The 2022 season has officially come to a close and teams are already working and looking towards 2023. On Tuesday, the Las Vegas Raiders officially released Derek Carr who will become a free agent. That may be the first move, but it certainly won’t be the last. With the improvements that the Los Angeles Rams need to make this offseason, Les Snead is already hard at work to find what moves are possible.
While the Raiders cut Carr on Tuesday, they aren’t the only team in the AFC West who could be looking to make moves to improve cap space and get more draft picks. That other team is the Denver Broncos.
According to Benjamin Allbright who is a Broncos Insider for KOA Colorado, the Broncos could potentially be shopping a veteran starter or two. One of those players on the trade block according to Allbright is left tackle Garett Bolles.
Allbright said that there is no guarantee that Bolles will be traded but that one will be explored to see what kind of market he has. The team traded a plethora of draft picks to acquire Russell Wilson and Bolles could bring in a solid return.
Our friends over at Mile High Report responded to this report by saying,
“Moving on from Bolles would be a curious move for the Broncos. He is far from a top-tier left tackle, but the Broncos have a ton of needs already along the offensive line. Moving on from Bolles would create a large hole at left tackle and have the team looking for two starting tackles this offseason. So, the return would have to be pretty good for the Broncos to pull the trigger on a trade that includes Bolles.”
Trades around this time of year at typically contract motivated. That seems to be the case here. Allbright noted that Bolles would probably not restructure his contract which is a large reason he may be on the block.
The Broncos are currently set to have around $9M of cap space according to OverTheCap. While Bolles is a former second-team All-Pro, he is coming off of a broken leg at 31 years old and is set to account for $17M in cap space.
Trading for Bolles would be interesting for the Rams. They would need to make the cap work, but he’s exactly the type of player that the team would look for to be their next left tackle. It seems unlikely that they would plug in a rookie in that spot to protect Matthew Stafford. Bolles is an experienced player who could bring some stability to the position.
The issue then comes to making the cap space and trade price work.
Affording Bolles for this season wouldn’t be too difficult. If traded, the Broncos are still responsible for $8M of his salary. This means, if the Rams were interested, they’d only have to come up with the extra $9.8M. For a former second-team All-Pro left tackle, that’s a pretty good deal. The Rams would be paying Bolles as the 21st highest-paid left tackle in APY for 2023.
With that said, the Rams are currently $14M over the cap. Therefore, they would need to move some money around with contract restructures. Additionally it’s possible that the Rams could include Joe Noteboom in a potential trade package. Noteboom is a younger piece at left tackle who would save the Rams $8M in cap space. However, it’s unlikely that the Broncos would trade Bolles, pay $8M of his salary, and then acquire Noteboom and pay an additional $7.5M for his salary.
Who’s responsible for what portion of the contracts is something that teams would need to work out if Noteboom is part of a potential deal.
However, with Bolles, it seems like the Broncos are primarily interested in picks. Something like the Rams second round pick at 36 plus a fifth round pick might be able to get a deal like this done. That price tag could drop depending on how desperate the Broncos are to get Bolles’ contract off of the books.
According to Allbright, some other names to watch are wide receiver Courtland Sutton and cornerback Ronald Darby. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rams have some interest in someone like Sutton and try to include picks plus Allen Robinson in the deal. Both Robinson and Sutton have similar contract numbers if traded pre-June 1.
We all know Snead isn’t someone who’s going to sit around quietly and twiddle his thumbs all offseason. There’s a reason he’s earned the “F Them Picks” mantra. Snead will take a swing if the opportunity is there.
With a new coaching staff looking to accumulate draft picks in order to acquire some future building blocks, the Broncos may just be the perfect trade partner.