Su'a Cravens

Broncos Bench Two Players Ahead Of Pivotal Game

The Broncos are playing a game they must win to keep their playoff hopes alive in a couple of hours, and are making a major change ahead of the game. 

Outside linebacker Shane Ray and safety Su’a Cravens will be benched and be healthy scratches for the game against the Browns, a source told Mike Klis of Denver 9 News. Klis writes that the moves are “strictly a coach’s decision”, meaning embattled head coach Vance Joseph made the call. Ray was a first round pick of the Broncos back in 2015, and has mostly been a disappointment after a promising first two years. He’s battled various injuries and has just one sack this year, and the team declined his fifth-year team option earlier this year. He’ll be a free agent after the season, so it’s quite possible he’s played his last down in a Broncos uniform.

Cravens is in his first year with the Broncos after spending his first two years in the league with Washington. Cravens was a second round pick of the Redskins in 2016, but quickly had a falling out with the organization. The Broncos traded a couple of draft picks to acquire Cravens this past March, and he’s been a major disappointment. He missed most of the year with a knee injury, and Klis notes that he’s “struggled in coverage” since returning.

Both of the players had been seeing significant snaps on defense, so it’s a major shakeup. It feels like a last gasp for Joseph, as he seems almost certain to lose his job if the team misses the playoffs. There have been whispers in the past about Joseph losing the locker room, so it will be very interesting to see how these moves go over.

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Broncos To Activate Su’a Cravens

The Broncos will activate safety/linebacker Su’a Cravens off of the injured reserve list before the Saturday deadline, a source tells Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). Cravens is expected to play on Sunday against the Texans, giving the Broncos a glimpse at their offseason acquisition. 

In March, the Broncos shipped a fifth-round pick to the Redskins for Cravens. The former second-round pick’s exit from Washington was strange, to say the very least. After a promising rookie campaign in 2016, Cravens abruptly announced his retirement prior to the 2017 season. He quickly reversed that decision, but the Redskins countered by placing him on the reserve/left squad list, barring him from playing last year.

This year, Cravens was sidelined by meniscus surgery. Fortunately, his IR stay gave him an opportunity to clamp down on his diet and exercise routine, and he says he’s lost ten pounds at the behest of coaches.

The Broncos recently lost backup safety Jamal Carter to a season-nullifying injury, so Cravens will have an opportunity to pitch in as both a safety and sub-package linebacker. If the Broncos are to climb out of their 3-5 hole, they’ll need all the help they can get.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Su’a Cravens To Return To Practice

The first player to be designated to return from injured reserve this season is one who hasn’t played since December 2016, but the Broncos are in dire need of any help they can get.

Su’a Cravens will return to practice this week after being stashed on IR prior to the season. He’s been cleared to return, per The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala (on Twitter), and Cravens tweets he’s on track to face the Texans in Week 9.

Having seen injury trouble (and a public dispute) lead to a controversial exit from Washington, Cravens stands in line to supply depth and coverage aid for the Broncos’ defense. Cravens said (via Jhabvala, on Twitter) he underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus, and he’s down more than 10 pounds after Broncos coaches requested him to return as a leaner version.

Cravens can return to practice this week, and the Broncos have two weeks to decide if they want to activate him or keep him on IR throughout the season. It obviously can’t be assumed Cravens will return in Week 9, given his history, but this is a positive development for him.

Denver’s lost four straight and entered the season having lost backup safety Jamal Carter to a season-nullifying injury. The Broncos traded a fifth-round pick for Cravens in hopes he could help out as a safety and sub-package linebacker.

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Injury Notes: Lang, Wright, Cravens, Peterson

Lions offensive guard T.J. Lang is still in the concussion protocol after having suffered his sixth career brain injury, but the team is still expecting the veteran to be back at some point this season. The 31-year-old was even in the building last week helping the team prepare for their matchup against his former team, the Packers.

“He was in the room to be able to talk through some of the Green Bay stuff,” offensive line coach Jeff Davidson told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I try to talk to him about some of the personnel things that he knows. That’s the only thing I had to do as far as commenting on T.J. Looking forward to him going forward.”

The offensive lineman previously said that he’ll continue to play football as long as his body holds up. Lang has also dealt with back, ankle and shoulder injuries during his tenure in Detroit.

