The highest-paid interior lineman in Broncos history will not be available for the 2018 team’s final 10 games. The fears surrounding a possible Achilles’ tendon tear for Ronald Leary turned out to be justified.
Leary will miss the rest of the season, Vance Joseph confirmed Monday. The veteran guard went down midway through the Broncos’ 23-20 loss to the Rams on Sunday. Max Garcia and Connor McGovern had been rotating at right guard on Sunday; that duo will now comprise Denver’s starting guards.
Signed to a four-year deal worth $36MM, Leary will end a second straight season on IR. He missed the final five games of the 2017 season because of a back injury. Leary’s knees had caused him issues in the past, leading to his undrafted status and most recently requiring an arthroscopic procedure this offseason. But he returned and started Denver’s first six games and delivered quality work for a Broncos team that, despite its four-game skid, enjoyed consistent success on the ground.
The Broncos’ rushing attack figures to sustain a hit with Leary out, which will further diminish their chances of avoiding another lost season. Leary hasn’t played 16 games in a season since 2013.
Leary’s status for 2019 may now be tenuous because of another injury. He will turn 30 next year, and his contract calls for $9.375MM cap number. The Broncos would be tagged with only $1.75MM in dead money by shedding it. Garcia is a free agent after this season, while McGovern is under contract through 2019.
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