Latest On Broncos WR Tim Patrick, TE Greg Dulcich

Two of this decade’s most injury-prone players, Tim Patrick and Greg Dulcich are attempting to shake off two seasons sidetracked by maladies. In Patrick’s case, injuries kept him off the field throughout the Broncos’ Russell Wilson era.

Patrick suffered season-nullifying injuries during the Broncos’ past two training camps, going down with a torn ACL in 2022 and an Achilles tear last summer. Patrick was expected to be a key possession receiver for Wilson, but with the team bailing — at a historic cost — on the QB’s extension it authorized in 2022, the 6-foot-4 target now looms as a wild card of sorts for a regrouping Denver squad.

[RELATED: Latest On Broncos, WR Courtland Sutton]

The Broncos’ OTA workouts featured Patrick running routes, as The Athletic’s Nick Kosmider observes. The former UDFA is once again on track to be part of the Broncos’ receiving corps, but the past two years have certainly sidetracked the ex-Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater target’s career. Denver extended Patrick on a three-year, $30MM deal during the 2021 season. Despite Patrick being unable to play a down on that contract, the now-Sean Payton-fronted franchise retained him — but on a substantial pay cut. The 30-year-old wideout is now tied to a $1.63MM deal that contains no guarantees.

A surehanded target during the seasons before the Wilson trade, Patrick posted 742- and 734-yard showings in 2020 and ’21 and totaled 11 touchdowns. As injuries kept the likes of Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and former second-rounder KJ Hamler off the field for extended stretches, Patrick provided a key insurance piece. The 2021 contract signified the team viewed him as a starter. With the Broncos adding Marvin Mims, Josh Reynolds and Troy Franklin over the past two offseasons, Patrick’s place is now uncertain. Though, the 2017 free agency addition could provide good value if he returns to form.

Dulcich’s injury pattern — and the Broncos’ limited tight end corps — may make his participation worth monitoring. Chronic hamstring trouble forced the 2022 third-round pick into an alarming four IR trips in two seasons. Dulcich last played in Week 6 of the 2023 season, reinjuring his hamstring shortly after being activated from IR. The Broncos designated the UCLA alum for return down the stretch last year but did not activate him; they are now bringing him along slowly.

The Broncos’ first OTA sessions featured Dulcich working on a side field. Denver’s top receiving tight end continues to see specialists about his hamstring trouble, and while Payton confirmed full participation is likely at some point this offseason, the team is not unleashing him for full-speed work still.

He’s close. Man, he’s had all the work done; we’re encouraged,” Payton said, via the Denver Post’s Parker Gabriel. “I think you’ll see him sooner than later and we want to be smart. His rehab has gone well and it’s not going to be that we don’t see him until training camp.”

Dulcich played only 32 offensive snaps last season, suffering injuries in both contests he played. A woeful 2022 season for the Broncos’ offense did double as a somewhat promising slate for Dulcich, who totaled 411 receiving yards in 10 games. Of course, he also needed two IR trips due to hamstring issues as a rookie. It is safe to say Dulcich’s availability this season will determine if he has a viable path to TE1 work in the NFL.

Rumored to be wanting help at tight end this offseason, the Broncos stood down in both free agency and the draft. The team re-signed ex-Saints draftee Adam Trautman and saw former UDFA Lucas Krull make some late-season contributions. But Dulcich is the team’s top receiving tight end, barring a late addition.

It is interesting the Broncos, as Bo Nix arrives, have not added a more reliable piece at the position. The inaction represents good news for Dulcich, who looks to have a clear route back to regular work if he can stay healthy.

View Comments (0)