Let’s check out some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • While there’s still optimism surrounding Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright‘s return to the field, it won’t happen this weekend. ESPN’s Brady Henderson writes that the veteran will miss this weekend’s London matchup against the Raiders. Wright is still recovering from knee surgery, and head coach Pete Carroll said there’s no use in rushing him back. “He’ll run all throughout the week,” said Carroll. “It’s going to be too much to ask of him to get him back this game. I think we’ve got to make sure and take care of him and get him strong and confident and all that … I think we just need to maximize his opportunity to be at full strength, really recovered and confident and all that.”
  • Su’a Cravens is currently sitting on the injured reserve with a knee injury, but Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets that the Broncos safety is expected to return to practice next week. The 23-year-old is eligible to return following his team’s game against the Rams this weekend, and the organization will have three weeks to activate him. The 2016 second-round pick was acquired from the Redskins back in March, and he’ll be looking to crack a depth chart that already includes Darian StewartJustin Simmons, and Will Parks.
  • There seemed to be a difference in opinions when it came to Adrian Peterson‘s injury. ESPN’s John Keim tweets that the Redskins running back described the injury as a dislocation, while head coach Jay Gruden simply referred to it as a strain. Peterson underwent an MRI earlier today, and the tests ultimately revealed a strain (via USA Today’s Mike Jones on Twitter). The 33-year-old has compiled 242 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 60 carries this season.

Broncos’ Su’a Cravens To Undergo Surgery

Su’a Cravens missed most of the Broncos’ training camp before returning for their final preseason game. A setback in that game led to the safety being placed on IR.

Vance Joseph said (via’s Jeff Legwold) Cravens will need arthroscopic surgery on his knee, making the IR designation logical. Joseph hopes Cravens, who was still experiencing knee pain the day after his Denver debut, will be back after the required two-month absence.

This is the same knee he Cravens underwent surgery on last year, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic notes (subscription required), adding Cravens is expected to be one of Denver’s IR-return players. However, Cravens barely suited up for the Broncos during the preseason. Joseph was nonetheless pleased with Cravens’ lone game work last week.

Four safeties — Darian Stewart, Justin Simmons, Will Parks and Dymonte Thomas — remain on the Broncos’ active roster. While the team is is obviously hoping Cravens can help its defense later this season, he has not played in a game since December 2016.

The Broncos have lost two members of their projected Week 1 safety contingent, with second-year cog Jamal Carter out for the season. Acquired for a fifth-round pick, Cravens will not be able to return until Week 9. This latest setback continues the former second-round pick’s availability struggles as an NFLer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC West

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC West teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Broncos, Chiefs, Chargers, and Raiders are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s AFC West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Denver Broncos

Placed on injured reserve:




Practice squad:

Kansas City Chiefs


Placed on injured reserve:


Practice squad:

Los Angeles Chargers



Practice squad:

Oakland Raiders



Signed to practice squad:

* = suspended

AFC Notes: Broncos, Bridgewater, Patriots, Dolphins

Here are some assorted notes from around the AFC as we wrap up the weekend…

  • The Broncos will have two major roster questions to answer prior to Saturday’s roster cut-down deadline, opines Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post. First, the team has to figure out what to do with injured safety Su’a Cravens. The defensive back hasn’t practice since early August due to knee soreness, and he hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since late 2016. O’Halloran wonders if the team will have the roster space or patience to stash Cravens again. Meanwhile, the team will also have to decide on quarterback Paxton Lynch, who was recently demoted for Chad Kelly. The writer wonders whether the Broncos would rather keep the former first-rounder, replace him with a veteran backup, or roll with two quarterbacks for the start of the season.
  • Unless they receive an offer they can’t refuse, ESPN’s Rich Cimini believes the Jets should hold on to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The team should be focused on maintaining their depth, and the writer believes the signal-caller has more value to the team as a backup than a trade chip. If the Jets accept an offer that doesn’t include a third-rounder or better, Cimini believes it’d be a mistake. The writer also looks at several former Jets draft picks who are on the roster bubble, including linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin, wide receivers Charone Peake and Chad Hansen, and cornerback Juston Burris.
  • ESPN’s Mike Reiss can’t envision the Patriots adding wideout Dez Bryant. While the team could certainly use some reinforcement at the position (especially following Eric Decker‘s decision to retire), the writer question whether Bryant would be able to fit into the culture or system. If the team did want to add another wideout to their roster, Reiss believes that free agent (and former Patriot) Brandon LaFell would be a more logical target. Even in that case, the writer can’t see the team making a move unless there’s an injury at the position.
  • While the pairing of David Fales and Brock Osweiler may be relatively underwhelming, Dolphins coach Adam Gase isn’t expecting to add another backup quarterback behind Ryan Tannehill. While the coach would like to see some improvement from his co-second-stringers, he’s not concerned about their lackluster preseasons. “I think there’s room for improvement for sure,” Gase said (via Mike Florio of, “but it’s hard to put it all on them when you get the ball and you’re not expecting it or we’re not blocking the guys. That’s why it’s hard to evaluate quarterbacks sometimes in preseason games and you have to use all your practice time and what you know about guys’ history, and that’s what makes it tough to evaluate them sometimes.”

Extra Points: Bucs, Hargreaves, Seahawks

A video of Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves smoking a cigarette containing an unknown substance surfaced on Instagram this week, as Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times details. Hargreaves, a University of Florida product, has struggled in the first two years of his young career. Last year, the Bucs tried employing Hargreaves as their nickel cornerback before a hamstring injury ended his season after nine games.

