DENVER — John Elway passed on trading for Trent Williams.

He passed on signing Jason Peters, for now.

He passed on drafting an offensive tackle in the first round on Thursday night.

He passed on picking a tackle in the second round on Friday night, despite many quality options on the table.

And, he continued to ignore the position with every single one of his three third-round picks.

The offseason couldn’t have been going better for Garett Bolles. That was until after the final pick of the third round on Friday night.

“Garett Bolles is going to compete like everybody else,” John Elway said on Friday night when asked if Bolles will be the Broncos’ starting left tackle in 2020. “Garett’s going to compete for a job like everybody else on the football team. The bottom line is Eli Wilkinson will be back. They’re going to compete for jobs like everybody else.”

The plan is never to have former first-round picks competing for their tarting job four years into their NFL career. Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors are the only competition that should be happening at that point in their career.

But after leading the league in holding penalties last season, Bolles has to focus on keeping his starting job before he can focus on NFL honors.

While Denver didn’t sign a left tackle to compete with Bolles, they did place a second-round tender on Elijah Wilkinson. The former undrafted versatile lineman will now compete with Bolles for one of the most important positions on the field — protecting Drew Lock’s blindside.

“I think it’s our job on the personnel side to give Vic and his staff the best players we can to create that competition,” Elway said. “That’s what our job is to do on the personnel side.”

In responding to whether or not Bolles will be the starting left tackle, Elway threw in a not-so-hidden message to Garett and everyone else on his team.

“Those who don’t want to compete—you know what—they can go somewhere else,” Elway stated bluntly. “We’re all about the competition and the best player is going to play.”

The first-round label next to Bolles’ name won’t win him the job, according to the head boss. Additionally, the team has not made a decision on whether or not to exercise Bolles’ fifth-year option.

“We’ll figure that out when we get back and kind of regroup and start to look back at the draft, look how things went,” Elway said, explaining how that decision won’t come until after the draft. “Then look at what we’re going to do going forward.”

The team has until May 3 to decide whether they want to extend the fifth-year option to their former first-round tackle.

Bringing in a big-time tackle this offseason would have made the writing on the wall extremely clear for Bolles’ future in Denver. Since Elway didn’t go that way, Bolles’ future will be decided on the field.


Zac Stevens was born and raised in Denver, went to the University of Denver and now covers the Denver Broncos. After graduating Summa Cum Laude from DU in 2014, Zac worked for the Cleveland Browns as a remote scout. He then jumped straight into the journalism industry at the beginning of 2016 covering the reigning world-champion Broncos and joined DNVR soon after. Catch him on Twitter @ZacStevensDNVR and daily on the DNVR Broncos podcast as the co-host.