Brett Rypien

Broncos To Start Brett Rypien Vs. Jets

In what will seemingly become an increasingly difficult sell as a nationally televised game, Thursday’s Broncos-Jets clash will include another different Denver quarterback. The matchup between the winless teams will feature Brett Rypien calling signals for the Broncos, Vic Fangio confirmed Tuesday.

Rypien, who replaced Jeff Driskel in the Broncos’ Week 3 loss to the Buccaneers, will become Denver’s ninth starting quarterback since Peyton Manning‘s retirement. Fangio said Driskel may see time against the Jets, per Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter), but the Broncos are trying one of their other backups while Drew Lock continues his rehab effort.

Since Manning’s retirement, the Broncos have used Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, Brandon Allen, Lock and Driskel as starters — the most in the NFL since 2016. Rypien, a second-year UDFA out of Boise State and nephew of former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien, went 8-for-8 in garbage time against the Bucs. He started four seasons for the Mountain West’s Broncos outfit, throwing 90 career TD passes at Boise State.

The injury-plagued Broncos signed Blake Bortles last week but were unlikely to use him for a short-week game. Should Lock need the estimated five- or six-week timetable to recover from his rotator cuff strain, it represents a decent bet Bortles will see time — given his experience edge on Rypien and Driskel. Rypien, at least, will play behind a more experienced right tackle than Driskel did. Longtime Bucs starter Demar Dotson will take over for the injured Elijah Wilkinson, Fangio said.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Sign 15 To Practice Squad

The Broncos will feature one of the more traditional practice squads, at least to start the season. No big-name veterans appear on Denver’s initial practice squad. Instead, a host of developmental players populate the unit.

However, veteran cornerback De’Vante Bausby — who was one of Denver’s final cuts Saturday — will stick with the team as part of this 15-man practice squad. The Broncos acquired Bausby after his stint in the Alliance of American Football in 2019. He played in five Broncos games last season, after previously seeing spot work with the Bears and Eagles in 2016 and ’18, but wound up on IR for much of the slate.

Joining the four-year veteran will be ex-UDFA Brett Rypien, who resided on Denver’s practice squad last season. Here is the Broncos’ full list:

Broncos Move Roster To 53

The Broncos parted ways with 24 players to trim their roster to the 53-man regular-season limit. Here are the players the team cut to get to 53.

Waived:

Released:

Placed on IR:

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.

Reserve/Futures Contracts: 12/30/19

With the regular season behind us, teams can start signing players to reserve/futures contract. This ties the player to the team’s 90-man offseason roster.

Several teams have already started completing these deals, which we’ve compiled below:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts

New York Giants

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

More Minor NFL Transactions: 10/30/19

Today’s minor moves:

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

  • Claimed off waivers (Giants): LB Tae Davis

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Promoted from practice squad: CB Tevaughn Campbell

Miami Dolphins

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

Notable NFL Practice Squad Salaries

Playing on an NFL practice squad isn’t a bad gig. You work with a club’s 53-man roster every week, have a good chance to get called up if/when injuries strike, and collect a solid paycheck ($8K per week minimum). And for some practice squaders, the pay can get even better.

While all practice squad salaries count towards the salary cap, there’s no restriction on how much a team can pay a practice squad player. When a club desperately wants to retain a player but can’t fit him on its 53, they’ll often bump up his salary in an effort to keep him around. Here’s a look at several players who are earning much more than the NFL’s $8K per week standard, via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link):

The 49ers clearly have no problem with spending a little extra on practice squad players, as both Lee and Harris are earning at least $22K more than the league PS minimum. Lee’s been with San Francisco since 2017 and started five games for the club last season, but the 49ers’ front seven depth is keeping him on the taxi squad for now. Harris, too, was a part-time starter for San Francisco in 2018.

The quarterbacks on the list are also interesting. Rypien has been deemed Broncos’ offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello‘s “project” and could be called up to the active roster at some point given that Denver is only carrying two quarterbacks in Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen (rookie second-rounder Drew Lock is on injured reserve). And the rebuilding Dolphins seem intent on hanging onto Rudock, who spent the first three seasons of his career with the Lions.

