After making multiple waiver additions Wednesday, the Broncos cleared space for the new arrivals by cutting Royce Freeman, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
Freeman was set to go into his fourth season with the Broncos, but the team made multiple offseason moves to affect the former third-round pick’s standing. Denver signing Mike Boone and drafting Javonte Williams in Round 2 threatened Freeman’s roster spot, but after Boone suffered a quadriceps injury during training camp, the veteran runner made the team’s initial 53-man roster. But he is now headed for the waiver wire.
The Broncos claimed running back Nate McCrary off waivers from the Ravens on Wednesday and also added cornerback Mike Ford via the wire. McCrary is a rookie UDFA out of Division II Saginaw Valley State. He will be in line to play behind Williams and Melvin Gordon, which was to be Freeman’s role with Boone sidelined. The Lions waived Ford on Monday, doing so after he played three seasons with the team.
Acquired during John Elway‘s GM run, Freeman saw his playing time steadily decrease in Denver. The ex-Oregon Duck lost out to Phillip Lindsay as the Broncos’ primary back early, and after playing the B-side to Lindsay from 2018-19, Freeman was Denver’s third-stringer last season — after the team signed Gordon in free agency.
The between-the-tackles runner did average 4.9 yards per carry in 2020, but that came on just 35 totes. Freeman, 25, totaled just more than 1,000 yards over his first two seasons, rushing for eight touchdowns in that span.