Greg Dulcich

Broncos TE Greg Dulcich Back At Practice

Battling chronic hamstring trouble over his first two NFL seasons, Greg Dulcich has landed on IR four times due to this particular issue. While this has happened twice in 2023, the Broncos have not given up on the pass-catching tight end contributing this season.

Dulcich is back at Broncos practice Wednesday; the team designated the second-year tight end to return from IR, per the Denver Gazette’s Chris Tomasson. Dulcich has been out since aggravating his hamstring injury in Week 6. The UCLA product initially suffered the injury in Week 1. Teams can activate a player from IR twice in one season, but both moves go toward the team’s activation total. The Broncos have five IR activations left.

While the Broncos have turned their season around by winning six out of their past seven games, they have not received much production from their tight end position. Adam Trautman‘s precise placement on a touchdown against the Browns notwithstanding, no Denver tight end has surpassed 150 receiving yards this year. In just 10 games last year, Dulcich posted 411.

The Broncos placed Dulcich on IR twice as a rookie, stashing him on the injured list to start his career and moving him back to close the season. While Dulcich stood out on a broken offense in between, his hamstring issues followed him to Year 2. The UCLA product hit IR after Week 1, and after only 11 snaps against the Chiefs in Week 6, he needed to be shut down once again. Dulcich has already missed 17 games through two seasons.

During the Broncos’ first draft after trading a bounty for Russell Wilson, they selected Dulcich with their second pick. Last year’s No. 80 overall choice scored twice and averaged 12.5 yards per catch in 2022, but injuries have obviously marred his career. With Sean Payton having not been in Denver when the team chose Dulcich, the young pass catcher is not off to a good start with the new HC. Payton traded for ex-Saint Trautman during the draft.

Trautman is playing on an expiring contract, and Dulcich has spent much his NFL time rehabbing. These circumstances will likely lead the Broncos making a notable investment in a tight end during Payton’s second offseason in charge. But Dulcich staying healthy to close this season would help his cause. The Broncos have three weeks from today to activate the 6-foot-4 talent.

Beyond Dulcich and safety Caden Sterns, the Broncos have gone through the season healthier than in recent years. The team did lose one of its top edge rushers against the Chargers, but Payton noted Wednesday (via Denver7’s Troy Renck) Nik Bonitto is not a candidate to land on IR. The 2022 second-round pick suffered a knee injury in Week 14.

Broncos Expect TE Greg Dulcich To Return This Season

Although the Broncos are healthier than they were at this point last season, the team has not seen much of its top receiving tight end. Denver activated Greg Dulcich from IR in October, only to see the 2022 third-round pick aggravate his hamstring injury and need to return to the injured list.

Dulcich began last season with a hamstring injury as well, but the UCLA product has gone down twice this year, seeing a Week 1 injury lead to another rehab effort. In total, Dulcich has dealt with four injuries to the same hamstring since coming into the league. He has already landed on IR four times.

It is safe to label this a chronic issue for the talented pass catcher. That said, the Broncos are hoping to use another IR activation on Dulcich this season. Sean Payton said (via the Denver Post’s Parker Gabriel) the team expects Dulcich back in uniform at some point this year.

The 23-year-old tight end has seen specialists, per Payton, who had April trade acquisition Adam Trautman starting ahead of Dulcich to open the season. The Broncos have not seen much from their tight end position, at least from a receiving standpoint, this season. Trautman, whom the Saints discarded in a pick-swap deal that netted them a sixth-rounder, leads Broncos tight ends with 11 receptions for just 69 yards.

A month after trading Noah Fant to the Seahawks in the Russell Wilson trade, the Broncos made Dulcich their centerpiece player at tight end. Last season, Dulcich missed the team’s first five games and their final two due to a hamstring injury. Like they did this year, the Broncos activated Dulcich from IR in Week 6. Between then and a Dec. 30 IR placement, the 6-foot-4 cog totaled 411 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 33 receptions.

The Broncos can use a second IR activation on Dulcich this season, but it will count toward their overall total. Six activations remain for Payton’s team, providing some flexibility as it enters the season’s second half. Teams can only activate a player from IR twice per season; Dulcich is not eligible for activation until Week 12. Even if Dulcich does return later this season and becomes an auxiliary Wilson target, the Broncos will probably enter the 2024 offseason with tight end as a need area.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/21/23

Here are the minor moves made around the league in advance of the Week 7 slate of Sunday games:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos 

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Restored to active roster (from suspension exemption): DE Charles Omenihu

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New York Giants 

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Commanders

Dulcich already had one IR stint this season due to an aggravation of last year’s hamstring injury. The 2022 third-rounder has appeared in only two contests so far this season, and in the most recent one he suffered yet another setback. As a result, he will once again be shut down for at least four weeks.

