Kendall Hinton

Broncos Place CB Ronald Darby On IR

Teams inquired about Denver’s cornerback depth leading up to the season, but the Broncos will need to use it early. Denver is placing Ronald Darby on IR due to a hamstring injury, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

The free agent acquisition will miss at least three games and possibly more. Denver signed Darby to a three-year deal this offseason, one in which the franchise also added veteran Kyle Fuller on a one-year contract and used its No. 9 overall pick on Patrick Surtain II. The latter will be counted on as a potential every-down player beginning in Week 2.

This marks the latest injury setback for Darby, who carries a checkered health history. The veteran starter played 16 games last season, setting him up for a better free agency bid, but missed 20 games over the previous three years. Of Denver’s top four corners, only Darby and Surtain are signed beyond 2021.

Barring other injuries to its cornerback corps, the Broncos have the depth to withstand this setback and continue their momentum. The team returns Bryce Callahan from last season as well. However, Callahan has an extensive injury history — one that includes a full-season absence in 2019 and an IR stay to close the 2020 slate. He will team with Fuller and Surtain as the Broncos’ top three corners beginning Sunday, however. Second-year corner Michael Ojemudia is also on IR with a hamstring injury.

Additionally, the Broncos placed Jerry Jeudy on IR and promoted wide receiver Kendall Hinton and cornerback Nate Hairston from their practice squad. Jeudy suffered a high ankle sprain Sunday and will be out for several weeks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Wednesday NFL Transactions: AFC West

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These BroncosChargersChiefs and Raiders moves will be noted below.

Here are Wednesday’s AFC West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Denver Broncos

Signed: 

Waived:

Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad: 

Kansas City Chiefs

Signed:

Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list:

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Claimed:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/30/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here. Teams have until 3pm CT Tuesday to pare their rosters down to 53 players.

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: LB Darron Lee

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/5/21

We’ll keep track of the latest reserve/futures deals here:

Carolina Panthers 

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Broncos WR Kendall Hinton To Start At QB

All four of the Broncos’ quarterbacks have been ruled out for today’s game, putting the team in a truly unprecedented situation. With no other options available, wide receiver Kendall Hinton will be elevated from the practice squad and put under center against the Saints.

[RELATED: Broncos Lose All 4 QBs]

According to NFL.com’s James Palmer (on Twitter), there are people in the Broncos’ facility who have never even met Hinton. For those who are unfamiliar with Hinton — inside and outside of Denver headquarters — he’s a Wake Forest product who started out as a dual-threat QB for the Demon Deacons. Then, when an ankle injury and a suspension took him out of the equation, he converted to wide receiver. Hinton topped 1,000 yards in his senior season, leading him to a UDFA deal with the Broncos earlier this year.

Hinton hasn’t played QB in a long time and he reportedly hasn’t practiced as a passer in years. Still, he represents the Broncos’ only real option today. He’ll be backstopped by running back/emergency QB Royce Freeman, who attempted just one pass in four seasons at Oregon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Broncos Add Seven UDFAs

The Broncos made 10 draft picks and will, for now, go with a smaller UDFA group. Denver announced seven UDFA signings on Sunday; here is the full list:

Denver has a modern history of coaxing immense success from UDFAs, having identified All-Pros Chris Harris and Pro Bowlers Phillip Lindsay, C.J. Anderson and Shaquil Barrett since 2011. This year’s group interestingly includes two wide receivers after a three-wideout draft. Hinton started his college career at quarterback, while the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Manning dominated at the Division II level. He caught 68 passes for 1,462 yards and 22 touchdowns last season.

Neal started at Ball State before transferring to Vanderbilt for his senior season. Coleman’s eight interceptions ranked third in Division I-FBS last season. Watts stands 6-foot-8 and joins a team that has an uncertain left tackle situation, with Garett Bolles and Elijah Wilkinson set to vie for a spot that has lacked stability since Ryan Clady‘s 2016 departure. The Broncos did not draft a tackle.

The Broncos gave Bellamy a $25K signing bonus, per Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter). Manning received $12.5K to sign, with Hinton receiving a $10K signing bonus.