ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Replacing left guard Zane Beadles after his first-day-of-free-agency departure wasn't going to be a simple as plugging an existing reserve or a free-agent guard into the spot.
And as the Broncos turn toward the draft in earnest, there are still multiple possibilities in play. The most obvious since the signing of former Washington center Will Montgomery is to move center
At the owners meetings in Orlando, Fla. last month, Head Coach John Fox suggested, "We may move somebody," to answer the left guard conundrum.
But the possibilities go beyond Ramirez, who meshed well with college teammate
"You have young guys that have shown promise. There is
That versatility made Garland potentially an invaluable practice player. But after two years on the practice squad and another two on the military reserve list after being signed from Air Force, the clock is starting to tick on Garland, who could potentially spend one more year on the practice squad, assuming the Broncos always keep 53 players on the primary roster.
Another possibility is opting to move a tackle inside. The most obvious candidate would be
"There are a bunch of options and they will define how we go," said Fox. "The coaches will put together a plan. You have to be flexible when you can only suit up seven (offensive linemen) per game at five positions."
But no matter what path the Broncos take at the interior, they will be deeper at offensive tackle, if only because left tackle
"That makes us better instantly," Fox said.
But Clady is likely to be eased back into work throughout the offseason, which could leave Clark and Franklin still at the tackle spots when organized team activities begin.
But if someone is moved inside, then the door could open for recently re-signed
"We’ll work a million combinations," Fox said.
It was through offseason shuffling caused by injuries last year that Ramirez emerged as a viable option at center, a position he held even after the Broncos brought back Dan Koppen in late June and added ex-Colt and Chief Ryan Lilja during training camp.
"It took me a whole season for you guys to believe that Manny Ramirez was our center," Fox said with a laugh at the owners meetings.
The offseason will bring questions, as usual. But it could make Fox, Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase and Offensive Line Coach Dave Magazu feel more comfortable about the potential answers for the regular season.