The Giants’ decision to again promote DeVito points to starter Daniel Jones missing another game. Indeed, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports Jones is considered a “longshot” to play tomorrow against the Commanders. It will in all likelihood be Tyrod Taylor under center for New York in Week 7 while Jones continues to recover from his neck injury.

Broncos To Activate TE Greg Dulcich From IR

OCTOBER 12: Dulcich’s ramp-up period will be short. The Broncos are expected to activate the second-year tight end for tonight’s Week 6 matchup against the Chiefs, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler tweets. While a full workload should not be expected, the 2022 third-round pick represents another weapon coming back for the 1-4 squad. Dulcich’s return timetable resembles his 2022 debut, when he came off IR — after a hamstring injury — in Week 6 against the Chargers, a game in which the UCLA product scored a touchdown.

OCTOBER 10: The Broncos welcomed back a key offensive piece today. The team announced that tight end Greg Dulcich was a limited participant at Tuesday’s walkthrough. Dulcich’s return to practice means the Broncos now have 21 days to activate the player from injured reserve.

Dulcich suffered a hamstring injury in Week 1 that ultimately led to his placement on IR. As Mike Klis of 9News in Denver points out, the Broncos opened Dulcich’s 21-day window for only a single practice. This could be an indication that the Broncos believe he’s ready to go for Thursday’s game against the Chiefs.

“He’s out here moving around,” coach Sean Payton said today when asked about the tight end’s status for Week 6 (via the team’s website). “… I don’t want to guess relative to this week’s game, but he’s close.”

The 2022 third-round pick had a productive rookie season, hauling in 33 catches for 411 yards and two touchdowns. There was optimism that he could take another step forward in 2022, and he hauled in a pair of catches before exiting the season opener.

Adam Trautman has received the majority of the snaps at tight end this season, hauling in nine catches for 60 yards and one touchdown (although all of that production came in two of his five games). Chris Manhertz has soaked up the rest of the snaps at the position but has mostly served as a blocker, with the 31-year-old hauling in a single catch.

Broncos Place TE Greg Dulcich On IR

The recurrence of Greg Dulcich‘s hamstring injury will keep him sidelined for an extended stretch. The Broncos announced on Saturday that the second-year tight end was placed on injured reserve.

Dulcich missed seven games during his rookie campaign, and he reaggravated his hamstring in the same leg during Week 1. As a result, it was learned he would miss multiple games while the team took a cautious approach with his recovery. Today’s decision guarantees Dulcich will be shut down for at least the next four weeks.

The UCLA product flashed potential last year, posting a 33-411-2 statline despite missed time and the overall struggles of Denver’s passing attack. The arrival of head coach Sean Payton brought about a new role for Dulcich and high expectations that he would take a step forward in 2023 as an important member of the team’s revamped offense. Instead, he will now once again be forced to turn his attention to recovery while the shorthanded Broncos move forward in search of better production through the air.

Those efforts will be boosted by the return of wideout Jerry Jeudy, who was held out of the team’s season-opening loss due to a hamstring injury of his own. The former first-rounder will lead a receiving corps which is without Tim Patrick and K.J. Hamler, the absences of whom are compounded by the loss of Dulcich as the team’s top pass-catching tight end. The latter’s stint on the sidelines should lead to a greater involvement for Adam Trautman, one of several former Payton-era Saints who found their way to the Broncos this offseason.

Bringing Dulcich back into the fold when he is healthy will require Denver using one of its eight IR activations available during the year. It would come as no surprise if the team elected not to rush the 23-year-old back into action given his role in the offense and history of injury issues so early in his career. Nevertheless, his return will be a welcomed development for a Broncos team looking to rebound from last week’s defeat to begin Payton’s tenure at the helm.

Injury Notes: Clark, Dulcich, Eagles

Frank Clark will be sidelined for a few weeks. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Broncos defensive end will miss “a couple weeks” after suffering a hip injury during yesterday’s practice.

Fortunately, it doesn’t sound like this is a long-term issue, and there’s been no indication that Clark will land on injured reserve. Per Rapoport, the veteran is considered week-to-week.

