Brett Rypien

Latest On Broncos’ QB Situation

The Broncos traded for veteran QB Joe Flacco in February with the clear intention of having him serve as their starting signal-caller for at least the 2019 season. But given the state of Denver’s quarterback situation since Peyton Manning retired, GM John Elway hedged his bets in a big way, drafting talented but raw prospect Drew Lock in the second round of this year’s draft and handing a $136K guarantee to UDFA Brett Rypien.

Mike Klis of 9News.com examined the status of the Broncos’ QB depth chart as we inch closer to training camp, and to no one’s surprise, Flacco is the unquestioned starter. His performance during early Broncos practices this year made Elway comfortable enough to eschew a QB prospect in the first round of the draft, and despite some speculation that Lock could push Flacco for the starting job at some point in 2019, Klis says the long-time Raven will be Denver’s one and only quarterback this season, provided he stays healthy. The fact that Flacco has looked his best when playing in an offense similar to the one that new OC Rich Scangarello runs will certainly help his cause, and he built on his strong work early in the offseason by continuing to play well throughout OTAs and minicamp.

Klis notes that Lock has shown flashes of his potential, but his decision-making and ability to read defenses still need a great deal of refinement, and the Missouri product will have a legitimate battle with Kevin Hogan for the club’s backup job. Hogan has started just one game in his professional career, but he apparently showed enough in practice in 2018 for Denver to re-sign him this offseason. However, if Lock wins the No. 2 spot, then Hogan will likely be cut, with the third-string job going to Rypien. If Lock struggles and cedes the backup role to Hogan, then Rypien may be forced onto the practice squad, where he could be poached by another team.

The AFC West looks as if it will be a highly-competitive division in 2019, and Denver will not have an easy road back to the playoffs after a three-year absence. But if Lock shows significant improvement and can become a real candidate to start in 2020, that would be a decent consolation prize.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Notes: Jones, Raiders, Broncos

The Chiefs entered the offseason with two major extensions on tap, but considering Tyreek Hill‘s situation, that number has almost certainly dwindled to one. And Chris Jones looks to be staying away from the team for the time being. Jones did not show for the Chiefs’ voluntary workouts this week, Terez Paylor of Yahoo.com reports. While this may not be contract-related, the now-extension-eligible interior defender may be sending an early message to his team. The Chiefs just gave trade acquisition Frank Clark a massive extension, and despite Clark’s presence as the Seahawks’ top pass rusher last season, Jones outperformed him with 15.5 sacks — far and away the most in Chiefs single-season history for an inside defender. Considering Fletcher Cox received $17.1MM per year after a 9.5-sack season, and on a $155MM cap in 2016, Jones’ representation will surely argue the Pro Bowl snub deserves to be the highest-paid non-Aaron Donald interior lineman in the game.

Here is the latest from the AFC West, shifting to a lineman that already received a massive contract:

  • Although the Raiders gave Trent Brown the biggest contract in tackle history, they plan to use him at right tackle. Jon Gruden confirmed (via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo, on Twitter) Kolton Miller will stay at left tackle and Brown, who signed a $16.5MM-AAV deal in March, will return to the right-edge spot he occupied in San Francisco. The Patriots used Brown at left tackle, and he played a key role in their championship push in the playoffs. However, this may be geared toward the Raiders’ competition. Von Miller consistently rushes against right tackles, as does Joey Bosa. It is possible Clark will too, though that has yet to be determined. Nevertheless, Brown now easily usurps Denver’s Ja’Wuan James ($12.75MM per year) as the NFL’s highest-paid right tackle.
  • Mike Mayock identified a new key presence in his scouting department. Cowboys west coast area scout Jim Abrams will become the Raiders’ new college scouting director, Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio and ESPN.com’s Todd Archer report (Twitter links). Abrams worked with Gruden during part of the Raiders HC’s Buccaneers tenure and has nearly 30 years of NFL experience.
  • The Broncos did use one of their six draft choices on a wide receiver, waiting until Round 6 to do so (Juwann Winfree), but did not add any notable wideouts in free agency. They are counting on Emmanuel Sanders to return from his Achilles injury. Sanders made another key step in his rehab recently, taking to Instagram to show his first on-field sprint following his December injury. Sanders, 32, is entering the final year of his contract.
  • While the Broncos did take a quarterback in the second round, they appear to have their eyes on another developmental project at the position. Their UDFA deal with Brett Rypien comes with a $146K base salary guarantee and a $10K signing bonus, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. This virtually assures the Boise State product and nephew of former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien of making Denver’s practice squad, with 9News’ Mike Klis reporting (on Twitter) he will receive $136K if he is part of the Broncos’ taxi unit. That is well north of most P-squad salaries. Rypien’s guarantee represents the largest of John Elway‘s nine-year tenure, per Klis (on Twitter). That said, Joe Flacco, Drew Lock and Kevin Hogan remain likely to be the quarterbacks on Denver’s 53-man roster. The Broncos may have to hope no team claims Rypien if and when he is waived after the preseason.

Broncos Sign 17 UDFAs

The Broncos UDFA list is up to 17 players, and it now officially includes quarterback Brett Rypien, whom the club agreed to sign several days ago. Today, Denver waived Garrett Grayson to make room for Rypien. Here’s the updated list (Mike Klis of 9News.com passes along the signing bonuses for all of the players for whom that information is available).

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.

Broncos To Sign QB Brett Rypien

The Broncos are set to sign quarterback Brett Rypien, according to Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic (on Twitter). The Boise State product went undrafted last week, but there was a ripe market for his services. 

The Broncos are giving Rypien a “six-figure guarantee,” according to Jhabvala, which would give him one of the most lucrative signing bonuses of any UDFA.

With the signing, the Broncos’ quarterback room just got a bit more crowded. Already, Joe Flacco may be feeling some heat from second-round pick Drew Lock, and the club also has journeymen Kevin Hogan and Garrett Grayson on the depth chart.

Rypien completed 67.3% of his passes for 3,705 yards in his final collegiate season. He also threw for 30 touchdowns against just seven interceptions.

Rypien has been lauded for his intangibles, but many NFL evaluators wonder if he has the arm to compete at the NFL level. His 9-inch hand measurement at the combine also didn’t do him any favors.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.