Carlos Henderson

West Notes: Broncos, Seahawks, 49ers

The Broncos have fallen quite a ways from their Super Bowl 50 win about two years ago. The team’s biggest question mark is obviously at quarterback, but there are a number of questions that John Elway and company will have to answer over the course of the offseason, explains Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post.

Jhabvala mentions that the Broncos wide receiver position could really change over the next few months depending on how the front office approaches some of the playmakers that could enter free agency. The big name she mentions is Demaryius Thomas who could test the open market should Denver decline his $4MM option. He’s controllable for non-guaranteed salaries for the next two seasons, but the team could save some money or re-negotiate a new contract before a decision has to be made about that option. In addition to Thomas, Cody Latimer is an unrestricted free agent, Bennie Fowler is a restricted free agent and Emmanuel Sanders is a controllable veteran that could hit the trade block if the team rather invest in Thomas long-term.

Jhabvala also focuses on veteran cornerback Aqib Talib. She notes how he’ll turn 32 in February and is set to make $11MM in 2018. Although, the Broncos would only be responsible for $1MM if he were to be released. With Chris Harris and Bradley Roby under contract as well, it’s unlikely the team would hold onto all three for next season.

The article finally keys in on Denver’s starting running back, C.J. Anderson. Anderson is paid well for his position as he’ll make $4.4MM next season. However, his last two years of his original four-year deal that he signed in 2016 are non-guaranteed, so there is definitely significant money to be saved should the team move onto the likes of Devontae Booker, De’Angelo Henderson or potentially a another running back that they draft in April.

Here’s more from the NFL’s West divisions:

  • Denver has to deal with an off-the-field problem at receiver as well. Their 2017 third-round draft pick, Carlos Henderson, was arrested this afternoon for possession of marijuana, per Brad Cesak of NBC6News (Twitter link). The 23-year-old was placed on the injured reserve with a thumb injury in the preseason, but could face league discipline for his most recent incident. This would be his first offense, but it’s not encouraging for a Broncos team potentially looking for steady contributors on that side of the ball.
  • The news that Pete Carroll would be replacing Darrell Bevell with Brian Schottenheimer as Seattle’s next offensive coordinator was met with some skepticism across the football world. However, Seahawks backup quarterback Austin Davis thinks that the change will bring some positivity to the team’s offense in 2018, reports Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. Schottenheimer coached Davis for three seasons while the two were in St. Louis. “We were very creative in St. Louis,” Davis told 710 ESPN Seattle. “We threw a lot of things at the defense, whether it was drop-back, whether it was play-action, whether it was quarterback movement, we had it all. And we were a really good screen team. If there was one thing I could pick out from last year, we couldn’t run screens.” The Seahawks offense was carried by Russell Wilson last season and is in need of a new identity as the team looks to get back into the postseason.
  • 49ers promising rookie linebacker Reuben Foster recently got in trouble with the law for having possession of marijuana, which is likely to effect his paycheck in the years to come. The 2017 first-round pick had about $2.5MM in guaranteed money from 2018-2020, but that will probably be voided because of specific wording in his contract, according to Joel Corry of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Corry explained that Foster had a clause in his contract that if he were to be fined for a violation of the NFL’s drug policy, that money would lose its guaranteed status. The former Alabama defender fell down the draft board a bit last year because of some personality issues, and his immaturity has now clearly cost him in terms of his wallet.
  • Current 49ers starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo made some extra cash after the Patriots beat the Titans to advance to the AFC Championship, according to Corry in another tweet. Corry reports that Garoppolo received an extra $51k in playoff money for the victory because he was with New England for at least eight games this past regular season.

Broncos Down To 52-Man Roster

The Broncos are down to a 52-man roster. Why 52, you ask? That’s because their signing of quarterback Brock Osweiler is not yet official. Once he’s inked, they’ll be at the 53-man max.

The Broncos also have Shane Ray on the active roster as of this writing. If they place him on IR, they’ll have another spot to work with.

