Broncos’ center is heading to free agency
We touched on the center market recently when we profiled Mitch Morse of the Kansas City Chiefs as a potential free agent target for the New York Giants. The player generally considered the top center likely to hit the open market is Matt Paradis of the Denver Broncos. Today, let’s talk about Paradis.
Height: 6-foot-3 | Weight: 300
Pro Football Focus: Overall grade (79.0) | Pass blocking (78.6) | Run blocking (77.4) | Pressure allowed (1 sack, 5 total pressures in 213 pass-blocking snaps)
Prior to breaking his leg and landing the Injured Reserve, Denver Broncos center Matt Paradis was playing at extremely high level. He anchored one of the best run-blocking offensive lines in the NFL and was far from a liability in pass protection. If healthy, the 29-year-old Paradis can fill in for any offensive line as a key contributing starter in 2019 and beyond.
Paradis isn’t the long-term, blockbuster free agent addition many teams seek out in free agency, but he offers value to an already competitive NFL team in need of an upgrade at center.
A 2016 sixth-round pick by the Broncos, Paradis spent 2014 on the team’s practice squad. He has been their starting center ever since, and didn’t miss a game until a fractured fibula cost him the final five games of 2018. The Broncos would apparently like Paradis back, but the expectation is that he will test the market.
Paradis was a restricted free agent prior to the 2018 season and spent the year playing with Denver on a $2.914 million restricted free agent tender. At 300 pounds, he is smaller than the 315-pound Jon Halapio, who opened the season as the Giants’ starting center last season. He is, however, a player with 57 NFL starts to his credit.
Judging by PFF scores — which are not, of course, gospel — run-blocking has never been an issue. Paradis’ lowest run-blocking grade for a season was an acceptable 67.6 in 2017. His best was 90.0 in 2016.
The Scouting Academy run by former pro scout Dan Hatman is the only place I know where you can get full-blown scouting reports on current NFL players. The Academy publishes reports from its students. Here is a Paradis projection from a former Scouting Academy student:
Overall, starting Center who is a key piece/leader of a run or pass geared offensive line, who you can with through a variety of strong fundamental techniques as well as competitive toughness and mental processing.
The top 10 centers in the league cap-hit wise range from Alex Mack (No. 1 at $11.05 million) to Weston Richburg (No. 10 at $7.835 million). Richburg got a five-year, $47.5 million contract ($28.5 million guaranteed) to leave the Giants and sign with the San Francisco 49ers last offseason.
Best guess is the Giants would have to surpass the Richburg deal to sign Paradis — or Morse, for that matter. Should they be willing to play in that financial ballpark for a center? If so, is Paradis the right guy?