Several people expected that the Denver Broncos would contend for the Super Bowl this past season following the signing of Russell Wilson. That was clearly a wash. The Broncos, however, are now stuck with Wilson. That's despite former coach Nathaniel Hackett quitting after 15 games. Wilson and the Broncos are now led by Sean Payton. This offers the team reason to be optimistic. Remember that Payton once led a dormant New Orleans Saints team to a Super Bowl victory. Needless to say, they'll need a lot of help moving forward. Here we'll look at the one free agent who can help fill the Denver Broncos' biggest offseason need in 2023 NFL free agency.

The Broncos have 23 players whose contracts have expired, and there will be numerous other free agents available in the offseason. This means that Payton will have a lot of work to do. He will need to determine which players the Broncos should try to re-sign and which free agents they should pursue.

Of course, the fact is that the Broncos are a superior franchise to the Saints. Still, Payton will still have a significant amount of work to do during the offseason. However, if the front office can make some wise moves in free agency and address the quarterback position, there is no reason why the team cannot make the playoffs in 2023.

Improving the offense will be a top priority for the Broncos. In particular, they have to add depth to their offensive line and running back positions.

Let's look at the one free agent who can help fill the Denver Broncos' biggest offseason need.

OT Jawaan Taylor

The Broncos are looking at potentially having three new starters on their offensive line in 2023. As of this writing, they currently lack a right tackle, and left guard Dalton Risner is a free agent. Additionally, they may try to improve at center where Lloyd Cushenberry and Graham Glasgow split time last season. The team also needs to address their reserve spots on the offensive line. Keep in mind that they allowed the highest number of sacks in the NFL in 2022. While new coach Sean Payton can help quarterback Russell Wilson get the ball out quicker, significant improvement is necessary for his pass protection unit.

Recall that the Broncos' offensive line has been plagued by injuries. In fact, all five expected starters missed multiple games and four finished the 2022 season on injured reserve. Furthermore, the team has concerns about running back Javonte Williams' multiple knee ligament tears. That may keep him out for a significant portion of the 2023 season. Consequently, the team struggled to score points, with an average of fewer than 21 points per game since 2015. This lack of success on offense affected the team's confidence. These make it a challenging task for new coach Payton to address.

One of those big challenges is how the Broncos won't have a pick in the 2023 NFL Draft until the third round. This makes it difficult to find an instant starter at right tackle. Alternatively, it would be wise for Denver to sign an established, healthy tackle who is coming off a rookie contract. Jawaan Taylor, who has played in 66 consecutive games for the Jacksonville Jaguars, should be a good fit for the Broncos' o-line.

According to Pro Football Network, Taylor is one of the most dependable players in the sport. They even go so far as predicting he will sign with the Broncos when the unofficial signing period opens on March 13th. Taylor, who was drafted 35th overall by the Jaguars in 2019, has started in every game since joining the team. He has also played nearly 100 percent of offensive snaps.

Taylor is just flat-out a reliable player. He is very strong in pass protection, with a rating of 75.9 per Pro Football Focus. On the flip side, though, he is not as effective as a run-blocker with a rating of 39.7. In contrast, the Broncos' starting right tackle in 2022, Cameron Fleming, was better at run-blocking than pass protection. Given Russell Wilson's tendency to delay getting the ball out, a right tackle who excels in pass blocking could be more valuable in the deep game.

Still, there are many impending unrestricted Broncos free agents. These include RTs Cameron Fleming, Billy Turner, and OT Calvin Anderson. As such, the Broncos should sign Taylor out of necessity anyway. Spotrac projects Taylor's market value at around $14 million per year. Meanwhile, the Broncos have an estimated $11.95 million in available salary cap room,

Although some fans would like the Broncos to pursue Orlando Brown instead, remember that his expected contract range of $22-24 million might be too expensive for the team. As such, a young player like Taylor would be a more cost-effective fit. Take note that he is just starting to enter his prime and is coming off his best season so far. Some question is whether or not Taylor's contract is worth the investment for the Broncos. We believe it is absolutely worth it.

Recall that Taylor was considered to be a first-round talent when he came out of Florida. However, a knee injury in 2017 caused many teams to shy away from him. Despite this setback, Taylor possesses many desirable qualities such as his size, arm length, and ability to move smoothly in space. All this while still being strong enough to hold his ground in both power and zone-blocking schemes.

Keep in mind as well that even before the arrival of head coach Sean Payton, the Broncos were planning to make significant changes to their offensive line. With Payton now on board, they should place an even greater emphasis on improving their offensive trenches. Again, we cannot emphasize enough how important it is for them to sign Taylor as soon as possible.