Here’s the full look at their roster:

Released:

Waived:

Waived/Injured:

  • LB Kevin Snyder

Placed On IR:

Reserve/NFI:

AFC West Notes: Broncos, Wolfe, Downing

The Broncos have lost some key auxiliary performers in recent weeks. Outside linebackers Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett could both be sidelined past Week 1, and defensive line rotation cog Billy Winn is out for the season after tearing an ACL. Denver’s offense received some bad news as well. Third-round pick Carlos Henderson will undergo thumb surgery that will shelve him for at least the remainder of the preseason and possibly into the regular season, Mike Klis of 9News reports. Henderson suffered the injury during the Broncos’ August opener against the Bears.

The Louisiana Tech standout was vying to become Denver’s No. 3 wide receiver but was struggling during camp. The Broncos were using Henderson at kick returner in Chicago. Henderson’s injury will create openings for incumbent pass-catchers Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler and Jordan Taylor in the coming weeks while potentially limiting the rookie’s assimilation.

Here’s the latest out of Denver and other AFC West cities.

  • It doesn’t look like Derek Wolfe will be undergoing surgery, but the sixth-year defensive end will likely be out for a few weeks. An ankle injury forced Wolfe to be carted off the practice field Saturday, but Wolfe informed ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson (Twitter link) he should be good to go for Week 1. That said, Denver’s left defensive end told Anderson his ankle is badly sprained and has a “slight tear.” Pending further examination, the Broncos do not believe this is a serious injury, Adam Schefter of ESPN tweets. Wolfe tweeted a picture of the afflicted ankle as well.
  • New Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing received the backing of mentor Mike Tice when it came time for Jack Del Rio to choose between Downing and previous OC Bill Musgrave. Tice helped bring Del Rio and Musgrave — who worked together for two years in Jacksonville — back together in 2015. But the Oakland offensive line coach agreed with Del Rio that losing Downing to a team that wanted him as OC wouldn’t be a smart move, Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Tice oversaw Downing’s work when he was the Vikings’ head coach during the 2000s, eventually giving Downing his first coaching job in 2005. Musgrave’s contract was not renewed, and the longtime assistant is coaching the Broncos’ quarterbacks.
  • Tafur adds the close relationship between Downing and Derek Carr helped influence the decision and previously dictated the Sunday arrangements last season. Downing coached Carr on the sidelines while Musgrave operated from the booth. Carr said, via Tafur, he will have more freedom to improvise under Downing than he did in two seasons under Musgrave. However, this season will be the 37-year-old Downing’s first time calling plays at any level since he helped coach a Minneapolis-area ninth-grade team in 2002, Tafur adds.
  • Recently added offensive lineman Allen Barbre is competing with Max Garcia for the Broncos‘ starting left guard position, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post notes. Barbre has played both guard and tackle in his career but worked with the first unit in practice and could see time with the starters in Denver’s second preseason game, per Jhabvala. Garcia and Michael Schofield were the Broncos’ starters last season. Ronald Leary is the new right guard.
  • Ray’s target date for a return from wrist surgery is Week 3, when the Broncos make their first road trip of the season in a venture to Buffalo, Jhabvala reports. Former Saints edge defender Kasim Edebali and Vontarrius Dora are the top candidates to start opposite Von Miller come Week 1, should Barrett not make it back by then.
  • Chargers rookie Mike Williams is “running” and “doing well,” per Anthony Lynn, but remains without a firm timetable.

West Rumors: Pulley, 49ers, Broncos

The Chargers received upper-echelon production from Matt Slauson last season, with the veteran continuing to function well at center despite being a natural guard. Slauson being moved back to guard this offseason opens the door at center, and the Bolts have 2016 third-round pick Max Tuerk seemingly waiting in the wings after essentially redshirting as a rookie. But second-year UDFA Spencer Pulley is throwing off that natural succession plan presently. Pulley is currently the Bolts’ starting center, Eric Williams of ESPN.com notes, while pointing out that it’s still May and Tuerk will have a chance to compete.

