5:55pm: Patrick has indeed suffered a complete tear of the Achilles, per Mike Klis of 9News in Denver (via Twitter). The injury will knock Patrick out for the entire 2023 campaign.
1:50pm: Tim Patrick was expected to play a significant role in the Broncos’ offense this year after missing all of last season. Instead, the veteran wideout appears to have suffered another massive injury.
The 29-year-old is believed to have suffered a torn Achilles, head coach Sean Payton said on Monday (Twitter link via NFL Network’s James Palmer). If that does turn out to be the case, it will mark a crushing blow for Patrick and the second consecutive year in which he loses a campaign to a major injury.
The former UDFA tore his ACL almost exactly one year ago, and he was sidelined for the 2022 season as a result. That injury occurred in his right leg, while this latest one affects his left. Patrick was carted off the field during practice, and he was seen on crutches when entering the locker room. At a minimum, he could be facing another extended absence to start the year, which would further delay his attempt to return to his pre-injury form.
Patrick put up almost identical statlines in 2020 and 2021, averaging 52 catches and 738 yards per season. He scored 11 touchdowns over that span, making him a full-time starter alongside Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. Each of the latter two were mentioned frequently in trade talks this offseason, but the team has remained insistent that they will not be moved. Missing Patrick for, potentially, another full season would add to Jeudy and Sutton’s workloads in a passing attack which desperately needs improvement from last year.
The Broncos made a slight trade up the board to select Marvin Mims with their top pick in this year’s draft, giving them another young pass-catcher. Missing Patrick – along with KJ Hamler, who has battled injuries throughout his career and is currently on the NFI list – for any extended stretch could thrust Mims into an immediate starting role. Growing pains during his rookie season could hinder the effectiveness of Denver’s offense during Sean Payton‘s first year at the helm.
Further evaluation will be needed to determine if Patrick has been faced with another lengthy rehab process. If that does turn out to be the case, his future with the team could be put in doubt. The Utah product is due $5.5MM in guaranteed money this season, but none of his compensation in 2024 (the final year of his deal) is guaranteed. Patrick is set to count for just over $11MM in cap space this year, though an IR stay would obviously change the Broncos’ financial outlook at the receiver spot.