Bryce Callahan

West Rumors: Broncos, Cards, Hicks, Hawks

The Bears briefly entertained the prospect of trading standout defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, but they reconsidered and brought the former All-Pro back for his sixth season in Chicago. Shortly after free agency began, the Bears gave Hicks permission to find a trade partner. Nothing materialized, but the Chargers were monitoring this situation through the preseason, according to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (ESPN+ link). Hicks, 31, has a history with Bolts HC Brandon Staley, who was on the Bears’ defensive staff — as outside linebackers coach — under Vic Fangio from 2017-18. The 11th-year veteran’s contract expires at season’s end. Should the Bears falter against a tough October schedule, Hicks could be a name to watch as the Nov. 2 trade deadline approaches. The $7MM-plus left on his 2021 salary would be a difficult accommodation for most teams, but that number will drop closer to $5MM by the deadline. A groin injury sidelined Hicks in Week 5, but he remains on the Bears’ active roster.

Here is the latest from the West divisions:

  • Staying on the trade front, the Broncos received inquiries on their two contract-year corners — Kyle Fuller and Bryce Callahan — along with Ronald Darby. The veteran defenders came up in talks leading up to the season, but new Denver GM George Paton set a fairly high asking price. The Broncos sought a third- or fourth-round pick in a deal for one of their vets, Fowler adds, scuttling talks. The Saints made a strong push for Fuller, which came months after New Orleans’ aggressive pursuit of Denver’s No. 9 overall pick — which was used to take Patrick Surtain II. While Denver has made multiple deadline deals in recent years, involving receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, it would likely take a tumble out of contention for the team to deal from its corner surplus.
  • The Cardinals are likely to be without Chandler Jones as they attempt to move their unbeaten run to 6-0. While vaccinated players who test positive for COVID-19 can return after two negative tests 24 hours apart, Kliff Kingsbury said Jones is experiencing symptoms and that it would be “a stretch” for him to play against the Browns, via SI.com’s Howard Balzer (on Twitter). Jones is vaccinated. News of the veteran pass rusher’s positive test circulated Tuesday, creating a narrow window for him to recover in time.
  • Arizona will also be without center Rodney Hudson. The acclaimed O-lineman is battling a rib injury, and Kingsbury declared him out Wednesday. Seventh-year pro Max Garcia will step in for the Cards’ Pro Bowl snapper.
  • Blake Bortles auditioned for the Seahawks on Tuesday, but Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes they are not expected to sign him (Twitter link). Seattle instead re-signed Danny Etling, who was with the team from August 2020 to August of ’21. Etling is currently on the Seahawks’ practice squad. Bortles has not been able to land a steady gig since the 2019 season, when he backed up Jared Goff with the Rams.
  • Pete Carroll said Tre Flowers did not request to be waived, Condotta adds (via Twitter). The Flowers transaction went through Wednesday, so a claim would surface by Thursday afternoon — if a team is to claim the fourth-year cornerback. The Seahawks have used former second-round pick Sidney Jones in Flowers’ place in the past two games.

Teams Calling Broncos On Cornerbacks

The Broncos exited last season with no proven cornerbacks available, with Bryce Callahan injured and A.J. Bouye suspended. Teams have now observed Denver may have a surplus at this position.

Teams have called the Broncos about their depth, with Mike Klis of 9News noting some are eyeing Denver’s corner group. The Broncos cut Bouye but retained Callahan. They then added Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller in free agency and drafted Patrick Surtain II ninth overall, passing on Justin Fields and Mac Jones to do so.

We’re fortunate we have a player in Surtain that can play multiple positions at a young age,” first-year GM George Paton said, via Klis. “Not many rookies can play three positions. It’s a really good problem to have. It’s Vic [Fangio‘s] problem, but you can’t have enough of those guys. Corners, a lot of them go down so we’re really happy with our depth. We have a lot of teams calling us on our depth. But we like our corners, that’s for sure.”

Denver has an interesting mix of midlevel contracts — Callahan, Darby and Fuller are each signed to deals averaging between $7-$10MM per year — at corner, along with Surtain’s rookie-deal salary. The Broncos also used a third-round pick on Michael Ojemudia last year. Nickel sets generally call for three cornerbacks, potentially leaving teams wondering if the Broncos are open to moving one of their vets, though dime sets and others in which the team’s top four corners play together are likely in Fangio’s plans.

