Broncos Rumors

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/24/20

Here are Thursday’s minor moves, with the list being updated throughout the day:

Arizona Cardinals

  • Placed on practice squad-IR: TE Justin Johnson

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

Tennessee Titans

Broncos Place Mark Barron, DeMarcus Walker On IR

The Broncos’ IR list is filling up. Mark Barron and DeMarcus Walker will join the likes of Von Miller, Courtland Sutton and A.J. Bouye on Denver’s injured reserve, Vic Fangio said Wednesday.

Barron has yet to make his Denver debut; a hamstring injury has kept the veteran linebacker off the field. Walker, a fourth-year defensive end, suffered a calf injury in the Broncos’ Week 2 loss to the Steelers. Both players are eligible to return in Week 6.

While the Broncos have been hit harder than just about any team with injuries this season — with four of the six former Pro Bowlers on their roster currently unavailable — they are not placing Drew Lock on IR. The prospect of Lock returning before Week 6 induced the team to keep its starting quarterback on its 53-man roster, Fangio said. Lock, however, could be out for close to six weeks. But the Broncos will go with three active-roster QBs for the time being. They agreed to terms with Blake Bortles on Tuesday; he will join Jeff Driskel on the roster.

Denver signed Barron after releasing Todd Davis. The former was set to work as passing-down linebacker alongside Alexander Johnson. Those plans are on hold. The Steelers released Barron earlier this year, doing so a year after the Rams made the former first-round pick a cap casualty.

Walker beat out Christian Covington for a roster spot this year, after showing some promise down the stretch last season. The Broncos drafted Walker in the 2017 second round. Although Walker has not quite lived up to his draft slot — particularly in his first two seasons — Fangio and Co. kept the Vance Joseph-era investment around as a depth player. The team now has Walker and 2019 third-round D-lineman Dre’Mont Jones on IR.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/22/20

We’ll keep track of today’s taxi squad moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

  • Signed: OL Rick Leonard

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

  • Signed: LB Deyon Sizer

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

  • Released: LB Greg Roberts

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Von Miller Eyeing 5-6 More Seasons

  • Von Miller has not given up on returning this season. The Broncos‘ future Hall of Fame linebacker has been studying how some non-NFL athletes returned in three months from the injury he suffered — as opposed to the four- to six-month timetable he was given after suffering a dislocated peroneal tendon — and has told teammates he could return in mid-December, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. However, since this report surfaced, the Broncos lost Drew Lock for perhaps more than a month and Courtland Sutton for the season. They are already down A.J. Bouye and Phillip Lindsay for the foreseeable future, making a playoff run more difficult to envision. As for Miller’s long-term future, the 31-year-old pass rusher has told teammates he is eyeing five or six more seasons, per La Canfora. This tracks with previous Miller plans.
  • Speaking of Lindsay, the Pro Bowl running back will almost certainly miss Week 3 and may be out longer. Rather than turf toe, Lindsay is dealing with a toe sprain, Rapoport notes. This represents a tough break for the UDFA success story, who was discussing an extension shortly after last season’s conclusion. However, the Broncos instead opted to sign Melvin Gordon to a two-year, $8MM deal. Lindsay is set for restricted free agency in 2021.
  • Brandon McManus‘ four-year, $17MM Broncos extension will guarantee the Denver kicker $4MM in 2021, but Mike Klis of 9News notes the deal’s final three seasons are not guaranteed (Twitter link). McManus is due to earn base salaries of $3MM (2022), $3.75MM (’23) and $3.95MM (’24) over the course of the deal, which also came with a $2.5MM signing bonus. The Broncos have used McManus as their kicker since 2014 but are not committed to him beyond 2021.

Broncos To Sign Blake Bortles

That was fast. Just moments after we learned of Blake Bortles‘ visit with the Broncos, the quarterback agreed to sign with Denver (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). Everything is in place for a one-year deal, pending COVID protocols. 

[RELATED: Broncos’ Courtland Sutton Tears ACL]

This marks Bortles’ third stop in the NFL, following stints with the Jaguars and Rams. Now, Bortles will join the Broncos to give them support under center as Drew Lock heals up. Lock is expected to miss three-to-five weeks with a severe strain of his rotator cuff.

The 28-year-old enjoyed his best season in 2015 when he threw for 4,428 yards with 35 touchdowns against 18 interceptions. In 2017, he was under center for the Jaguars’ deep playoff run, though he was unable to keep their lead in the second half of the AFC title game against the Patriots.

The Broncos have yet to formally move Lock to injured reserve, but they already have available spots following injuries to Courtland Sutton and defensive end Dre’Mont Jones. Sutton, unfortunately, is done for the year with an ACL tear.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos To Meet With Blake Bortles

Former Jaguars and Rams quarterback Blake Bortles will meet with the Broncos on Tuesday afternoon, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The former No. 3 overall pick started for five seasons as a pro, but threw just two passes in 2019.

So far, Bortles hasn’t come close to living up to his draft status. Since Bortles entered the league with the Jaguars, roughly 20 quarterbacks have attempted at least 2,000 passes: among those signal-callers, Bortles ranks dead last in adjusted net yards per attempt, quarterback rating, and interception rate, and is second-to-last in touchdown rate.

