Hinton is perhaps most famous for a game during his rookie season in which he performed as the team’s emergency starting quarterback due to several COVID-19 absences. He didn’t quite stick at that position, but he found a role in the receiving corps, even expanding on that role in his second year in the position.
In 2022, Hinton performed as the WR3 behind Jeudy and Sutton, putting up the third-most catches and receiving yards in the receivers room. Despite where that ranks on the team’s stat sheet, Hinton failed to satisfy expectations with the opportunities he was given. Given his history with the team, though, there’s a chance Hinton could land back on the practice squad, should he clear waivers.
Also getting waived alongside Hinton are wide receivers JJ Koski and Nick Williams and cornerback Delonte Hood. Denver also released veteran offensive tackle Isaiah Prince. Prince has started six games in the NFL since being drafted, but that experience wasn’t enough to grant him a roster spot with the Broncos to start the year.
Mullen was placed on the NFI list two days ago. Apparently, his failure to disclose the non-football injury led to his release. Claimed off of waivers early into the offseason this year, Mullen has spent a good amount of time in Baltimore but has yet to see any game time. The Ravens hoped he might add some depth to their secondary, but with today’s transaction, the former second-round pick hits the free agent market.
Dantzler, a former third-round pick in Minnesota, also finds himself available in free agency after a short stint with the Bills. After signing with his second team of the offseason last month, Dantzler was waived with an injury designation.
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 Thomas–Reggie Bush duo and the Alvin Kamara–Mark Ingram combinations in New Orleans. While Gordon is now in Baltimore and Mike Boonefound 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.
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.
Entering the NFL after an injury prevented a workout at the 2020 Combine, KJ Hamler has not been able to avoid health setbacks as a pro. The Broncos wide receiver finished the past two seasons on IR and is now rehabbing a pectoral tear.
Hamler sustained the chest injury while training independently earlier this year, going down before the Broncos began their offseason program. While Hamler’s latest injury required surgery and put him on shaky ground for training camp, the speedy wideout expects to be cleared by the time the Broncos reconvene late next month, Denver7’s Troy Renck tweets.
Of course, it is worth wondering where Hamler stands with another new Broncos coaching staff. Since Hamler’s pec injury, the Broncos signed ex-Sean Payton Saints charge Marquez Callaway, doing so after pursuing free agentsAllen Lazard and Adam Thielen. Most importantly in Denver’s offseason receiver puzzle, Oklahoma deep threat Marvin Mims arrived via a second-round pick. The Broncos traded up to No. 63 for Mims, making him their first 2023 draftee despite entering the draft without a clear receiver need. Mims topped 20 yards per reception during the 2021 and ’22 seasons.
The Broncos are set to go into camp in better shape at wide receiver compared to how they finished last season. In addition to Hamler finishing another year on IR, the Broncos played all of 2022 without starter Tim Patrick. The former UDFA-turned-extension recipient has been cleared from the ACL tear he suffered during Denver’s 2022 camp, while Mims stands to provide an intriguing wild card for a position group still headlined by Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. Both of the Broncos’ top wideouts spent weeks in trade rumors, but Payton said before the draft the team would not move either. This did not stop teams from calling after the Mims pick. It should not be considered a lock Jeudy and Sutton will both be back, though Denver placed a high asking price — first- and second-round picks, respectively — for the veterans.
The Broncos became the first team since the 2003 Cardinals (Bryant Johnson, Anquan Boldin) to use first- and second-round picks on wideouts in the same draft. That move has not produced stability at the position. While Jeudy has grown into Denver’s No. 1 receiver — in an offense that has struggled to establish consistency — Hamler has not topped 400 receiving yards in a season. He has missed 28 career games, with ACL and hip injuries in September 2021 being his most significant deterrents. A hamstring problem sidelined Hamler for the close of last season. He finished with 165 receiving yards in seven games.
In addition to Hamler, Kendall Hinton looms as an uncertainty to be on the Broncos’ 53-man roster. But the former COVID 19-induced emergency quarterback remains with the team and has made steady contributions as a backup over the past two seasons. Hinton is also recovering from an offseason surgery, per Renck, who notes the former UDFA underwent an arthroscopic knee procedure. Hinton, 26, is also on track for what will be an interesting training camp for this position group.
Young continues to struggle to find a long-term home in the NFL. After Baltimore drafted him and traded him in his second year to the Rams, it took Young over a full season with the team to earn a starting role. When he was finally starting on a consistent basis, Los Angeles traded him once again to Denver where he started six straight games before being inactive for the remainder of the year. Young signed in the offseason with the Raiders but was released ahead of roster cut deadlines. He signed to the Buccaneers practice squad days before the season started and was active for the last four weeks, only playing on special teams. He’ll likely land on another practice squad somewhere in the league, perhaps with one of his former teams as both Baltimore and Los Angeles have experienced some injuries to their linebacker depth.
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 Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs and Raiders moves are noted below.
Here are Wednesday’s AFC West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.
Some John Elway-era defensive lineman have been swapped out for George Paton acquisitions. Purcell, a three-season Broncos starter whom the team extended in 2020, is the most notable. But former third-round pick Agim joins the former Alliance of American Football success story in being moved off Denver’s roster. Agim heads to waivers; Purcell is a vested veteran.
After helping Denver stabilize its run defense upon arrival in 2019, Purcell missed half the 2020 season due to injury and missed time in 2021 as well. The Broncos added D.J. Jones in free agency and drafted two D-linemen — Eyioma Uwazurike(Round 4) and Matt Henningsen (Round 6) — this year.
Muti was seeing first-string action this offseason but was the underdog to beat out Quinn Meinerz at right guard. The former Fresno State-developed sixth-rounder also underwent arthroscopic knee surgery recently. Hinton, whom the Broncos turned to upon losing all their QBs to the reserve/COVID-19 list against the Saints in 2020, contributed as a receiver last season. The Broncos kept rookie UDFA wideout Jalen Virgilover Hinton. He could be back in Denver via the practice squad. The Broncos signed Tomlinson this offseason but also brought back Eric Saubert. The team draftedGreg Dulcichin the third round as well. Those two join Albert Okwuegbunam and Andrew Beck on the team’s 53-man roster.