Javonte Williams

Broncos’ Javonte Williams Confirms Knee 100% Healthy

Having won two straight games, reasons for optimism are emerging for the Broncos entering the second half of the season. Much of any future success on offense in particular will no doubt depend on the running game, with Javonte Williams at the heart of the rushing attack.

The 2021 second-rounder flashed considerable potential as a rookie, posting 903 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground. That raised expectations for Year 2, but Williams was limited to only four games due to an ACL tear. Recovery from the injury has been a months-long process, but by now he has returned to full strength.

“Yeah, my confidence is definitely at 100%,” Williams said, via the Denver Gazette’s Chris Tomasson, when asked about the status of his knee in light of a recent uptick in production “I feel like I can do anything I was doing my rookie year and I feel like everything is good.”

The 23-year-old has rushed for at least 52 yards four times this season, including each of the past three games. That includes eclipsing the 80-yard mark in wins over the Packers and Chiefs; in the latter contest, Williams added his first touchdown of the season in the passing game. With the Broncos finding success in the ground attack recently, Williams will be a key player to watch down the stretch for Denver.

The 3-5 outfit has been at the center of considerable criticism for new head coach Sean Payton given expectations for the former Super Bowl winner and the presumption his arrival would help bring about a rebound from quarterback Russell Wilson. The latter has performed better than his disastrous debut campaign in the Mile High City last year, but the rushing attack has been a source of success. The Broncos entered Week 10 in 11th in the league with an average of 117 yards per game on the ground.

Undrafted rookie Jaleel McLaughlin has established himself as a capable depth running back (7.1 yards per carry, 333 scrimmage yards) but Williams should be in line for a large workload over the rest of the season. The declaration that his knee is back to its pre-injury form is a welcomed one given his importance to any potential Broncos playoff push.

Broncos Likely To Limit RB Javonte Williams’ Workload Upon Return

The Broncos’ offense will have a new play-caller in the form of head coach Sean Payton as well as new faces up front. One of the most signficant factors in the team’s ability to rebound from last season’s struggles, though, will be the play of lead running back Javonte Williams.

The 23-year-old’s second season in Denver was limited to just four games due to an ACL tear. The timing of the injury led to questions about his Week 1 availability for 2023, but he was able to take part in training camp, as both he and the team had hoped. That suggests Williams could be available to handle a full starter’s workload when the Broncos’ season kicks off next week.

However, ESPN’s Dan Graziano notes that Denver is expected to take a cautious approach with the North Carolina alum as he returns to game action. Players coming off ACL injuries typically experience a period of game time at less-than-normal production before truly reaching 100% health. It was thus come as little surprise if Williams were to be used sparingly in the first few games of the campaign.

Presuming that takes place, Samaje Perine would be in line to handle a larger workload. The 27-year-old signed a two-year, $7.5MM deal in free agency to serve as Denver’s pass-catching backup behind Williams. Perine has averaged a modest 4.0 yards per carry in his career, but he has 736 yards (7.3 per reception) and six touchdowns through the air, leading to expectations for continued production in the latter capacity.

Perine’s 175 carries as a rookie represent by far the most he has received in a single season in his career. He should not come near that mark if Williams is able to serve as a workhorse relatively soon, but the former will have an opportunity to earn extra playing time down the road if he delivers a strong performance early in the campaign.

Broncos RB Javonte Williams Avoids PUP To Start Camp

JULY 27: Williams confirmed (via 9News’ Mike Klis) Thursday he has been cleared for contact work. The North Carolina alum said he was told his recovery timetable could last around a year. Instead, he has been cleared before the 10-month mark. Sean Payton said the team will proceed cautiously with Williams, who has two years remaining on his rookie contract.

JULY 23: The Broncos delivered some good news as they announced some injury list placements today, leaving third-year running back Javonte Williams off of any lists as he continues to work his way back from last year’s season-ending injury. While there’s still work to be done, Williams’s continued participation in this offseason points to a Week 1 return for Denver’s lead back.

