Is the Graham Glasgow restructure bad news for Dalton Risner?

Jan 11, 2022, 3:38 PM
Dalton Risner...
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

While the Broncos are busy conducting a comprehensive search for the next head coach, George Paton isn’t letting other matters fall through the cracks. On Tuesday, it was announced that the general manager had restructured the contract of a veteran along the offensive line.

This is somewhat surprising, as most people thought the soon-to-be-30-year-old guard would be a salary cap casualty. After signing a four-year, $44-million deal with the Broncos prior to the 2020 season, Glasgow has been a big number on the Broncos books. So getting out from under that deal appeared like a priority.

It was. Just not in the way many people thought.

Given that the Broncos have two young players who’ve seen time at right guard when Glasgow was injured, conventional wisdom suggested the Denver would go younger at that position. Instead, they decided to restructure the contract.

This begs one question: Who is this bad news for?

Most people would think it means that the Broncos aren’t as high on Quinn Meinerz or Netane Muti as previously thought. Given some of the whiffs (think Meinerz missing a key block that ended Denver’s 20-play drive in Kansas City without any points on the board), that stands to reason. But in reality, the team’s interior offensive line is a bit of musical chairs.

A lot of the players in the mix can play both guard positions, as well as center. So there are really five guys for three starting jobs.

That’s Glasgow, Muti and Meinerz. It’s also Lloyd Cushenberry, the center that just finished his second season. And it’s also Dalton Risner.

The Broncos starting left guard since the day he arrived as second-round pick in 2019, Risner hasn’t progressed in the way many thought he would. John Elway once predicted multiple Pro Bowls for the pride of Wiggins, Colo.

It hasn’t panned out. Despite the tutelage of Mike Munchak – arguably the best offensive line coach in the NFL and a Hall of Fame guard during his playing days – Risner has seemingly regressed. His best season was probably his rookie campaign.

He’s set to enter the fourth and final year of his contract, which means the Broncos are going to have to make a financial decision. Perhaps they’re more comfortable with the relatively inexpensive options of Muti, Meinerz and now Glasgow after the 2023 season. Or at the very least, maybe they want to give themselves options when that decision time arises.

Risner is an extremely popular player. His the local hero who is great in the community. He’s easy to root for, in every possible way.

But the reality is that he’s just an okay player. At this point in his career, he’s average.

Could he get better? Absolutely. But much like the player who lines up to his left, Garett Bolles, he’s now in prove-it mode.

What once seemed like a forgone conclusion is now very much up in the air. If Dalton Risner wants to have a long career with the Broncos, one that earns him millions, he’s going to have to play much, much better.


(Graphic by Johnny Hart/Bonneville Denver)...
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Is the Graham Glasgow restructure bad news for Dalton Risner?