Broncos Trim Roster To 53

The Denver Broncos made a slew of moves today to get down to 53 players. Notably, the team will place rookie second-round quarterback Drew Lock on injured reserve, meaning he’ll have to miss at least the first eight games of the season as he recovers from his thumb injury. The team cut journeyman Kevin Hogan and UDFA Brett Rypien, leaving them without a quarterback behind Joe Flacco. GM John Elway has said they’ll sign a veteran to backup Flacco for now, and we’ve already heard they’re interested in Brian Hoyer.

There weren’t too many surprises that we didn’t already know of. Brendan Langley, a 2017 third-round pick, failed to make the team. He was drafted as a cornerback, but switched to receiver earlier this offseason after he didn’t pan out on defense.

Here’s the full list of other moves:

Waived:

FB George Aston

T Quinn Bailey

WR Trinity Benson

LB Keishawn Bierria

OL Adam Bisnowaty

OL Jake Brendel

WR Fred Brown

LB Jamal Carter

CB Rashard Causey

WR Steven Dunbar Jr.

OLB Ahmad Gooden

CB Alijah Holder

RB Devontae Jackson

CB Trey Johnson

G/C Sam Jones

OL Tyler Jones

T John Leglue

WR Kelvin McKnight

RB Khalfani Muhammad

DL Deyon Sizer

CB Linden Stephens

TE Moral Stephens

RB David Williams

DE DeShawn Williams

Waived/injured:

C Ryan Crozier

LB Joe Dineen

OLB Dadi Nicolas

S Dymonte Thomas

Released:

AFC Notes: Collins, Broncos, Raiders, Finley

Jamie Collins held the distinction of being the highest-paid off-ball linebacker for nearly two years. His new deal with the Patriots is less glamorous. Escalators exist in Collins’ one-year, $2MM contract, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com broke them down Sunday. If the eighth-year linebacker plays 50% of the Pats’ 2019 snaps, he will obtain an additional $250K. A 60% snap clearance will mean another $250K. This goes up in 10% increments until the 80% mark, when the incentives increase but also venture into not-likely-to-be-earned territory. Should Collins wind up in the Pro Bowl, he would earn an additional $500K. Collins was making $12.5MM per year on his Browns deal.

Here’s the latest from the AFC, moving westward:

  • It should be expected that Drew Lock is the Broncos‘ backup quarterback once the regular season begins, even after a shaky preseason start. But the Broncos also moved rookie UDFA Brett Rypien into position to challenge Kevin Hogan‘s roster spot. The nephew of former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien received the third-team reps ahead of Hogan in practice Sunday, Mike Klis of 9News notes. Lock took the second-team snaps. Hogan served as Case Keenum‘s backup last year, after Chad Kelly‘s departure. Rypien could conceivably be a practice squad stash, but Klis views the Broncos as giving him every opportunity to unseat Hogan.
  • On the defensive side of the ball, the Broncos made a move to address their depleted inside linebacker corps. Third-year safety Jamal Carter is now an inside linebacker, with Vic Fangio indicating (via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, on Twitter) Carter sought this switch. “I’ve been wanting to play this since high school and college,’’ Carter said, via Klis. “I like being in the trenches. I’m a physical specimen. I don’t like being too deep away from arms and contact. It’s going to fit me.” Todd Davis, Josey Jewell and Joe Jones are out with injuries presently. Carter, a 2017 UDFA out of Miami, missed all of last season due to injury and is on Denver’s roster bubble.
  • Set to use Andy Dalton as their starting quarterback for a ninth season, the Bengals did draft another passer this year. Their Ryan Finley fourth-round investment has gone well as the offseason has progressed, and The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. (subscription required) views a Bengals final roster that only includes Dalton and Finley at quarterback. This would mean Cincinnati cutting Jeff Driskel, who was needed for five starts after Dalton’s IR trip last year. A 2016 sixth-round pick, Driskel posted a 31.6 QBR in his 2018 work.
  • The Raiders placed cornerback D.J. Killings on IR on Sunday, doing so because he tore a pectoral muscle in the team’s preseason opener Saturday. Killings, a third-year UDFA, will undergo surgery, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal tweets.