The Broncos are using Surtain at multiple spots, and Callahan and Darby bring injury pasts creating a need for depth. Callahan ended the 2018 and 2020 seasons on IR and missed all of the 2019 season. Darby was sidelined for 20 games from 2017-19. Denver’s depth may be limited to just 2021, with Callahan and Fuller on one-year deals, but it will nonetheless be interesting to see how the Broncos proceed at this spot.

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Broncos Claim S Will Parks, Place CB Bryce Callahan On IR

Ahead of their most difficult assignment annually, the Broncos will be down their best-performing cornerback. The Broncos will travel to Kansas City and face at least their next three opponents without Bryce Callahan.

They are placing Callahan on IR, Nick Kosmider of The Athletic tweets. But the team will reunite with Will Parks. The four-year Bronco contributor will return to Denver via waiver claim, per KOA’s Benjamin Allbright (on Twitter). The Eagles waived Parks this week.

Callahan has run into more foot trouble. The standout defender injured the same foot that kept him out of action all last season, and Vic Fangio said a multi-week absence was on tap. Callahan exited Week 12 as Pro Football Focus’ No. 2 overall cornerback, belatedly justifying the Broncos’ three-year, $21MM investment. He initially injured the foot in December 2018 while playing for Fangio in Chicago.

This is certainly cause for concern for the sixth-year cover man. And it deals a Broncos defense that has been without Von Miller and its entire D-line a major blow going into the team’s biannual Chiefs contest. The Broncos have not beaten the Chiefs since 2015.

Parks opted to play for his hometown Eagles this offseason, agreeing to a one-year deal. The Broncos originally drafted him in the 2016 seventh round, four rounds after their Justin Simmons pick. Given Parks’ familiarity with Fangio’s system, the Broncos should be able to plug him into myriad roles on defense. Parks previously served as a utility man of sorts in Denver, operating as a backup safety, in the slot and as a coverage linebacker in sub-packages. Due to COVID-19 protocols, Parks will not be eligible to play with the Broncos again until Week 14.

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Injury Updtes: Callahan, Broncos, Jones, Giants, Linsley, Packers, Hamilton, Jaguars

We’ve got a batch of next-morning injury updates to pass along. Starting in Denver, where Broncos cornerback Bryce Callahan went down with a foot injury. Unfortunately, that injury will sideline him for a “significant” amount of time, head coach Vic Fangio said Monday, via Mike Klis of Denver 9 News (Twitter link). Fangio said it was too early to tell if it would knock him out for the rest of the season, but that certainly sounds possible.

It’s a big blow for a Broncos team that has already been besieged by injuries. Callahan is an every down guy and one of their best players on defense. He’s in the second year of a three-year, $21MM deal he signed in March of 2019. He missed all of last season with a foot injury, although this new issue thankfully appears to be unrelated.

Here are some more health updates from around the league:

  • We heard last night that Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was feared to have a significant hamstring injury that could cause him to miss some time, but it sounds like things aren’t quite as bad as they seemed. Jones avoided major injury and has an “outside shot” at playing this Sunday, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). It appears it won’t be anything long-term, although Colt McCoy still seems like the favorite to be under center this coming weekend against the Seahawks. Every game is pivotal for Big Blue as they jockey for position in the pitiful NFC East.
  • Packers center Corey Linsley had to be carted off with a knee injury during the team’s win over the Bears last night, and fortunately it looks like a worst case scenario was avoided. That being said he’s not entirely out of the woods, as a source told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com that Linsley will miss some time with a knee sprain (Twitter link). Matt LaFleur told reporters he hopes Linsley can make it back for some of the regular season, but it sounds like he should at least be ready for the playoffs. Linsley has been the guy snapping balls to Aaron Rodgers for every game of the last four seasons, so this is a big loss.
  • The Jaguars fell to 1-10 yesterday, and the hits keep on coming. Rookie defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton had to be carted off against the Browns and while head coach Doug Marrone said today it wasn’t as bad as was initially thought, he’ll still be going to injured reserve with a knee issue, via Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Hamilton was the 73rd overall pick of April’s draft. The Ohio State product had been playing a big role in his first pro season, starting the last six games and playing around 60 percent of the defensive snaps.

AFC Rumors: Adams, Manning, Broncos

Jets safety Jamal Adams has submitted a trade request and may well have issues with Adam Gase — months after voicing frustration with GM Joe Douglas listening to offers at last year’s trade deadline. However, Jets DC Gregg Williams came to the All-Pro’s defense Thursday.

