DENVER -- The vacancy sign flashing above the Broncos' left tackle position creates options.
King Dunlap, released by the San Diego Chargers, is among the group. Dunlap played for new Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy in San Diego the past four seasons. The Chargers released him when they signed former maligned Denver left tackle Russell Okung to a $53 million contract. Dunlap boasted a $5.75 million this season, but his contract was not guaranteed and he had a $500,000 roster bonus due last week that triggered his release.
Dunlap is among those on the Broncos' radar in free agency, though they are casting a wide net given their 10 draft picks and the possibility another team might consider a trade as the owners meetings and draft approach. Dunlap is impossible to miss. A starter in his fourth season with the Eagles before moving on to the Chargers as a free agent, Dunlap stands 6-foot-9 and weighs 330 pounds.
Concern about the 31-year-old Dunlap could center on injuries. He missed 13 games the past two seasons due to multiple leg injuries and a concussion. He was also arrested in February in Nashville, Tenn., for allegedly violating a protection order.
Dunlap's height is considered advantageous in pass protection, but it can leave him vulnerable at times in the running game. A former NFL tackle described Dunlap this way to Denver7, "He can get mismatched at times once or twice a year in both run and pass enough to make you forget he played well most of the season. In reality, his overall performance is good enough."
Pro Football Focus ranked Dunlap the 53rd best tackle last season, centering on issues in pass protection. Again, Dunlap ranks among several possibilities. General manager John Elway continues to exercise patience.
"It's still open [at left tackle]. We're not done," Elway said Monday. "[Tackle] Menelik Watson has played some left tackle. We're going to take a peek at [Donald] Stephenson there. We feel like we've got some different options. We're not done yet. Last time I heard, we don't go to camp until July. We don't have that fixed just yet. But we'll figure out how to get that done."
The Broncos own the 20th pick in the draft. Most mocks have them selecting a left tackle, either Wisconsin's Ryan Ramczyk, who has three months of recovery remaining following hip surgery, or Utah's Garett Bolles, who has played only one season of Division I football.