The video alone is unlikely to get Hargreaves into trouble with the law or the NFL, but a positive test for a banned substance such as marijuana would violate the league’s substance abuse policy. All in all, it’s simply not a good look for a player who has failed to make good on his first-round status.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • At the owners’ meetings, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter link) heard Mark Sanchez‘s name “as a possibility” for the Seahawks. Someone like Sanchez could serve as a veteran backup to Russell Wilson now that Trevone Boykin is out of the picture.
  • The “Josh McDaniels rule” which would have allowed assistant coaches to sign on as head coaches elsewhere during the playoffs did not pass at this week’s owners’ meetings. Surprisingly, Colts GM Chris Ballard was not among those in support of the rule. “When you’re a playoff team, you’re trying to eliminate all the distractions that you can. And we’re going to be a playoff team and we’re going to have these issues,” Ballard said (via Stephen Holder of the Indy Star). “It becomes a slippery slope. We have rules in place for a reason. I think they’re good rules. It gives you a chance to interview and then, after the season, whatever happens, happens. In our case, he changed his mind and we moved on.”
  • New Broncos defender Su’a Cravens has the ability to play both safety and linebacker, but the team views him strictly as a safety, Ian Rapoport of tweets. The Broncos acquired Cravens from Washington on Wednesday in a deal that will net the Redskins a fifth-round pick plus upgraded picks in the fourth and fifth round and a conditional sixth-round choice in 2020.

Broncos Acquire Su’a Cravens From Redskins

The Broncos have acquired strong safety Su’a Cravens from the Redskins. The deal will see a fifth-round pick (No. 163 overall) go to Washington in return (Twitter link via Mike Klis of 9News). 

Also, as part of the deal, the Broncos and Redskins will swap fourth- and fifth-round picks. The Broncos will move down from No. 109 to No. 113 in the fourth round and from No. 142 to No. 149 in the fifth round. The Redskins will also receive a sixth-round pick in 2020 if Cravens appears in a playoff game for Denver. There are a lot of components in this deal, but the Broncos are essentially acquiring a talented former second-round pick for a fifth-round choice and change.

Cravens decided late in the 2016 offseason to retire from football. The news caught the Redskins completely off guard as they were banking on Cravens to start at one of their safety spots. The youngster reversed his decision hours later, but the Redskins were still skeptical about his desire to continue playing. After a short stay on the NFI list, the Redskins parked him on the reserve/left squad list, barring him from playing in 2017.

The versatile defender was diagnosed with Post Concussion Syndrome, according to a statement released by his agent late last year, but he is now “asymptomatic and cleared to return back to all things football.” The Redskins insisted that they would not trade Cravens this offseason, but they either had a change of heart or were not being entirely truthful.

We’re not trading him,” coach Jay Gruden said just weeks ago. “I just saw that on the ticker. He’s still a member of this football team and we have every intention of seeing where he’s at. I’ll have to talk to him and see where he’s at mentally. Physically, I know he’s going to be in great shape. The big thing is, is this something that he wants to do? He has to commit to it full time. He’s a good football player, there’s no doubt about it. He’s a great kid. I’m sure it will work out for him.”

The Broncos’ faith in safeties Darian Stewart, Justin Simmons, and Will Parks led them to part ways with former Pro Bowler T.J. Ward last September. If Cravens is healthy and ready to rededicate himself to football, Simmons or Stewart could be displaced from the starting lineup with Parks pushed a bit further down the depth chart. Simmons was arguably Denver’s best safety in 2017 and he plays at strong safety, so it will be an interesting situation to watch. Cravens may also see time at linebacker, as he did in his rookie season with the Redskins.

As a rookie, Cravens tallied 34 tackles, one sack, five passes defended, and one interception. In his ten games, Cravens graded out as the league’s No. 27 linebacker, per Pro Football Focus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Seeking Third-Rounder For Su’a Cravens?

Su’a Cravens may remain available despite Jay Gruden insisting the Redskins intend to keep him in the fold.

The Redskins are setting the price high to move Cravens, who still has three years remaining on his rookie deal. Washington’s aiming to land a third-round pick for the player it selected in the 2016 second round, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports.

This price could ensure Cravens stays in Washington, given his absence from football in 2017, but the Broncos did express interest in a potential deal. It’s possible this price tag scared off Denver, which is set to return safety starters Darian Stewart and Justin Simmons. The Broncos do have a need at linebacker, where Cravens played part-time as a rookie, but it’s unclear how far these talks progressed.

Washington turned to fourth-round rookie Montae Nicholson last season alongside D.J. Swearinger, and the team just re-signed Deshazor Everett. So, the Redskins in a bit better spot at safety than they were when Cravens last played.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.