The former Pro Bowler was cut by the Broncos back in March before eventually landing in Denver. As Troy Renck of Denver7 notes, Clark has struggled to establish a role in Denver, with the 30-year-old serving as a situational pass rusher during the season opener. Clark finished that contest with a pair of tackles while appearing in 25 defensive snaps.

This comes with Baron Browning sitting on PUP, so Clark’s role could be made even more uncertain when his teammate returns. A few weeks off the field probably won’t help his case for a significant role in Denver.

2022 ended Clark’s three-year stretch of earning Pro Bowl nods, but he was still productive with the Chiefs. In 15 games, the pass rusher compiled 39 tackles and five sacks. He showed up during Kansas City’s run to a Super Bowl championship, collecting another seven tackles and 2.5 sacks in three games.

More injury notes from around the NFL…

  • Greg Dulcich is once again dealing with a hamstring injury. After missing seven games for the Broncos during the 2022 season, the tight end will once again miss multiple weeks while dealing with a hamstring injury in the same leg, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The organization intends to take it slow with Dulcich, meaning it could be a bit before he returns to the field. The 2022 third-round pick finished his rookie campaign with 33 catches for 411 yards and two touchdowns.
  • A trio of Eagles players were ruled out early for Thursday Night Football. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported yesterday that running back Kenneth Gainwell (ribs), cornerback James Bradberry (concussion), and safety Reed Blankenship (ribs) would all be sidelined for Philly’s Week 2 matchup against the Vikings. The Eagles did get some good news, however, with defensive tackle Fletcher Cox being declared active for tonight’s game after being listed as questionable with a rib injury.
  • Rams wideout Puka Nacua didn’t practice today thanks to an oblique injury, according to Schefter. The rookie fifth-round pick was a standout during his NFL debut, garnering 15 targets from Matthew Stafford. Nacua ultimately finished the contest with 10 catches for 119 yards. With Cooper Kupp sidelined, the Rams may need to dig into their wide receiver depth against the 49ers.
  • Patriots cornerback Jack Jones landed on injured reserve before the season opener, keeping him off the field for at least the first month of the season. Per Albert Breer of TheMMQB, the 2022 fourth-round pick has an injury split in his contract, meaning the organization can lower Jones’ base salary from $870K to $475K as long as he sits on IR. That ends up being a loss of $22K per week for Jones.

Broncos Eyeing Altered Role For TE Greg Dulcich

Expectations are high for the Broncos offense heading into 2023, with head coach Sean Payton now at the helm. One of the key factors in the team’s ability to rebound from a highly disappointing performance on that side of the ball last season is the way in which Payton’s scheme will alter the workload of the unit’s main contributors.

[RELATED: Reviewing Broncos’ Offseason]

One of those is tight end Greg Dulcich, who came to the Miles High City last season after a productive final two seasons at UCLA. The third-rounder flashed potential with 33 receptions for 411 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but his rookie campaign was limited to 10 games due to a nagging hamstring issue.

In 2023, Dulcich could see not only an expanded workload but also a new job description. The 23-year-old was recently named by Payton as a candidate to play the ‘joker’ role, as detailed by Troy Renck of Denver7. That moniker is one which involves heavy usage in the passing game for a position which, in Dulcich’s case, typically calls for considerable usage as a run blocker.

“The joker player for us is not a receiver,” Payton elaborated, via ESPN’s Jeff Legwold“It’s either a running back or a tight end with exceptional ball skills and then you can work matchups. We’ve had that at the running back spot, Reggie Bush was the joker, Darren Sproles and Alvin Kamara. Those were all unique players, not just in the running game, but they had passing game skill sets that allowed you to do multiple things, and I think Greg does too.”

Dulcich’s skillset is indeed built more on proficiency as a pass-catcher than strength in the run game, making him a logical candidate for the transition. Denver also has free agent signing Chris Manhertz, trade acquisition Adam Trautman and 2020 fourth-rounder Albert Okwuegbunam on the depth chart at the TE spot. That trio could be well-suited to provide the Broncos with capable play while attempting to maximize the potential Dulcich has as a Swiss Army knife type in Year 2. It will be interesting to watch how he is deployed in training camp and the preseason in advance of a campaign where the team will be under considerable scrutiny.

Broncos Place TE Greg Dulcich On IR

The Broncos’ thoroughly underwhelming passing offense will be shorthanded to close out the season. Tight end Greg Dulcich has been placed on IR, per a team announcement.

