Quinn Meinerz

Broncos G Quinn Meinerz To Miss Time

Last season, a Graham Glasgow injury moved Quinn Meinerz into the Broncos’ starting lineup. The reverse occurred Monday night, when Glasgow came in to replace Denver’s new right guard starter.

More Glasgow starts could be on tap. Meinerz suffered a hamstring injury that is expected to keep him out for what could be a lengthy stretch, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Meinerz, whom Klis adds could miss four games, suffered the injury during the Broncos’ first possession Monday. The Broncos will likely consider an IR move here, though with the possibility Meinerz could return before Week 6, it might also make sense to wait.

The Broncos have considerable experience on their second-string offensive line. In addition to signing Tom Compton and Cameron Fleming, the team rosters Glasgow, who was a full-time starter from 2016-21. Meinerz, however, took over after Glasgow’s midseason injury last year and won the job out of camp.

Denver signed Glasgow to a four-year, $44MM deal in 2020, John Elway‘s final offseason as the team’s GM. The team drafted Meinerz, a third-round pick out of Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater, during George Paton’s first draft in that role. The younger lineman figures to be a key part of the Broncos’ offensive line plans moving forward, being signed through 2024. But Glasgow may well get his job back for the time being.

Seahawks defensive tackle Al Woods helped cause the second of the Broncos’ two goal-line fumbles Monday night, driving Glasgow into Javonte Williams on that play. But the Broncos still should have a quality option in the seventh-year veteran. The former Lions draftee has started 78 career games, including 20 with the Broncos. Following Glasgow’s season-ending broken ankle, the Broncos reworked his contract. Glasgow, 30, is earning $3.1MM in 2022 base salary and counting $6.1MM on Denver’s cap.

Latest On Broncos’ Offensive Line Plans

Pro Football Focus ranked the Broncos’ 2021 offensive line 19th, and while the team will have a different Week 1 right tackle starter for a 10th straight season, Denver made only midlevel moves up front this offseason. That said, the 2022 Broncos should have more depth here.

It is possible four positions are up for grabs, with Garett Bolles entrenched at left tackle. The team’s right tackle competition — which features veteran additions Billy Turner and Tom Compton, along with holdover Calvin Anderson — may produce the only newcomer to block for Russell Wilson, but four starters are vying for three spots inside. Dalton Risner has started at left guard for three seasons, while Lloyd Cushenberry has played every snap at center for the past two. These ex-Day 2 picks might not have total job security, but those spots appear more solidified than Denver’s right guard position.

New OC Justin Outten pointed to a Graham GlasgowQuinn Meinerz competition for the right guard spot, with the loser potentially representing a high-end swingman. Though, Glasgow said (via Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post) he is uncertain if guard or center will be his 2022 position. A two-year starter in Denver after signing a four-year deal in 2020, Glasgow has not yet fully recovered from the broken ankle and ligament tears he suffered last November. Meinerz, a 2021 third-rounder, started nine games as a rookie, most of them coming after Glasgow’s injury.

We want to see where they can fit and their ability to play center and snap the ball as a crucial backup,” Outten said of Glasgow and Meinerz, via the Denver Post’s Kyle Newman. “You want to have that in your back pocket. Those guys will kind of bounce around as you’ll see [in OTAs]. It’s just to see them fit in different spots and direct traffic in playing guard and helping the tackles out as far as the interior [calls].”

Meinerz, who has dropped 10 pounds to better fit Nathaniel Hackett‘s zone-blocking scheme, may have the edge, with 9News’ Mike Klis noting it is possible the Division III product has a route to the starting lineup even if Glasgow reclaims his right guard job. This scenario would put Cushenberry or Risner on notice. Hackett, however, previously gave Meinerz a strong endorsement at right guard. The Broncos also reworked Glasgow’s contract in January, reducing his 2022 base salary from $8.4MM to $3.1MM. That salary is fully guaranteed, with $1.4MM in playing-time incentives available. That incentive package tops $1MM if Glasgow reaches the 70% snap threshold, O’Halloran notes, adding that Glasgow is targeting a return by training camp.

OL Rumors: Fins, Meinerz, Bates, Steelers

Addressing needs at left tackle and left guard, the Dolphins are turning their attention to center. GM Chris Grier plans to bring in competition for incumbent Michael Deiter, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The Dolphins are looking to keep costs down here, Jackson adds, noting they are not currently on the radar for J.C. Tretter or Matt Paradis. Both have been center starters for the past several years but would qualify as replacements for Deiter rather than competition. Given Tretter’s performance in Cleveland, the NFLPA president looms as one of the top free agents available. Miami’s to-be-determined center will join Terron Armstead, Connor Williams, Robert Hunt and either Austin Jackson or Liam Eichenberg on the team’s reconfigured O-line.

