Should The Broncos Sign Richie Incognito?

The Broncos worked out troubled offensive lineman, Richie Incognito, today. MHH Lead Analyst, Chad Jensen, ruminates on whether the team should sign him.

Today, the Denver Broncos worked out troubled offensive lineman, Richie Incognito. The team is currently in talks to potentially sign him. But should the team take that risk?

Absolutely...And Here's Why

Despite featuring two All-Pros on their offensive line (Ryan Clady and Louis Vasquez), the unit has yet to gel and has been the offense's biggest weakness. Really, the offensive line has been the only weakness.

When John Elway decided to let last year's left guard walk, Zane Beadles, it left a hole in the interior line and it's yet to be filled. Orlando Franklin moved from right tackle, where he's spent his entire pro career, to left guard. He just hasn't been the same player.

That left right tackle open. The team filled it with Chris Clark, who filled in admirably at left tackle for the Broncos last year, when Ryan Clady went down with a lisfranc injury. However, he has struggled mightily at RT this year, earning a cumulative grade of -4.6 via ProFootballFocus.

So in week 7, John Fox benched Clark in favor of Paul Cornick. Cornick improved the run blocking but weakened the unit's overall pass protection. Then he injured his shoulder. To make matters even worse, Manuel Ramirez (Manny) went from being a top 5 center last season, to one of the league's worst.

Finally, the team made another fateful decision that shook up the offensive line. They moved Ramirez to right guard, and replaced him with Will Montgomery, while Louis Vasquez filled the hole at right tackle left by Cornick. In Montgomery's first start at center for the Broncos, he earned a +2.3 overall grade via PFF, an obvious upgrade.

The Broncos are obviously reluctant to go back to Clark at RT. Their solution? Kick the tires on Incognito. If they signed him, he could very soon be starting at left guard, which would afford the Broncos the ability to move Franklin back to RT and Vasquez back to RG, which happen to be Vasquez and Franklin's natural positions, respectively.

Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2005 NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams, the former Nebraska trenchman has had a productive pro career. Up until last season, when all of the harassment of Jonathan Martin came to light with the Miami Dolphins, Incognito had forged a successful career, although it must be said that he was considered to be one of the dirtiest offensive linemen in the league by his peers.

If the Broncos hope to go deep into the playoffs this year, they have to not only get effective play out of the offensive line, but for Peyton Manning's sake, they have to get some continuity too. If the unit looked like this; LT Clady, LG Incognito, C Montgomery, RG Vasquez, RT Franklin, that would be a formidable lineup.

The concerns about how Incognito would influence the locker room are valid but consider this. The Broncos are one of the NFL's premier teams and a perennial Super Bowl contender. They have a stable coaching environment and stalwart leadership in the locker room. Guys like Manning, DeMarcus Ware, Clady, and Terrance Knighton, all have the players respect and admiration.

Also, Incognito's wings have been clipped, as a result of last year's drama in Miami. If the Broncos took a flier on him, it would literally resurrect his career off the refuse pile and I highly doubt he'd be willing to jeopardize that by causing internal problems.

The way I see it is the Broncos would be remiss not to sign Incognito, provided he's in shape. Get him in Orange and Blue and onto the field as soon as possible. Last season, through 9 games, he graded out at +7.2 overall via PFF, higher than any current Broncos lineman. They could use that level of production right now, especially in the running game.

Chad Jensen is the Publisher and Lead Analyst for MileHighHuddle. You can find him on Twitter @CJ_Broncos and on Google+.

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