He has to handle his contract,” Williams said, via the New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta. “He’ll do all that kind of stuff. … I’m hoping everything goes well. I love coaching him. And I got his back.

“… I think the world of him. I’ve had a chance to coach a lot of really good players. Some that are already in the Hall of Fame. And many others that are going to go in the Hall of Fame. And he’s going to have a legitimate chance staying healthy to be one of those guys later on that we’ll all talk about.”

The second-year Jets defensive boss added that he wants Adams to “feel good about being here.” Given the events of the past eight months, that will take some doing. Here is the latest from the AFC:

  • Were the Jets to trade Adams, they do have rookie third-rounder Ashtyn Davis as a candidate to replace him alongside contract-year starter Marcus Maye, Connor Hughes of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The Jets were also interested in Tony Jefferson before he signed with the Ravens in 2017 and a month before they drafted Adams. Jefferson is back in free agency after Baltimore released him earlier this year. Eric Reid also remains unsigned, providing some options if the Jets seriously entertain trading their top player.
  • Bryce Callahan‘s injury altered the Broncos‘ cornerback plans last season, forcing slot dynamo Chris Harris to play almost exclusively on the outside. Callahan has recovered from his latest bout of foot trouble, and the Broncos are hoping to play him in the slot, per The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala. Denver still appears thin at corner, but Jhabvala adds the team hopes third-round rookie Michael Ojemudia can seize the outside corner job opposite A.J. Bouye. That may be difficult, however, with Vic Fangio using a complex scheme and the Broncos having seen multiple third-round corners (Brendan Langley and Isaac Yiadom) struggle in recent years.
  • Peyton Manning has said years ago he was close to signing with the Titans, but the Broncos won out for the future Hall of Fame quarterback. Discussing the fallout from Manning’s 2012 free agency, ex-Titans exec Mike Reinfeldt said the acclaimed passer’s timetable affected the Titans’ plans. “The only thing I wished had happened was that Peyton could have made the decision earlier,” Reinfeldt said, via The Athletic’s Mike Sando. “But I don’t know that he was in position to do so because of his health. … There is no magic way to build a team, but what you can’t do is get caught in between one plan and the other plan. That is what happened to us.” The Titans earmarking Manning money during the first week of free agency, and then waiting on the ex-Colt’s decision, caused them to miss out on pursuits of Mario Williams and Pro Bowl guards Carl Nicks and Ben Grubbs, with Sando adding each was a target of then-GM Ruston Webster. Tennessee finished 6-10 in 2012 and would not post a winning season again until 2016.

Broncos DC: Bryce Callahan At Full Speed

Bryce Callahan has not played in a game since early December 2018. The Broncos cornerback is tentatively on track to finally return to action, however.

Second-year Denver defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said Callahan is working at full speed after missing his first Broncos season with more foot trouble, per Denver7’s Troy Renck (on Twitter). Callahan endured multiple setbacks last year, dealing with the foot problem that ended his Bears run late in the 2018 season.

This would be big news for a Broncos team that has fully moved on from its accomplished No Fly Zone secondaries. Denver allowed All-Decade corner Chris Harris to walk in free agency and will count on Callahan and trade acquisition A.J. Bouye to lead their new-look group at the position.

The Broncos signed Callahan to a three-year, $21MM deal in March 2019. He aggravated the foot he broke in his final days with the Bears at multiple junctures last year, however, going down in training camp and then experiencing more pain after practicing on it last November. The Broncos placed him on IR shortly after the latter aggravation, and he underwent a second foot surgery. Callahan’s absence limited the team in coverage last season.

Prior to his foot trouble, the former UDFA became one of the league’s better slot corners while working under Donnatel and Vic Fangio in Chicago. Although the Broncos traded for Bouye, the rest of their corner group remains uncertain. They used a third-round pick on Iowa corner Michael Ojemudia, but the team has seen multiple third-round corners — Brendan Langley (2017) and Isaac Yiadom (’18) — fail to impress as pros. Callahan, now 28, enduring another setback would likely force the team to survey the cornerback market.

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Broncos, Bryce Callahan Agree To Restructure

The Broncos and cornerback Bryce Callahan have agreed to a paycut/restructure, per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network (via Twitter). Callahan is now scheduled to earn $5MM in 2020 and can earn another $2MM in playing time incentives. The move will free up $1.8MM in cap space for 2020.

