Broncos G Dalton Risner Addresses Upcoming Free Agency

Dalton Risner is finishing out his Broncos rookie contract on IR, and while the Colorado native grew up a fan of the team, it does not sound like a hometown discount will be forthcoming.

The former second-round pick stands to be one of the better guards available in March. Denver’s previous regime drafted Risner, and the current one identified a younger well-performing guard — Quinn Meinerz. These factors could point Risner out of town, but he is not ruling out a return to Denver. The parties have not discussed a deal, however.

When it comes to this business, what everyone wants at some point as a player is to be valued,” Risner said, via Kyle Newman of the Denver Post. “So if the Broncos value me, and they want to keep me here and be a Denver Bronco, I can’t wait. That’s going to be one of the biggest things.

“But at the end of the day, it being a business… it’s like, ‘OK, where am I going to be valued at? Is it going to be with the Broncos or is it going to be somewhere else?

The Broncos traded Bradley Chubb to the Dolphins at the deadline, passing on a possible franchise tag or extension. The team looks to now view Dre’Mont Jones, who went off the 2019 draft board a round after Risner, as its top free agent priority. Jones was less diplomatic on a desire to stay in Denver, creating an interesting offseason outlook for a Broncos team coming off its worst season in at least 12 years. That said, if it comes down to paying Jones or Risner, Mike Klis of 9News expects Jones to be the choice.

Risner joins Garett Bolles as the longest-tenured Broncos O-linemen. The former was drafted during Mike Munchak’s time with the team. With the Broncos shifting to a zone-blocking scheme this season, Pro Football Focus viewed Risner as taking a slight step back. After a top-30 grade in 2021, PFF slots the four-year starter 44th among guards. The advanced metrics site places Meinerz fifth. Two years remain on Meinerz’s rookie contract. Risner, 27, leaving Denver would create a hole at guard. Considering the Broncos may be on the lookout for a center and will continue their endless search for right tackle stability, a third need emerging up front would increase this franchise’s surprisingly steep uphill battle in 2023.

Risner’s durability and experience still stand to produce a nice payday. He has started all 62 games in which he has played. Although the Packers took the top guard free agent-to-be (Elgton Jenkins) off the market, Nate DavisIsaac SeumaloWill HernandezBen Powers and Connor McGovern will be available. It is not hard to see a midlevel guard payment being required to sign Risner.

I’ve given it everything I had for four years here. … I put everything out there, whether it was a good game or a bad game,” Risner said. “… I grew up watching this team every single Sunday, so it’s a blessing for me to have played here. I look back and I’m thankful and I’m proud of what I’ve done.”

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