The Broncos continue to experience persistent trouble keeping their wide receivers healthy. Weeks after another Tim Patrick season-ending injury, Jerry Jeudy is now in jeopardy of beginning the regular season on the inactive list.
A hamstring injury required Jeudy to be transported off the Broncos’ practice field on a cart Thursday, and while 9News’ Mike Klis notes the cart was precautionary, an MRI confirmed Jeudy’s malady is significant. Denver’s top receiver is expected to miss several weeks, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero (on Twitter).
This is on-brand for the 2020s Broncos, who used a few first- and second-round picks on wideouts but have been unable to either keep them on the field together. Patrick, who suffered a torn ACL during training camp last year and a torn Achilles earlier this month, will exit this season having missed 34 consecutive games. KJ Hamler, who has battled injuries throughout his career, is off the roster — perhaps temporarily — due to a heart condition. Courtland Sutton missed 14 games in 2020 due to an ACL tear.
Jeudy, 24, has been the healthiest of this receiving group. His only extended absence came early during the 2021 season, when he sustained a high ankle sprain. The 2020 first-round pick missed seven games that season and ended the campaign without a touchdown. Despite Denver’s widespread offensive struggles last season, Jeudy finished with a career-high 972 receiving yards and six TDs. The elusive Alabama product produced two 100-yard games in his final three last season and scored three TDs in a December loss to the Chiefs. The Broncos picked up Jeudy’s $12.99MM fifth-year option in May.
The regular season being 2 1/2 weeks away puts the Broncos in a time crunch with Jeudy. Sutton and second-round rookie Marvin Mims represent the team’s top two healthy wideouts. Mims missed time earlier in camp due to a hamstring malady as well. Denver has two of Sean Payton‘s former Saints charges — Marquez Callaway and Lil’Jordan Humphrey — along with regular backup Kendall Hinton. The team lost Jalen Virgil to a meniscus injury during its second preseason game, leading him to IR.
Denver dangled Jeudy in trades this offseason but held a high price, asking for a first-rounder. The team asked for a second-rounder to move Sutton, and the Ravens engaged in negotiations prior to signing Odell Beckham Jr. Payton soon said both players were in his 2023 plans. These two represent the Broncos’ top receivers, and with Patrick out, it is unlikely either is moved. Despite Jeudy’s injury being classified as significant, it would surprise if the Broncos used an in-season IR spot here. That would sideline Jeudy for the season’s first four games. Denver keeping its top pass catcher on the 53-man roster and going week to week would be the likelier scenario.