Denver signed Callahan last March with the hope that his strong play as a slot CB with the Bears would carry over to Mile High. But Callahan suffered a broken foot towards the end of his tenure in Chicago, and he re-aggravated the injury during his first training camp with the Broncos. He ultimately underwent stem cell treatment on the foot and missed the entire 2019 campaign.

Still, the Broncos will likely be relying on Callahan to start in 2020. The club traded for A.J. Bouye earlier this month but saw Chris Harris depart in free agency, so Callahan will be a key part of a remade secondary. Denver is also reportedly interested in adding another CB via free agency or the draft.

In other Broncos news, Troy Renck of Denver7 reports that the team has shown no interest in retaining free agent DE Derek Wolfe, who is still in search of a new team.

Broncos Place Bryce Callahan On IR

It’s now official. The Broncos placed cornerback Bryce Callahan on IR, per a press release from the team. To take his place on the roster, the club will activate wide receiver Tim Patrick from IR. 

The Broncos gave Callahan a three-year, $21MM deal with $10MM guaranteed. The former Bears slot standout, unfortunately, has yet to play a down in Denver. This comes after last season’s letdown – he ended the 2018 campaign on Chicago’s IR with a broken foot. This year, he aggravated that injury in training camp.

Callahan was one of three high-profile Broncos free agent additions, joining Kareem Jackson and Ja’Wuan James. While Jackson has delivered in his first full season as a safety, James has missed most of this season. Two out of three ain’t bad, but one out of three is….pretty bad.

The Broncos are 3-6 with nearly no chance of seeing the playoffs this year. On the plus side – they managed to beat the Browns in their last time out and they’ll be ticketed for a high first-round draft pick, provided that they don’t mess things up by winning too much the rest of the way.

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Broncos Expected To Place Callahan On IR

Bryce Callahan‘s foot injury has kept him off the field throughout this season, and the cornerback’s Broncos debut is now expected to be tabled until 2020. Vic Fangio said Callahan is likely to go on IR, per Troy Renck of Denver7 (on Twitter).

Fangio said Monday that Callahan was expected to make an attempt to practice this week. That occurred, but Callahan’s injured foot was sore afterward. While the free agent addition may be healthy enough to return at some point this season, upcoming activations of Drew Lock and wide receiver Tim Patrick will force the Broncos to remove two players from their active roster.

The Broncos gave Callahan a three-year, $21MM deal with $10MM guaranteed. The former Bears slot standout ended last season on IR with a fractured foot, and he aggravated that injury in training camp. Callahan was one of three high-profile Broncos free agent additions, joining Kareem Jackson and Ja’Wuan James. While Jackson has delivered in his first full season as a safety, James has missed most of this season.

Callahan is the top Broncos corner under contract next season, with four-time Pro Bowler Chris Harris set to test free agency. While Harris has not ruled out a return to Denver, and support exists in the building for another re-up, Callahan’s situation could make this a major offseason need.

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Drew Lock To Practice This Week

Although Drew Lock has been eligible to return to practice for weeks, that has yet to occur. The process of bringing Lock into the starting lineup, however, will begin on Tuesday.

Lock is expected to practice Tuesday, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. This will begin the rookie’s return from IR. The Broncos are already planning to bring wide receiver Tim Patrick off IR. Lock coming back would fill both of Denver’s slots. However, Vic Fangio said it’s not certain Lock will play this season, per Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic (on Twitter). Lock has been sidelined since August with a thumb injury.

Of course, with the Broncos 3-6 and having backup Brandon Allen as their starter now points to a Lock audition coming soon. The tentative plan was for the second-round pick to start the final two Broncos games. While Fangio said Allen’s play will determine Lock’s activation, it would stand to reason the Broncos would give Lock as much time as possible in order for the franchise to gauge its recent QB investment before next year’s draft.

Lock can return to game action at any point, as it’s been more than eight weeks since his initial IR placement. But if he returns to practice Tuesday, the Broncos will have three weeks to activate him. Additionally, Fangio said Bryce Callahan would try to practice Tuesday. The team has also yet to decide if Patrick will be activated this season, Twitter links via Klis and Jhabvala.

Denver going with a Lock-Patrick IR-return combo would mean Jake Butt and Theo Riddick will miss the season. Callahan remains on the active roster and can make his Broncos debut at any point.

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