The move officially ends his rookie campaign, one which was cut short by a lingering hamstring issue. The injury required an IR stint to begin the campaign, and delayed his NFL debut until Week 6; he re-aggravated it during the team’s disastrous Christmas Day loss to the Rams, which marked the final straw for head coach Nathaniel Hackett‘s tenure. In the 10 contests he played this year, the UCLA product had established himself as Denver’s top option at the position, logging a 75% snap share.

Dulcich quickly became one of Russell Wilson‘s preferred pass-catching options, receiving eight or more targets on four occasions this season. The third-rounder will end the year with a total of 33 receptions, 411 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Considering the fact that that total comes with seven missed games and within the league’s lowest-scoring offense, there will be plenty of optimism surrounding Dulcich moving forward.

His selection in this year’s draft came, of course, after 2019 first-rounder Noah Fant was included in the package Denver sent Seattle for Wilson. The latter move led to expectations for Albert Okwuegbunam to take on a more prominent pass-catching role. However, the 24-year-old has made only six appearances (and no starts) in 2022, and recorded just seven scoreless catches. That does not bode well for his prospects in 2023, the final year of his rookie contract.

Dulcich was one of only two Broncos players to record multiple touchdown catches during this lost season. The other – wideout Jerry Jeudy – is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. The latter is expected to be available, though, interim HC Jerry Rosburg said. With Dulcich sidelined, Denver will turn to Okwuegbunam and the likes of Eric Saubert, Eric Tomlinson and Andrew Beck at the tight end position for the next two weeks.

Broncos Activate Justin Simmons, Greg Dulcich, Michael Ojemudia From IR

OCTOBER 17: Denver has now taken the lead in injury activations this season. The Broncos moved their number of available injured-list activations from eight to five Monday, moving Simmons, Dulcich and Ojemudia onto their 53-man roster. Simmons, in particular, stands to provide the biggest boost. The Broncos have used him as a safety starter for six seasons now and have him signed to a top-five contract at the position. Denver will also be without second-year safety Caden Sterns in Los Angeles.

Dulcich’s return will make Week 1 starter Albert Okwuegbunam a healthy scratch. The third-year tight end has not developed as a blocker in the way the Broncos have hoped, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets, and has seen lower-level investments cut into his playing time. He has seven catches for 50 yards this season and has played just 16 snaps over the past two games.

OCTOBER 11: The Broncos have not used one of their injured reserve activations yet; that will likely change soon. The injury-plagued team will have three performers return to practice this week.

Pro Bowl safety Justin Simmons, third-round rookie tight end Greg Dulcich and third-year cornerback Michael Ojemudia will be designated for return ahead of Week 6, Nathaniel Hackett said Tuesday. Being back at practice Tuesday, as all three players were, starts each’s 21-day activation clock. For a Broncos team that lost two more starters to season-ending injuries recently (left tackle Garett Bolles and cornerback Ronald Darby), these additions should help its cause.

Simmons went down with a thigh injury during the Broncos’ season opener. Because four weeks have passed, he is eligible to return. Denver having its longest-tenured starter back when first eligible should be a boon for a defense that has continued to operate like one of the league’s best in the seven-year veteran’s absence.

[RELATED: How Damaging Has Broncos’ Start Been?]

This season marked Simmons’ first extended absence. Denver’s Seattle tilt represented his 66th straight start. The former third-round pick, who signed a $15.25MM-per-year extension after receiving his second franchise tag in 2o21, is in the second year of his once-safety-record contract. Simmons, 28, has intercepted 14 passes since 2019. His replacement, Caden Sterns, intercepted two against the Colts in Week 5; those picks were not enough to prevent a wildly panned Broncos overtime loss to the Colts.

Denver has used all four of its active-roster tight ends this season, incorporating each into offensive sets as the team transitions to Hackett’s attack. But Dulcich has been viewed as a possible starter. The Broncos used their second 2022 draft choice on the UCLA product, selecting him in Round 3. But a hamstring injury led to an IR trip to start the season.

Ojemudia, a 2020 third-round pick, was vying to be the Broncos’ top backup cornerback in training camp. After he missed most of 2021 with a hamstring malady, the John Elway-era draft choice suffered a dislocated elbow during a preseason game. The Iowa alum has not proven much as a pro yet, but Darby’s absence could lead to an opportunity. The Broncos have fourth-round rookie Damarri Mathis set to replace Darby, but Ojemudia — should the team end up activating him — could have a say in how Denver constructs its secondary going forward.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/1/22

Teams continue to tinker with their rosters after hundreds of players were cut earlier this week. We’ve tracked all of today’s minor moves below:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans