Earlier in the week the Denver Broncos lost out on former New Orleans Saints' offensive lineman Willie Roaf, on Thursday they lost out on one of their own, left tackle Trey Teague who agreed to terms with the Buffalo Bills on a four-year, $10 million contract.
Filling the position left vacant by Teague's departure will be fairly easy, with right tackle Matt Lepsis expected to make a shift to the left as replacement. The big question however, is who will replace Lepsis?
Currently the battle falls between the Broncos' 2000 fourth-round draft pick Cooper Carlisle and recently acquired Barrett Brooks, a former second-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Eagles. Ironically it was Broncos defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes that selected Brooks during his tenure as head coach of the Eagles.
It was also Rhodes that lobbied Denver to sign the twenty-nine year old tackle, despite the fact that he sat out the entire 2001 season after being released by the Cleveland Browns on the final day of cutdowns.
Rhodes firmly believes that his former draft pick is good enough to start, something the 6'4", 320-pound Brooks has done sixty-two other times throughout his six-year NFL career, most notably in Philadelphia and Detroit.
Should Rhodes theory hold true, the Broncos made out like a bandit, signing Brooks to a one-year, $525,000 contract.
Carlisle, who enters his third year as a Bronco, is not without praise of his own, especially from teammate Matt Lepsis.
"I've always thought Cooper was really good, and he's gotten a lot better since his rookie year," Lepsis told the Denver Post. "I'm sure the Broncos have noticed that. I'm sure that came into their thinking with letting Trey go to Buffalo. They had to feel pretty comfortable with Cooper to let Trey get away."
The fact is the Broncos do have faith in Carlisle, just as they have faith in Brooks. Is it enough faith to make the Broncos or head coach Mike Shanahan feel comfortable?
Don't be surprised if they sign a good free agent tackle.
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Teague heads to Buffalo
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