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What earned former Utah left tackle Garett Bolles a 4-year contract extension with Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos offensive tackle Garett Bolles (72) looks on against the Miami Dolphins during an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Denver.
Jack Dempsey, Associated Press

The Denver Broncos were so impressed with Garett Bolles’ breakout 2020 season, they rewarded the former first-round pick with a long-term deal.

Bolles — who was set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season, with Denver not exercising the fifth-year option on his rookie deal — signed a four-year contract extension on Saturday, keeping him with the Broncos through the 2023 season.

The four-year contract is worth $68 million, according to the Denver Post, and the $17 million average puts him among the top four highest-paid left tackles in the NFL.

The fourth-year pro who has started every game at left tackle for Denver since he was the team’s first-round draft pick in 2017 (20th overall) has enjoyed a breakout season this year. Bolles, who also played at Snow College and Westlake High, hasn’t allowed a sack all season and is rated Pro Football Focus’ top-ranked tackle in 2020.

“I’ve had rocky years here and my goal is just to be a consistent player that (President of Football Operations/General Manager) Mr. (John) Elway and this organization can count on for many years,” Bolles told the team website earlier this week. “I want to be here for a long time — I love the city, I love this fan base, my teammates, I love everything about (it) here, and I just want to win.”

Broncos head coach Van Fangio credited the 6-foot-5, 299-pound Bolles with having a strong offseason as to why he’s shown improvement in his fourth season.

“He stuck to it, he didn’t let the outside noise, which at times was appropriate, stop his determination to keep improving,” Fangio told the team website. “I think he’s finally being rewarded for that approach. He was a guy that came out with a limited background and I knew it was going to take him time.”