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Examining Graham Glasgow’s Broncos career: What went right, wrong

We catch up on the past three years of Graham Glasgow’s career with a chat from Broncos writer Joe Rowles.

Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

When we last left Graham Glasgow, he was leaving the Detroit Lions under frustrating circumstances. His level of play was still high, but the Lions—under abrasive head coach Matt Patricia—were not making Glasgow feel wanted. Not only did the Lions utilize an unorthodox guard rotation that saw Glasgow in and out of the lineup, but the Lions finished the year 3-12-1 and seemed to be going nowhere.

Despite missing little time, playing well, and being position versatile, the Lions didn’t show much interest in Glasgow. So he took the opportunity in 2020 to get paid elsewhere. Glasgow cashed in with a four-year, $44 million contract with the Denver Broncos.

We knew Glasgow as a high-character, reliable player in Detroit. But what do people in Denver think of him after three years with the Broncos? It’s easy to say his time in Denver was a failure because he was a cap casualty, but what really happened in those three years and why did the Broncos move on?

We had a brief chat with Joe Rowles of Mile High Report to tell us his perception of Glasgow’s time in Denver and if he’s still the same Graham Glasgow we remember from three years ago. Here’s our conversation.

Do you view Glasgow’s three years in Denver as a success, failure, or somewhere in between?

“Ultimately, it’s impossible to call Glasgow’s time in Denver a success because injuries were a significant factor. I’d hesitate to call it a failure, however.”

Why did things ultimately not work out? Were the Broncos right to move on?

“A big reason Glasgow is no longer a Bronco is because he was signed in the midst of (team president) John Elway and then (GM) George Paton investing significant draft capital into their interior offensive line. While Dalton Risner, Lloyd Cushenberry, Netane Muti, Quinn Meinerz, and Luke Wattenberg have been a mixed bag, they provide cheaper alternatives to a veteran playing in the midst of his second contract. That combined with the decision to move from a rookie contract QB to one of the most expensive passers in the league in Russell Wilson put pressure on the team to find ways to cut costs where they could. Thanks to the way injuries impacted Glasgow’s time here, he became a rather obvious cap cut candidate.

“As for Glasgow’s play, I’d say that he was exactly what I thought the Broncos were getting when they signed him from the Lions in 2020 and still believe he was a better starting option at center than Lloyd Cushenberry when healthy.”

What happened in 2022? He had the lowest PFF grade since his rookie season—was there an issue coming off his injury (broken ankle in 2020)?

“I want to preface this by saying I don’t put much stock in PFF grades for the offensive line. With that said, Glasgow came off a significant ankle injury that derailed his 2021, and like other members of Denver’s line he was negatively impacted when Nathaniel Hackett replaced OL coach Mike Munchak with the callow Butch Barry last year. For a significant stretch of the season the Broncos’ coaching staff was not doing right by their offensive line.”

Do you think Glasgow is still capable of being a full-time starter?

“I think he’s a strong candidate to compete for playing time at center or guard. Failing that, his ability to play all three spots along the interior make him an extremely valuable depth piece in a league where teams depend on flexibility from their backups. “

When the Broncos signed Glasgow, you initially gave the move (four years, $44M) an A+. What grade would you give it now?

“I think I’d give the signing a B- now. Glasgow lived up to my expectations in 2020 and injuries derailed his 2021. Last year a huge chunk of the line looked miscast under Nathaniel Hackett and Butch Barry. I’m not one to lament injuries, but do think things would look different had he remained healthy throughout his tenure. I remain optimistic for him going forward and think his ability to anchor, pass block, and read the field should prove valuable to the Lions.”

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