Williams suffered a blow to his sophomore season when he suffered a torn ACL after only four weeks of play last year, ending his season. The initial diagnosis was dire enough, but further reports detailed that Williams had also torn his LCL and posterior lateral corner, making his road to recovery a bit longer.

As Denver entered into the offseason, the goal became clear: get Williams back in time for training camp. Things were looking positive as Williams was on the field for spring activities. He only worked out in a limited capacity, but getting Williams on the field at all that early was a big step. Earlier this month, Williams expressed much of the same optimism that his team had been expressing publicly, believing himself that he’d be able to make a return by training camp. His absence from any designated injury lists today is yet another good sign of where he’s at in his recovery.

Williams injury had originally occurred during a season in which he was expected to take on much more work after splitting carries with Melvin Gordon as a rookie. When he returns this season, though, there won’t be too big of an expectation to work as a bell-cow in the Broncos offense. New head coach Sean Payton is certainly familiar with two-headed rushing attacks dating back to the Pierre ThomasReggie Bush duo and the Alvin KamaraMark Ingram combinations in New Orleans. While Gordon is now in Baltimore and Mike Boone found his way to Houston, Denver plans to pair Williams with former Bengals rusher Samaje Perine, who signed with the team in March. Perine has a history of being a strong RB2 over his career, which should take a bit of the pressure off of Williams’s shoulders.

While Williams’s absence from any lists is the main news, the Broncos did move four players from the active roster, according to Broncos lead writer Aric DiLalla. Outside linebacker Baron Browning and wide receiver Kendall Hinton were placed on the physically unable to perform list, while wide receiver K.J. Hamler and nose tackle Mike Purcell were placed on the non-football injury list.

Browning underwent knee surgery in June, but he hasn’t yet been ruled out from returning in time for the regular season. Hinton also went through a knee procedure, so his placement on the list is no surprise. Hamler was expected to be ready in time for training camp as he works his way back from a pectoral tear, but Denver will have to wait a little longer.

Broncos RB Javonte Williams Expects To Be Cleared For Training Camp

A busy Broncos offseason has been marked by several changes on the field and the sidelines, but one of its other top storylines has been the recovery process of Javonte Williams. The team’s lead running back provided the latest optimistic remarks on that front.

Williams spoke about his rehab from the torn ACL and LCL he suffered in October during a football camp he co-hosted. When asked about his readiness to return to the field for training camp later this month, the 23-year-old replied, “I mean, that’s the plan. I feel like I’m ready to go”(h/t ESPN’s Jeff Legwold).

That optimism matches what the Broncos have expressed publicly during the offseason regarding Williams’ ability to be fully healed in time for Week 1. The North Carolina product took part in OTAs (in a limited capacity) in May, adding further to the belief that the PUP list could be avoided during the summer. Receiving clearance in time for training camp would be another positive development.

“It’s just all about the evaluation, how the Broncos feel about it,” Williams – who stated that he will continue practicing while wearing a brace for the time being – added. “Just seeing how I feel, moving, just trying to get my speed back to normal, things like that.”

The Broncos added Samaje Perine in free agency, a move which should allow the veteran to play a notable role in the team’s offense. Denver did not bring back Melvin Gordon or Mike Boone, however, nor did they spend any draft capital at the RB position. As a result, Williams will once again be counted on to serve as the focal point of Denver’s ground game upon return.

Questions will understandably be asked about the former second-rounder’s ability to resume his productive form when back on the field, given the time usually required for players to fully regain their explosiveness after ACL injuries. As things currently stand, however, Williams can be expected to be cleared well in advance of Week 1.

Latest On Javonte Williams, Broncos’ Backfield

The Broncos intend to bring Javonte Williams along slowly as he returns from a devastating knee injury. If Williams isn’t ready to go for the start of the regular season, the team does have enough running back depth to temporarily get by, but Mike Klis of 9News.com believes the front office could still add another player to the mix.

Klis writes that it’s “possible” the Broncos bring in a veteran RB to their current grouping. However, a move wouldn’t be made before head coach Sean Payton and general manager George Paton get an extended look at Williams during training camp.

