Broncos, OT Donald Stephenson Agree To Terms

WEDNESDAY, 8:55am: Stephenson is signing a three-year, $14MM contract, with $6MM fully guaranteed, tweets Alex Marvez of FOX Sports.

TUESDAY, 9:52pm: Stephenson will earn around $5MM annually, according to Mike Klis of 9 News, who rightly notes that that salary is starter-level money.

8:51pm: Free agent offensive tackle Donald Stephenson has agreed to sign with the Broncos, according to Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star (Twitter link). Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link) hears that it’s a three-year pact. Stephenson will be able to officially join Denver when the new league year begins on Wednesday.Donald Stephenson (Vertical)

Offensive line was a problem area for the Broncos all season, especially after starting left tackle Ryan Clady went down with a torn ACL during training camp. Ryan Harris held his own at left tackle, and veteran guard Evan Mathis brought a stabilizing presence, but it’s not a surprise that Denver is interested in bringing in more reinforcements — in addition to agreeing to a deal with Stephenson, the Broncos have reportedly also shown interest in Cardinals free agent Bobby Massie.

Stephenson, 27, opened the season as the Chiefs’ starting left tackle, but eventually lost that job to former first overall pick Eric Fisher. He also saw action at right tackle, and ended up starting seven total games on the season. Stephenson ranked as PFR’s No. 14 available offensive tackle.

Where exactly Stephenson will play is an open question, as Clady’s status (both injury- and contract-wise) is unclear. If Clady agrees to rework his contract (as he says he is willing to do), he’ll probably be back on the blind side. The Broncos have a combination of Michael Schofield and Ty Sambrailo at right tackle, but Stephenson could be an improvement at that spot. Harris, meanwhile, is also a pending free agent.

Agreeing to sign Stephenson isn’t the only offensive line transaction Denver has made today — the club also released veteran guard Louis Vasquez.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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One comment on “Broncos, OT Donald Stephenson Agree To Terms

  1. Sam Robinson

    Definitely an outside-the-box signing, as Stephenson struggled to keep a job in Kansas City. But the Broncos have developed a habit of coaxing more than their peers from seemingly marginal FAs — Brandon Marshall, Knighton, Vasquez (who was a bit more than marginal but qualifies here). $5MM per is quite a bit for Stephenson, however. He or Sambrailo could conceivably slide to right guard to fill Vasquez’s spot.

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