Here is the latest from the offensive line ranks:

  • Although the Patriots hosted Bills restricted free agent Ryan Bates, it does not appear they were competing with the Bears for his services. Unlike the Bears, the Pats did not extend Bates an offer sheet and, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com, the team was not overly interested. The Bills ended up matching the offer sheet to retain Bates. The Pats lost both 2021 guard starters — Ted Karras and Shaq Mason — this offseason. While swingman Michael Onwenu stands to take over at one of the positions, it is uncertain who will join he and longtime center David Andrews as the third interior man.
  • Quinn Meinerz did not open last season as a Broncos starter, but the Division III product looks set to do so in 2022. Nathaniel Hackett envisions Meinerz as the team’s starting right guard, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post notes. “The sky is the limit” for Meinerz, said Hackett, who plans to keep Graham Glasgow‘s midseason replacement in the lineup. That leaves Glasgow’s role uncertain. The 2020 UFA addition has been the Broncos’ starting right guard when healthy over the past two seasons, but he played center for 16 games with the 2018 Lions. Broncos center Lloyd Cushenberry has not missed a snap during his initial two NFL seasons, but Pro Football Focus graded the former third-rounder as the team’s worst O-line starter last season.
  • The Steelers signed James Daniels and Mason Cole in free agency. Cole has primarily played center, while Daniels has played the position as a pro as well. Daniels has spent most of his NFL days at guard, and it is possible 2021 Steelers center Kendrick Green becomes the team’s other guard starter. Mike Tomlin is open to moving Green to guard, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic notes (subscription required). A third-round pick last year, Green started 15 games as a rookie. PFF graded him as one of the league’s worst centers. A move to guard, where he spent most of his time at Illinois, could potentially open the door to improvement and threaten Kevin Dotson‘s starting role. Dotson, a 2020 fourth-rounder, opened the season as Pittsburgh’s left guard starter but missed eight games due to injury.
  • Zach Banner‘s Steelers exit stemmed from his 2020 ACL tear remaining a deterrent, Kaboly adds. Banner opened the 2020 season as the Steelers’ starting right tackle but suffered the tear in Week 1. The 6-foot-8 blocker played seven games last season, but Kaboly adds his knee never returned to form.

AFC Draft Notes: Browns, Jaguars, Broncos

Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah had one of the most surprising tumbles of the draft. Widely expected to be a first-rounder, he ended up falling to the Browns with the 52nd overall pick after Cleveland traded up to get him. Apparently, the Browns almost pulled the trigger a round earlier. Cleveland mulled taking him with their first-rounder, the 26th overall pick. “He was definitely under consideration,” exec Paul DePodesta said, via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal.

We certainly didn’t expect him to be there when he was, but we’re fortunate that he was,” GM Andrew Berry added. “There was a lot of pacing going on upstairs once we got to about pick 42, 43, 44, just trying to figure out if there was a way we could make it happen,” DePodesta explained of the trade up. The Browns needed linebacker help, so it was the perfect situation. Not only was Owusu-Koramoah the ACC Defensive Player of the Year last season, he was also a unanimous All-American.

Here’s more fallout from this weekend’s draft in the AFC:

  • The Jaguars reunited Trevor Lawrence with his college running back by drafting Travis Etienne 25th overall, but it sounds like they would’ve preferred someone else. On Friday head coach Urban Meyer said there was a player who “broke our heart” that they couldn’t draft, and on Saturday he revealed who that was. The team was hoping to pick Florida receiver Kadarius Toney, Meyer said, via John Shipley of Jaguar Report (Twitter link). It’s rare for a coach or GM to openly say something like that, so they must’ve really wanted him. Meyer called the Florida star a “human highlight reel,” and highlighted his relationship with current Gators coach Dan Mullen as to how he’d gotten close to Toney. Unfortunately for Meyer, the Giants nabbed Toney at 20th overall.
  • The Broncos drafted a small school prospect a lot of fans were high on when they took Quinn Meinerz from Wisconsin-Whitewater in the third-round. Meinerz played guard in college, but it looks like Denver is going to switch him to the pivot for pro development. Meinerz will start out playing center, head coach Vic Fangio said, via Mike Klis of Denver 9 News (Twitter link). As Klis points out, he’ll be behind 2020 third-rounder Lloyd Cushenberry on the depth chart.

Dolphins Lose $8MM In Cap Space

Although the Dolphins have not signed a single player to a standard 2021 contract this month, the club has still lost about $8MM in cap space, as Barry Jackson and Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald report. That’s because a few players hit incentives in their contracts that increased their 2021 cap charges.

For instance, WR DeVante Parker‘s 2021 cap number increased from $11MM to $12MM, while safety Eric Rowe‘s number grew from $5.05MM to $6.05MM. As such, Miami now has $25.4MM of cap space, assuming the cap floor of $180MM does not increase.

That’s not an insignificant amount of wiggle room, but the Dolphins do have a number of high-value draft picks, including the Nos. 3 and 18 overall selections and two second-round choices. If they keep all of those picks, Miami would need to allocate about $11.9MM for its draft class, per Jackson and Beasley. That doesn’t leave a ton of space for the team to conduct the rest of its offseason business.

After all, the ‘Fins will need to sign a wide receiver, a backup QB, and several linebackers, and they will also need to re-sign C Ted Karras or acquire a new center (though Jackson and Beasley say the club is high on Wisconsin-Whitewater OL Quinn Meinerz, Miami is not going to deploy a D-III rookie as its starting pivot).

The Dolphins do have plenty of options to create additional room, including cutting safety Bobby McCain or restructuring the contract of linebacker Kyle Van Noy. And the situation would be completely altered if the club were to trade for Texans QB Deshaun Watson, which appears to be a legitimate possibility.