was versatile enough to the point where he was swapped up and down the offensive line when it was needed.
During his two seasons with the Broncos, the team has only gotten a small sample size of Glasgow. In 2020, he missed a few weeks after testing positive for Covid. In 2021, Glasgow suffered a season-ending ankle injury.
When Glasgow has been on the field, he hasn’t necessarily performed poorly enough to lose his job. In fact, in 2021, PFF gave Glasgow a grade of 65.1.
When he went down to injury, rookie Quinn Meinerz stepped up and took full advantage of the opportunity. In his rookie season, Meinerz earned a grade of 67.4, allowed three sacks, and committed two penalties. Not bad stats for a rookie guard! On top of that, Meinerz is a bit of a bulldozer in the run game.
Quinn Meinerz with the best play of the 1st half 💪💪💪
— PFF (@PFF) December 6, 2021
As it stands, Meinerz will probably be named the starting right guard. Because of Glasgow’s versatility, he could get another chance along the offensive line either at center or left guard. Dalton Risner, the starting left guard, is entering the final year of his contract. He hasn’t performed nearly as well to earn a long-term contract, so there is a chance he could be traded. If he ends up traded, Glasgow could find himself at left guard.
Mike Purcell – Defensive Line
After Shelby Harris was included in the trade package to acquire Russell Wilson, the Broncos were left with a sizeable hole along the defensive line. To address this, Paton signed DJ Jones in free agency and drafted Eyioma Uwazurike. The Broncos also have Dre’Mont Jones and DeShawn Williams waiting in the wings. Both Jones and Williams have had a stellar training camp so far.
To put it bluntly, Purcell’s performance has been steadily declining with each passing season. Purcell’s first season with the Broncos in 2019 was his best season, but he hasn’t really performed at that level since.
In 2021, Purcell was given a grade of 64.3 by PFF. A grade like this isn’t bad per se, but it isn’t an ideal grade for a starting defensive lineman.
If Purcell’s performance continues to regress, he could find himself losing his starting job to some younger players on the roster. Purcell could also find himself being cut altogether to clear a little cap space.