Williams’ sophomore season came to an end in Week 4 when he suffered a torn ACL, LCL, and posterolateral corner. Week 1 of the 2023 campaign would mark 11 months since the RB suffered his injury, and Klis writes that Williams did look good during his limited work at minicamp.

The Broncos’ ideal plan would be to have Williams in the starting lineup for the start of the season, but the team doesn’t want to be unprepared if the former second-round pick is forced to miss time. After splitting work with Melvin Gordon for the first two seasons of his career, Williams is primed to lead the RB room in 2023. After compiling 1,219 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns as a rookie, Williams had 280 yards in three-plus games before suffering his knee injury in 2023.

The Broncos brought in Samaje Perine to serve as the top backup in 2023, but with little starting experience in six NFL seasons, he would’t be relied on to be an every-down back with Williams sidelined. The Broncos are also rostering Tyler Badie, a sixth-round pick by the Ravens in 2022 who was scooped up by Denver late in the season. Former Saints backup Tony Jones Jr. and undrafted rookie Jaleel McLaughlin round out the RB room.

The Broncos have been connected to Dalvin Cook throughout the offseason, but this most recent report indicates that the organization is looking for a temporary fill-in for Williams…not someone who would completely revamp the depth chart.

Broncos Unlikely To Sign Dalvin Cook

The Broncos’ running back depth chart is presently topped by Javonte Williams, who tore his ACL in October, and career second fiddle Samaje Perine. Given that, and given GM George Paton‘s Vikings ties, Denver has been considered a logical landing spot for four-time Pro Bowl RB Dalvin Cook, who was released by Minnesota several days ago.

Mike Klis of 9News.com has thrown some cold water on those rumors, reporting that the Broncos “do not appear to be in on” Cook. Before Cook’s release became official, Klis reported that Denver was highly unlikely to swing an eleventh-hour trade for him, and financial considerations certainly played a part in that decision. Had the Broncos acquired Cook via trade, they would have been on the hook for his $10.4MM salary in 2023, as Cook had no desire to work out a restructure as part of a trade. And the Vikings, who clearly cut Cook for cap reasons, may not have been inclined to eat much salary to facilitate a swap.

Even though Cook is now on the free agent market, money remains a key issue. Per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (via Twitter), Cook still wants to make close to the $10.4MM salary he was due to earn with the Vikings, and multiple reporters (including Jackson) have suggested that he is willing to be patient in his efforts to secure that payout. At present, the Broncos only have about $6MM of cap space.

Of course, Denver could create the necessary salary cap room if it really wanted to, but on-field factors are also influencing the club’s decision to stay away from Cook. Williams participated in OTAs, and though he has yet to take part in 11-on-11 drills, Klis estimates that the third-year pro has a better than 50-50 chance to start the regular season opener. Williams clearly has RB1 ability, and even if he is not fully healthy for the start of the 2023 campaign, it does not make sense to sign Cook to a lucrative contract and not have a spot for Williams when he is ready to return to the field.

Klis does believe that the Broncos could seek to add another player with starting experience to its running back room, as the options behind Williams and Perine — Tony Jones, Jr., Tyler Badie, and UDFA rookie Jaleel McLaughlin — are either uninspiring or unproven. Such an addition, though, would be considerably less expensive than Cook.

If Cook’s market does not materialize in the way that he hopes, or if the current reports on Williams’ prognosis prove overly optimistic, it is possible that the Broncos could circle back to Cook (after all, they have reportedly monitored the Florida State product for some time). Until then, however, it appears that the Dolphins will remain the frontrunners for his services.

Javonte Williams Participating In OTAs

Javonte Williams‘ timetable continues to point to the talented running back being ready well before the Broncos’ regular season begins. After Sean Payton indicated Williams had a shot to avoid the active/PUP list and begin training camp on time, the third-year back was on the field for Denver’s OTA session Thursday.

Payton confirmed (via 9News’ Mike Klis) Williams worked in a limited capacity Thursday. Considering Williams’ position and the nature of his injury, any participation in OTAs represents good news for a Broncos team that lost much of its starting lineup to injury last season.

