Greg Dulcich

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

Broncos To Place TE Greg Dulcich, CB Michael Ojemudia On IR

Two Russell Wilson auxiliary weapons will not be available to start the season. While Tim Patrick will be down throughout 2022 after tearing an ACL early in training camp, George Paton confirmed Tuesday (via Denver7’s Troy Renck, on Twitter) rookie tight end Greg Dulcich will begin his season on IR.

The placements of Dulcich and cornerback Michael Ojemudia on short-term IR — which will sideline each for the season’s first four games — will allow the Broncos to bring back nose tackle Mike Purcell and tight end Eric Tomlinson, according to the second-year Denver GM. Both veterans were included among the Broncos’ cuts Tuesday.

A hamstring injury dogged Dulcich for most of training camp. The UCLA product suffered a setback early in camp and did not play in the Broncos’ preseason games. The team made Dulcich a key part of its 2022 draft, adding him with its second pick this year. With Albert Okwuegbunam going into a contract year, Dulcich could profile as the Broncos’ tight end of the future. But the team has not seen much from the Day 2 investment yet.

Ojemudia suffered a dislocated elbow in the Broncos’ second preseason game. This injury followed Jonas Griffith‘s elbow dislocation in the team’s preseason opener. Griffith is not slated to go on IR and could be ready for Week 1. For Ojemudia, this marks more of the same. The 2020 third-round pick missed most of last season with a hamstring injury. He was vying for the team’s top outside backup cornerback job behind starters Pat Surtain II and Ronald Darby.

A former Alliance of American Football cog, Purcell has been with the Broncos since 2019. The veteran nose tackle has started 23 games in that span, though injuries have intervened over the past two years. Purcell, 31, had signed a three-year, $14.8MM extension in 2020 but saw the Broncos bring in a high-priced replacement in D.J. Jones this offseason. A blocking tight end, Tomlinson spent much of the past two seasons with the Ravens. He joined Dulcich as the Broncos’ tight end newcomers this year.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/13/22

Several more mid- and late-round picks agreed to terms on their four-year rookie contracts Friday. Here are the latest agreements:

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

  • LB Malcolm Rodriguez (sixth round, Oklahoma State)
  • LB James Houston (sixth round, Jackson State)

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers