Throughout the offseason, we’ll be profiling players who may end up in Denver when all is said and done with NFL Free Agency. The Broncos clearly have plenty of holes to fill before they get back to Super-Bowl form and we’ll be examining a long list of players they may choose to help the franchise do just that.
Although not a household name, guard Kevin Zeitler is one of the best players available on the market once free agency opens on March 9. The University of Wisconsin product has what most other top offensive lineman free agents don’t have: youth. At just 27-years old, once the season starts, Zeitler has the rare combination of age and talent—a former first-round pick—for a position that often goes overlook.
After spending his first five years as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, there has been a growing belief that Zeitler will move to a different team in free agency despite being ranked as the 12th best free agent, including the best offensive lineman, available by Gregg Rosenthal.
There isn’t much not to like about the true power guard from afar, or up close. At 6-foot-4, 320 pounds, the six-year pro uses his size in the run game to enforce his will on defensive lineman. As good as Zeitler is in the run game, he’s just as good in pass protection. After allowing one sack in the season opener in 2016, Zeitler didn’t allow another sack all season.
According to Pro Football Focus, Zeitler graded out as the 82nd best player in the entire NFL for his play in 2016. Along with being one of the best guards in football, Zeitler is also consistent and reliable. Much like Broncos center Matt Paradis, Zeitler didn’t miss a single offensive snap last season and has only missed four games in his five year career.
The former first-round pick has nearly the perfect combination of talent, size and youth to make him very attractive to a multitude of team’s on the open market. Because of this, his price tag is not likely to be cheap.
As a guard, Zeitler could easily command at least $8 million per year on a multi-year contract.
How he fits in Denver
Zeitler could very well be the top offensive player on the Broncos’ board. If Denver were to land him, he would be an immediate starter—likely at right guard since that’s where he played in Cincinnati—for many years to come.
Zeitler would give the Broncos’ offensive line a significant upgrade and pairing him next to Paradis would help solidify the interior of the line for the foreseeable future.