The Broncos lost Williams in Week 4 of last season, four days before they lost left tackle Garett Bolles for the year. Williams suffered ACL and LCL tears, along with posterolateral corner damage, and GM George Paton‘s April assessment — which hinted a return at some point during the 2023 season — did not paint a rosy outlook for the North Carolina alum. But everything since looks to signal Williams, barring a setback, will be ready in time for Week 1.

With Melvin Gordon out of the picture, Williams has a clear path toward the lead role in Denver’s backfield. Known for his tackle-shedding ability, the former second-round pick totaled 1,219 scrimmage yards as a rookie while playing alongside Gordon, who started for most of that 2021 season. The Broncos not only lost Williams on offense but played without Bolles, tackle Billy Turner, center Lloyd Cushenberry and wide receivers Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler for most or all of last season. Patrick, who suffered an ACL tear during training camp last year, has received full clearance to return.

Although Gordon and Mike Boone are no longer on the roster, the Broncos are expected to make free agent acquisition Samaje Perine a major part of their offense. Denver gave Perine a two-year, $7.5MM deal that came with $3MM guaranteed. Perine turned down a similar Bengals offer due to the prospect of increased playing time. With Payton often using multiple backs regularly — from the Pierre ThomasReggie Bush tandem to the more recent Alvin KamaraMark Ingram setup — it should be expected Perine will be asked to play a big role alongside Williams this season. From the looks of this situation in May, however, it does not appear Perine will be called upon to start in place of Williams early in the season.

Broncos Eyeing Javonte Williams Training Camp Return

Javonte Williams suffered a torn ACL in the Broncos’ Week 4 loss to the Raiders. This preceded a number of key Broncos going down during a dismal season. Williams news has been scarce this offseason, but rumblings of the third-year running back’s recovery time lasting into the season have surfaced.

Attempting to provide a bit more clarity on Williams’ situation, Sean Payton gave an optimistic timetable regarding the hard-charging runner’s health. Williams has a chance to return by training camp.

Our current starter’s doing extremely well,” Payton said of Williams. “I would tell you that we expect him to be ready for the start of training camp, and that’s good news.”

Payton also said he is “hopeful” Williams will avoid the PUP list going into camp. The active/PUP list does not carry the importance the reserve/PUP list does, seeing as the former is a training camp designation that does not mandate regular-season absences. Players can be moved off the active/PUP list at any point; anyone who ends the preseason on the reserve/PUP list must miss at least four games. But Williams being ready to go without restrictions by the time the Broncos break for camp in late July would represent a surprising development, considering the uncertainty surrounding this situation.

GM George Paton did not attach a recovery timetable for Williams in April, indicating the team was hopeful he would return “this season.” That put the prospect of essentially two lost seasons for the 2021 second-round pick into play. Considering Williams’ rookie contract runs through the 2024 season, his setback — one that also included LCL and posterolateral corner damage — threatened to derail much of his early-career run. Training camp comes 10-plus months out from Williams’ knee injury. That is well within range for a player to return from this common NFL malady, though more complicated injuries — like Chase Young‘s — can require longer recovery periods.

The Broncos signed Samaje Perine, who rejected a similar offer from the Bengals due to the prospect of more work in Denver, but did not draft a running back. (Perine signed a two-year, $7.5MM deal that includes $3MM guaranteed.) The team did not retain Mike Boone but did add ex-Payton Saints charge Tony Jones Jr. Former Ravens draftee Tyler Badie remains rostered as well. Still, the Broncos’ running back depth chart would be one of the league’s thinnest if Williams is forced to miss more time. The North Carolina alum being ready in time for the regular season would be a boon for the Broncos’ prospects, as they added Ben Powers and high-end run-blocking tackle Mike McGlinchey in free agency.