Despite all of his flaws, the Jaguars handed Bortles a three-year, $54MM deal in 2018 with $26.5MM guaranteed. Oddly enough, he was the first 2014 first-round pick to receive an extension –ahead of stars like wide receiver Odell Beckham, defensive lineman Aaron Donald, and linebacker Khalil Mack. One year later, they pushed him out the door for Nick Foles, leading him to L.A.

The Broncos are in need of some help under center after losing Drew Lock for three to five weeks with a strained rotator cuff. For now, Jeff Driskel is slated to serve as the fill-in, but he’ll need a signal caller to backstop him. Depending on how the meeting goes, Bortles could be their Plan B.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/21/20

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Las Vegas Raiders

New Orleans Saints

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Broncos’ Courtland Sutton Tears ACL

Courtland Sutton’s season is over. On Monday morning, doctors confirmed that the Broncos’ talented wide receiver has suffered a torn ACL (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport).

Sutton, 25 in October, was forced out early from Sunday’s game against the Steelers, but not before he notched three receptions for 66 yards. For the Broncos, it was a tantalizing preview of what could have been another impressive season. Last year, Sutton enjoyed a breakout campaign, finishing out with 72 grabs for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns.

It’s another devastating blow for the Broncos, who have been bit hard by the injury bug recently. Right before the season started, star pass-rusher Von Miller was likely lost for the year with an ankle injury. Then on Sunday, quarterback Drew Lock went down as well, and will miss multiple games with a shoulder injury. Starting cornerback A.J. Bouye and running back Phillip Lindsay are also currently on the shelf.

Sutton missed Week 1 with a shoulder injury, and had just made his return against Pittsburgh. In his absence, rookie first-round pick Jerry Jeudy will take on a more prominent role in the offense. Fellow young pass-catchers like DaeSean Hamilton, K.J. Hamler, and tight end Noah Fant will all be leaned on more as well.

Fortunately, Sutton should be ready in time for the start of the 2021 season. At 0-2 now and with a depleted roster, it’s looking like a potential lost year for the Broncos. Jeff Driskel will start at quarterback for the time being.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Colts, McCaffrey, Broncos, 49ers

It’s been a tough day for the NFL, with a slew of high profile players going down with serious injuries. We’ve brought you all the season-ending ones already, and now we’ve got some updates on some hopefully less long-term but still significant injuries. Colts receiver Parris Campbell had to be carted off with a knee injury, but fortunately Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that he did not tear his ACL.

Campbell’s 2019 rookie season was plagued by injuries as he dealt with a sports hernia, a broken hand, and a broken foot, so this was especially tough to see. He was supposed to play a big role in this Colts offense, and showed a nice connection with new quarterback Philip Rivers in Week 1. The Ohio State product and former second-round pick will have an MRI on Monday, and it seems like an MCL injury could be likely.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Panthers superstar Christian McCaffrey sprained his ankle and will have an MRI on Monday to determine the severity, Rapoport tweets. Fortunately, Rapsheet reports that the “initial hope” is it’s not too serious. Needless to say, it would be a massive loss for Carolina’s offense if he’s forced to miss any time.
  • We heard earlier today that Drew Lock would miss multiple games with an AC joint injury in his throwing shoulder. While he agrees with the prognosis of multiple weeks missed, multiple sources told Mike Klis of Denver 9 News that the injury is not in fact to the AC joint (Twitter link). The bad news is that Klis also reports there is “concern” within the organization about Courtland Sutton‘s knee, but that nothing more will be known until tomorrow morning. The Broncos have been besieged by injuries, and can’t seem to catch a break in that regard.
  • The Falcons blew a huge lead late for an absolutely gutting loss to the Cowboys, and the bad news doesn’t end there. The team fears starting right tackle Kaleb McGary has sprained his MCL, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The MRI Monday will confirm how long he’ll be out, but this sounds like a multi-week absence. McGary has started every game since the team drafted him in the first-round last year, and this is the last thing this 0-2 Atlanta team needed.
  • Nick Bosa is done for the year with a torn ACL, and two other 49ers players are dealing with knee injuries. Running back Raheem Mostert is believed to have a mild MCL sprain and defensive tackle Solomon Thomas is believed to have a “serious” knee injury, according to tweets from Schefter. It sounds like both are going to miss time, although Mostert’s shouldn’t be too long-term and Schefter notes that Thomas’ didn’t have the initial grim clarity of Bosa’s, which could be a good sign. San Francisco has been another team bit hard by the injury bug.

Broncos QB Drew Lock Out 2-6 Weeks

Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t the only starting quarterback who won’t be out there next week. Broncos passer Drew Lock has a sprained AC joint in his shoulder and is expected to be out 2-6 weeks, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Schefter adds that Lock will have an MRI on Monday to determine more specifics, but it sounds like Denver is going to be without him for at least a couple of games. Jeff Driskel came on in relief, and will now be the starter moving forward. It’s a brutal blow to the Broncos after they’ve suffered two narrow down to the wire losses through the first two weeks.

They’ve had some bad injury luck, with star pass-rusher Von Miller likely to miss the season due to ankle surgery and top receiver Courtland Sutton banged up. It’s also tough for Lock’s development, since the Missouri product only started five games as a rookie and could use all the reps he can get.

There was a lot of optimism internally with this Broncos team entering the year, but that has mostly been dashed now. Driskel performed admirably against the Steelers and nearly led a comeback in the second half, but he’s shown during previous stints with the Bengals and Lions he isn’t going to be an above average starter.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.