Denver Broncos: Trade for Texans OT Duane Brown makes sense

The Denver Broncos finished the first quarter of the 2017 NFL season with a 3-1 record and plenty of reason for optimism going forward. One area that is still a concern for the Broncos, though, is their offensive line.

To be fair, Denver’s offensive line has played better through four games than they did during any four-game stretch in 2016. The decisions to sign right guard Ron Leary during free agency (four years, $36 million) and select left tackle Garett Bolles in the first round (No. 20 overall) have already paid solid dividends for the Broncos in 2017. Their decision to sign right tackle Menelik Watson during free agency (three years, $18.375 million) hasn’t exactly panned out, however.

According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), of the 13 sacks the Broncos have allowed, 10 are at the fault of their offensive line. Of those 10, Watson is directly responsible for 7 of them.

PFF has the 28-year-old has graded out as the 64th best offensive tackle in the league with an overall grade of 36.8 (on a scale that goes up to 99.9), a run blocking grade of 36.6, and a pass blocking grade of 38.7.

Bottom line, if the Broncos are going to make a serious run when the postseason comes around, Watson either needs to play much better, or Denver needs to look at potential replacements.

The only real viable replacement option on the Broncos’ roster is Donald Stephenson. And in his limited work, Stephenson has been below-average.

If the Broncos truly want to improve their offensive line, the best avenue for them would be to aggressively pursue a trade. One player that makes perfect sense in that scenario is Houston Texans offensive tackle Duane Brown.

Brown is currently in the midst of a holdout and contract dispute with the Texans, and has yet to play in 2017. His holdout is showing no signs of ending anytime soon, and Houston is having plenty of offensive success without him on the field. On top of all that, the Texans could use some draft capital after trading away their 2018 first and second-round picks this past offseason.

To acquire the three-time Pro Bowl selection the Broncos would have to be willing to sign him to a pricey new contract and part ways with a valuable draft pick. Additionally, they would have to be convinced that either Brown or Bolles can adequately transition to playing right tackle.

If the Broncos are confident that they will be able to re-sign Brown and move him or Bolles to the right side, this deal should be a no-brainer for general manager John Elway.

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