I have a great comfort level with Spencer,” Philip Rivers said, via Williams. “That’s what he played in college his whole time there at Vandy. Slauson was great there last year, and Spencer played some there in that Cleveland game and a few other times, so I have a good feel with him. He’s had a heck of an offseason, so he’s in there right now with the first group and we’ll see how it goes.”

Pulley being ahead of Tuerk, who started at USC before catching the Mike McCoy-led Chargers’ eye last April, complicates matters for the former Trojan. Because the Chargers used their most recent third-round pick on Indiana interior lineman Dan Feeney, who joins second-round pick Forrest Lamp in the interior-line mix for Los Angeles. Williams doesn’t mention Feeney as a prime candidate here, so the Bolts could work him in at guard for now. Feeney did take reps at center earlier this offseason. Regardless of how this situation works out, the Chargers will have a remade interior line after relocating Slauson and cutting D.J. Fluker and Orlando Franklin.

Here are some more Western-division notes.

  • Kyle Shanahan plans to divide offense-management responsibilities based on how the ball travels. The new 49ers coach did not hire an offensive coordinator, as he’ll function in that role after serving as an OC for three different teams since 2013, but he assigned two assistants jobs. Mike McDaniel will be in charge of the ground game, and Mike LaFleur will oversee the passing attack, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports. Bobby Turner, who worked with both in Atlanta after many seasons on Mike Shanahan‘s staffs in Denver and Washington, is the team’s running backs coach. So, it looks like he and McDaniel will be working together for a 49ers team that saw Tom Rathman move on after many years of being involved with the team’s rushing attack.
  • Carlos Henderson rated as Broncos wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert‘s No. 5 wide receiver prospect, according to Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post. The Louisiana Tech prospect went to the Broncos in the third round and was the 10th wide receiver off the board. Wolfe expects Henderson to challenge for a return job as well after taking back three kickoffs for scores in his three-year college career. He and fifth-round rookie Isaiah McKenzie (five punt-return TDs from 2014-16) figure to enhance a Denver return game that’s struggled since Trindon Holliday‘s short but explosive run ended after the 2013 season.
  • It is clear to Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post that the Broncos want to give Paxton Lynch every chance to win the starting quarterback job over Trevor Siemian. Lynch is a high-risk, high-reward gunslinger, while Siemian is a no-nonsense game manager, but Kiszla points to the division rival Chiefs to explain why Denver wants Lynch to win the job. Kansas City’s Alex Smith, the definition of a solid, game-manager type quarterback, has been just good enough to get the Chiefs beaten in the playoffs, which prompted the team to jump through hoops to draft the immensely talented but erratic Patrick Mahomes in the first round of this year’s draft.
  • Derek Carr‘s extension talks with the Raiders are expected to ramp up, with the fourth-year passer believed to be in position to sign a deal that is a “strong step aboveAndrew Luck‘s five-year, $122.97MM deal.

Rory Parks contributed to this report.

Broncos Sign Rookie WR Carlos Henderson

The Broncos now have their entire 2017 rookie class under contract, as they’ve agreed to terms with third-round wide receiver Carlos Henderson, according to Mike Klis of 9NEWS (Twitter link).Carlos Henderson (Vertical)

Henderson, a Louisiana Tech product, will be making the leap from Conference USA to the NFL, but he would appear to have a clear path to playing time in Denver. Aside from Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, the Broncos’ other wideouts shouldn’t post much of a threat. Jordan Taylor, Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, and fellow rookie Isaiah McKenzie will serve as Henderson’s primary competition.

At the very least, Henderson figures to act as the Broncos’ top return man during his rookie campaign. Denver finished just 22nd in special teams DVOA a season ago, and lost 1.1 points on kick returns and 6.8 points on punt returns. Henderson, meanwhile, averaged 32.2 yards per kick return and scored two touchdowns.

Here’s an overview of the Broncos’ class:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.