Report: Denver Broncos Won't Pick Up Tackle Russell Okung's Option

The Broncos did what we expected and are moving on from Russell Okung.

The Denver Broncos are expected to be aggressive in free agency this year, with the objective of adding three starting-caliber offensive linemen. That agenda becomes even more pressing today, with news that the Broncos have chosen not to pick up offensive tackle Russell Okung's option.

Okung will hit the open waters of unrestricted free agency, just one year removed from signing a five-year contract worth up to $53 million. He negotiated his own deal with the Broncos, without representation from an agent. 

With only a $5.3 million pay-out in year one, Okung bet on himself, hoping to reap the rewards of his contract in the remaining four years, which would have paid him an additional $47.8 million. Unfortunately, on deck to make $11.7 million in 2017, Okung's performance in 2016 did not justify the cost in the eyes of the Broncos. So, Okung is gone. The Broncos will look to the free agent tackle market to replace him and likely Donald Stephenson too, although the team has until March 14 to decide on him. 

Andrew Whitworth has been tied to the Broncos, if the Cincinnati Bengals don't make an effort to re-sign their accomplished veteran tackle. Riley Reiff will be available, as will some decent options at guard, like T.J. Lang and Ron Leary.

Denver's O-line was atrocious in 2016, with center Matt Paradis as the only consistent bright spot. With new coaching in place, and a new offensive philosophy, it seems the Broncos will blow up the line, and reshuffle the starting five. 

Buckle in, Broncos Country, because GM John Elway will have a sizable war chest and figures to be quite the player in this year's free agency period.

Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.

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