The first objective this offseason was always to address the offensive line. Through the first two days of Free Agency, the Denver Broncos have been doing just that.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1681565-5-reasons-you-should-go-p... After signing Dallas Cowboys guard Ronald Leary about 24 hours ago, the Broncos dipped back into the free-agent market and picked up right tackle Menelik Watson from none other than their AFC West rivals, the Oakland Raiders.
Per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, the deal is worth $18.3 million over the course of three years.
Given the ever-exploding market for tackles these days, and with players like Matt Kalil earning premium bucks, the Broncos got Menelik Watson for a bargain. If he can stay on the field, that is.
The major red flag with Watson is his health. At 28 years old, he's only started 17 games in his four-year career after being selected in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Florida State.
However, if he can manage to stay healthy and stay on the field, he will undoubtedly be an upgrade from the current right tackle situation, which consists of Donald Stephenson and Ty Sambrailo. At six-foot-five, 315 pounds, Watson is a remarkable athlete who played multiple sports including basketball and soccer growing up in Manchester, England.
Watson knows he's stepping into a quality organization in Denver, expertly ran from top to bottom.
"It's everything," Watson said Friday in his introductory press conference. "Just the organization. From the nutrition and the weight training. The staff. Everybody working in the building, just the energy around here is something I've needed."
Denver's strength and conditioning staff — headed by Luke Richesson — was a big draw for Watson. Getting his body right will be a big step toward focusing on physicality on the grid-iron.
"Right now, I'm putting myself in the best place that, along with the assistance from some of the greatest in the world — we can put all those things in the past and move on and focus on getting on that field and focus on smashing heads together."
With the Ronald Leary signing and now Watson, the Broncos are looking for linemen with a certain mentality. GM John Elway wants guys with physicality and a competitive nature in the trenches and Watson fits the bill. Just because he's from Great Britain doesn't mean he's soft or having tea and crumpets every day.
"Don't get it confused," Watson said. "I come from a tough background. I grew up fighting my whole life. It's nothing new, to get physical. It's what I like to do. That's why I'm an offensive lineman, right? [laughs] It's just part of the game. It's a physical game. You can't go into this thing intimidated. You can't go into this thing thinking about it. You've got to be the aggressor. And that's what I like to be."
It should be a relief for Watson, as the pillar of the right side of the offensive line, to not have to worry about blocking Von Miller twice a year. Only now, he'll have a couple run-ins scheduled with Khalil Mack when the Broncos and the Raiders butt heads. You win some, you lose some.
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