Montgomery to get first look as starting C

April, 3, 2014
Apr 3
8:00
AM ET
As they look at their most recent arrival as well as review the combinations they will try in the offensive line when their offseason work gets underway, it’s clear the Denver Broncos see Will Montgomery as a potential starter at center.

The Broncos added Montgomery to their list of free-agent acquisitions Tuesday and his arrival does give them more options once their organized team activities (OTAs) begin as they try to replace Zane Beadles, who signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency.

But Montgomery, who has played both guard spots and center in his career, is now expected to get the initial look at center. If the Broncos like what they see, and Montgomery put plenty on video for them to look at having started every game over the last three seasons for the Washington Redskins, they will simply have to decide what to do at guard.

The way head coach John Fox has outlined the plan is the Broncos will play “the best five’’ in the offensive line. If Montgomery were the center, the Broncos would be left with, at least with the current roster, the decision to move Manny Ramirez into the left guard spot or move Orlando Franklin there from right tackle and play Chris Clark at right tackle.

Fox has also said the Broncos will “work a million combinations’’ in the offensive line during offseason workouts and perhaps training camp before making the decisions. But quarterback Peyton Manning is known to want as much continuity as possible as early on in the offseason workouts. Last season the Broncos moved Ramirez to center early in the offseason workouts and left him there.

Ramirez went on to start every game this past season at center. But the Broncos’ pro personnel department sees Montgomery as a potential upgrade at center.

Montgomery had been released by the Redskins just after free agency opened last month, a move the team made to save $1.93 million against the salary cap. The Redskins were also looking to get more physical on the inside, having played with zone-run scheme under former coach Mike Shanahan, which put a premium on movement skills rather than man-on-man power.

Jeff Legwold

ESPN Denver Broncos reporter

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