Broncos start free agency by adding a premier pass-protecting left guard

Mar 13, 2023, 10:52 AM | Updated: 10:54 am

Ben Powers...

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Sean Payton prioritizes interior offensive linemen. Perhaps more than any other coach.

The result in New Orleans was that he had 17 Pro Bowl centers or guards in his 16 seasons as a head coach. In that same span, the Broncos had three.

So, it stands to reason that Payton’s first unrestricted free agent as a Broncos head coach is on the interior offensive line that he prizes so much.

Guard Ben Powers will be the first addition, as the Broncos agreed to terms with Powers during the first hour of the legal-tampering period Monday. According to KUSA Ch. 9’s Mike Klis, who first reported the deal, Powers agreed to a four-year contract.

According to NFL Network, the Broncos gave Powers a deal that will pay him $13 million a year including $28.5 million in guarantees. That would place Powers ninth in average annual value among guards, per

The University of Oklahoma product started 29 games over the last two years for the Baltimore Ravens, and 36 games over the course of his four years with the club. Last season — the only one in which he started every game — Powers ranked second among guards in Pro Football Focus’ pass-blocking metrics, trailing only Kansas City’s Joe Thuney.

Powers is a technically sound player who had just one penalty called against him last season, when he emerged as one of the NFL’s best guards. And per Pro Football Focus’ data, Powers allowed just one sack, one other QB hit and 13 pressures on 633 pass-blocking snaps last year.

His run-blocking data wasn’t as strong. But in the modern NFL, to protect the passer well is to get paid.

The signing of Powers likely means that Dalton Risner is out. That would not be a surprise, as Risner spoke of his Broncos tenure in past-tense-type terms near the end of the regular season after receiving the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

But based on the metrics, the Broncos made an upgrade at a position Payton considers to be crucial to his pass-protection plan.



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Broncos start free agency by adding a premier pass-protecting left guard