DENVER -- Upgrading the offensive line remains a top priority in the Broncos' reboot under new coach Vance Joseph.
While there will be changes upfront in personnel and in tweaks to the blocking scheme, the Broncos possess a top performer who can anchor the line. Center Matt Paradis, a 2016 Pro Bowl alternate, underwent his second hip operation this offseason as he attempts to correct issues that prevented him practicing a year ago.
"Glad to have these surgeries over with so I can truly start getting better," Paradis told Denver7.
Paradis had his left hip repaired Tuesday, five weeks after a fix on his right hip. The former Boise State walk-on turned star suffered hip issues in college and dealt with pain after starting every game in 2016. However, it became so bad a year ago that Paradis barely practiced, which he admitted created issues with timing and continuity.
Dr. Marc Philippon of The Steadman Cinic in Vail performed both surgeries. He is considered one of the top specialists in the world. Paradis has played every offensive snap -- 2,180 -- the past two seasons. He admitted no timetable has been set for his recovery, though he remains optimistic about being ready when the season opens.
"I am feeling good. There's nothing concrete yet. It just kind of depends on how everything goes," Paradis said.
A healthy Paradis provides a foundation for an offensive line in flux. The Broncos are looking to upgrade at the tackle position with the possibility they will move on from starters Russell Okung and Donald Stephenson. Denver must make a decision by March 8 -- prior to the first day of the league year -- on whether to exercise a four-year, $48-million option on Okung's deal. That seems unlikely, and given the lack of tackles on the market, there would be little motivation for Okung to agree to a restructured contract for less money.
The free agent list added a tackle on Thursday as Jacksonville parted ways with Kelvin Beachum, who started 15 games a year ago. The Dolphins considered releasing tackle Branden Albert, but are now considering trading the veteran, according to the Associated Press. Albert struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness last season.
Andrew Whitworth of the Bengals is considered the best free agent tackle available. Stephenson's $4 million salary this season guarantees on March 13. If the Broncos cut Stephenson, they will absorb a $2 million cap hit.
Denver allowed 40 sacks last season, tied for ninth worst, and ranked 27th in yards rushing per game (92.8).