An “Angry Runs” regular as a rookie, Williams totaled 1,219 scrimmage yards and seven touchdowns in 2021. That performance came as the Broncos employed Melvin Gordon as their starter that year. Amid more fumbling trouble, the team cut Gordon late last season. Perine stands to give the Broncos insurance and will be the starter if Williams is not ready, but Payton’s update provides a rosier outlook.

Broncos RB Javonte Williams Facing Uncertain Return Timeline

The Broncos entered the 2022 season with significant expectations on offense primarily due to the arrival of Russell Wilson, but also with Javonte Williams set to take on a lead running back role. The latter’s breakout campaign was cut short, and it remains unclear when he will be back on the field.

Williams tore his ACL in October, limiting him to only four games in his second NFL season. The 22-year-old was poised to take over as the clear-cut No. 1 back in Denver, after he split snaps with veteran Melvin Gordon as a rookie. Williams’ snap share only rose to 54% in 2022, but he continued to flash potential with an average of 4.3 yards per carry while the team’s offensive issues began to show themselves.

The North Carolina alum was immediately ruled out for the season, and his recovery process includes rehabbing a torn LCL and posterior lateral corner. When asked about Williams’ progress so far, general manager George Paton offered an optimistic answer, albeit one which underscores the uncertainty surrounding when he will be able to play next season.

“Javonte is doing really well in his rehab,” he said, via Denver7’s Troy Renck“We don’t have a date, but we feel good. We feel good that he’ll be back this season. We’re not entirely sure when. He’s progressing very well… if there’s a runner there – no matter what point of the draft – and he’s the best player on our board, we’ll take a running back, that’s for sure.”

Denver already found a capable backup in Samaje Perine, who signed a two-year, $7.5MM contract in free agency. The 27-year-old played 54 games in Cincinnati, establishing himself as a dependable pass-catching back during his time with the Bengals. A larger role would await him for at least part of the 2023 campaign if Williams is indeed unable to suit up for Week 1.

Given Paton’s willingness to add another RB in the draft – which would come no earlier than the third round, since Denver doesn’t own any of the first 66 picks – the team’s backfield could become crowded when Williams recovers in full. The Broncos ranked 21st on the ground in 2022, averaging 114 rushing yards per game. A healthy Williams (and an offensive line which has seen multiple high-priced investments in free agency) should help boost that figure, though the point at which he will be back very much remains in the air.

Broncos RB Javonte Williams Suffers Torn ACL

The Broncos’ worst fears have been confirmed with respect to Javonte Williams. The second-year running back has suffered a torn ACL, and his season is over (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of NFL Network). His colleague Ian Rapoport adds that Williams also tore his LCL and posterior lateral corner, further lengthening his road to recovery. 

Williams injured his knee during last night’s loss to the Raiders, and it was immediately thought to be accompanied by a lengthy absence. He underwent an MRI earlier today, which has revealed the damage done to his second NFL campaign, and to the Broncos’ rushing attack.

One of the most highly-touted RB prospects in last year’s draft class, Williams put together a productive college career at North Carolina. That led to him hearing his name called in the second round, with the expectation that he would soon emerge as Denver’s undisputed lead back. He operated in a time share with veteran Melvin Gordon throughout the year, however, totaling 903 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

Despite the latter re-signing in the offseason, Williams was widely viewed as one of the top breakout candidates around the league. He saw a slight uptick in usage early in the 2022 season, with a snap share of 54%. In all, he totaled 204 scoreless yards on 47 carries, and was a factor in the passing game with 76 yards on 16 receptions. His loss will be felt on a Broncos offense which has been surprisingly inconsistent with quarterback Russell Wilson.

With Williams sidelined, Gordon could become the team’s every-down back. However, his well-documented fumbling issues have emerged once again this season, as he leads all running backs with four. Still, his consecutive 1,100-yard campaigns during his first two years in the Mile High City point to the production he is capable of. The next member on the team’s depth chart is Mike Boone, who saw a season-high 19 snaps in yesterday’s contest.

Williams will now begin the long recovery process, while the Broncos will look for short-term solutions to replace his production. The team is in better cap shape than most, so an addition from the pool of remaining free agents could be coming soon.