Titans tight end MyCole Pruitt suffered a fractured and dislocated ankle during today’s game against against the Dolphins (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). Now set for surgery, Pruitt will surely be out for the rest of the season, including the playoffs.
Pruitt, 29, had 14 catches for 145 yards and three touchdowns heading into today’s game. The Titans went on to win 34-3, but they’ve lost an essential run blocker heading into the postseason.
The Titans will still have veteran Geoff Swaim and Anthony Firkser on the roster and they have Austin Forton the practice squad. Tennessee uses multiple tight end sets pretty frequently to leverage their rushing attack and they’ve utilized all three of their tight ends pretty equally with all three getting their fair share of snaps. Through Week 16, Swaim led the group playing 58.6% of the offensive snaps, Pruitt followed with 44.4%, and Firkser was on the field for 33.4%. None are really receiving threats, so the two remaining tight ends will continue to fill their role and Tennessee will hope a player like Fort can step up in heavy packages or when called upon to give his teammates a breather.
As for Pruitt, the hope is that the severity of the injury is low and the recovery from the surgery is quick as he heads into the offseason as a free agent. On a lucky note, Swaim and Firkser are also in contract years, so if the Titans like their trio of tight ends, it may be an easy decision to extend any combination of the three.
The Rypien cut will leave the Broncos with two active-roster QBs — Drew Lock and Jeff Driskel — while the Fumagalli and Fort decisions mean Jake Butt made Denver’s active roster. Viewed as a long shot to do so after the team made multiple tight end additions this offseason, Butt made it through camp healthy to start his contract year. The former Michigan standout has suffered three ACL tears in his career.
Denver drafting three wideouts made matters difficult for their lesser-known holdovers, but Winfree — a 2019 sixth-rounder — profiles as a practice squad candidate. The Broncos will carry rookie seventh-rounder Tyrie Cleveland onto their active roster.
Bausby has bounced around the league for several years now, and the former Division II standout joined Mike Purcell in vaulting from the Alliance of American Football to a Broncos role last year. But the team kept UDFA Essang Bassey over Bausby this year.
But Samuel’s timetable may not be quite that long. Maiocco acknowledges that workout videos posted by the talented second-year pass catcher suggest he could return sooner, and head coach Kyle Shanahan is still hoping for a Week 1 return.
“Deebo’s going to do everything he can to be in shape, but it’s hard to be in football shape until you can play football,” Shanahan said (via Keiana Martin of the team’s official website). “So, how many practices do we get him in here before Arizona? That’s going to all go into play. I’m hoping for Week 1, but not sure yet. It’s still too early.”
Now for a quick roundup of several more West division items:
In addition to the Austin and Nelson signings, the 49ers recently took a flier on TE Jordan Reed. As Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets, Reed’s one-year pact with San Francisco includes a $1.05MM base salary with up to $750K in playing time incentives.
Chiefs CB Alex Brown suffered a torn ACL in Friday’s practice, as Brown himself noted on Instagram (via Nate Taylor of The Athletic on Twitter). Brown, a 2019 UDFA, spent time with the 49ers, Eagles, and Jets last summer before signing with KC’s practice squad. He got called up to the active roster in December and served as a special teams contributor down the stretch of the regular season and throughout the club’s Super Bowl run.
Broncos TE Austin Fort is having an arthroscopic procedure on his knee and will miss some time, as Mike Klis of 9News.com tweets. It’s more tough luck for Fort, a 2019 UDFA who was impressing in training camp for Denver last summer before sustaining a season-ending ACL tear.
Broncos’ undrafted free agent tight end Austin Fort suffered a torn ACL in Thursday night’s preseason game against the Seahawks, a source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Of course, it’s a season ending injury, so Fort will have to wait until at least 2020 to make his true NFL debut.
Prior to the injury, Fort was impressing in training camp and was pushing hard for playing time on the roster. The Wyoming product was even getting time as a first-stringer in practice due to injuries.
Fort suffered the ACL tear after catching a beautiful 29-yard pass from fellow rookie Drew Lock. He went down quickly without contact and doctors confirmed the team’s worst fears soon after.
The Broncos have been consistent in identifying UDFA talent during John Elway‘s tenure, with Chris Harris becoming a perennial Pro Bowler and C.J. Anderson and Phillip Lindsay each making the Pro Bowl during their initial years as starters.
Lindsay’s late-season injury may create a chance for Jackson, who rushed for 1,385 yards and 12 touchdowns last season at the Division II school. The 5-foot-7 ball carrier will give the Broncos a two-Devontae running back room, with Devontae Booker entering a contract year.
Denver lost two offensive linemen in free agency and only drafted one, Dalton Risner, pointing to an opportunity for its quartet of UDFA blockers.