The Denver Broncos' championship window will be open as long as Peyton Manning is the same Peyton Manning we saw last season. The best way to squeeze a few extra years out of the franchise quarterback is to protect him well, and the Broncos have invested heavily in their offensive line to do just that.
Denver, which already franchise tagged left tackle Ryan Clady this offseason, signed guard Louis Vasquez, a very good player who did not come cheap.
Vasquez's deal is worth $23.5 million over four years with $13 million guaranteed, according to USA Today. That's a lot of money for a team with other needs, particularly in the secondary, but supplying Manning with an elite supporting cast is Denver's biggest priority.
Vasquez started 54 games for the Chargers over his first four NFL seasons, allowing just 11 sacks with one penalty, according to STATS, Inc. At 335 pounds, he also adds power to a running game that had some good moments last season but could stand some improvement. The move also takes a bite out of division rival San Diego.
We've agreed to terms on a contract with guard Louis Vasquez. He is a big, powerful player who adds a physical presence to our OL.
— John Elway (@johnelway) March 12, 2013
The Broncos might move on from former starting right guard Chris Kuper, a solid player who started just five games last season because of injuries. With Vasquez and Orlando Franklin on the right side, the Broncos have a massive line that should open up holes in the running game. That should take some pressure off Manning, and hopefully the expensive line Denver has will keep the quarterback off his back too.