Theo Riddick

Broncos Place Lock, Butt, Riddick On IR

The Broncos have placed quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Jake Butt, and running back Theo Riddick on injured reserve, per a team announcement. All three will be eligible to return to game action after eight weeks, but the Broncos can only activate up to two players from IR, not the whole trio.

The moves will clear the way for three signings: linebackers Keishawn Bierria and Corey Nelson and cornerback Davontae Harris. Bierria and Nelson (see story here) will receive one-year deals while Harris gets a two-year pact.

If all three players return to full health, and Joe Flacco plays well, Butt and Riddick could be the leaders in the clubhouse for the Broncos’ IR-DTR spots.

Broncos RB Theo Riddick Out 6-8 Weeks

New Broncos RB Theo Riddick suffered a slight shoulder fracture during the team’s preseason game against the Seahawks on Thursday, as Mike Klis of 9News.com reports. Riddick will be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Luckily, the injury will not require surgery, and Riddick should return no later than Week 5. There was some chatter recently that Devontae Booker could become a trade candidate in the wake of the Riddick signing, but given Riddick’s injury, Denver will almost certainly hang on to Booker, an experienced third-down back.

The injuries are starting to pile up a bit for the Broncos. We learned Friday that fullback Andy Janovich will also miss the next six to eight weeks, and special teams standout Joe Jones will be sidelined for a while as well.

Riddick, who is best-known for his receiving ability out of the backfield, was expected to serve as a strong complement to starter Phillip Lindsay. He may still play an important role for the Broncos this year, but the team will have to rely more heavily on Booker and Royce Freeman for the first several weeks of the season.

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West Rumors: 49ers, Seahawks, Broncos

It’s been a long offseason for the 49ers, who have seen numerous key players deal with injuries throughout the spring and summer. Add more to the list of San Francisco talents set to miss the preseason. Jerick McKinnon and Weston Richburg are both unlikely to play until Week 1. Given $18MM guaranteed, McKinnon is still dealing with knee trouble after missing all of last season with an ACL tear. The sixth-year running back received a platelet-rich plasma injection on his knee and is expected to miss the 49ers’ August slate, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com notes. The team activated him from the PUP list Tuesday, but Kyle Shanahan said his prized 2018 offseason signing experienced significant soreness after going through individual drills the past two days. Richburg, who remains on the active/PUP list after a January knee surgery, is being targeted a Week 1 return. So are Nick Bosa and Jason Verrett. The 49ers hope Dee Ford, who received a PRP injection on his injured knee, can play by the team’s dress-rehearsal preseason game.

Here’s the latest West news from outside of San Francisco:

  • With the Seahawks in desperate need of available pass rushers come Week 1, more blitz opportunities may be on tap. Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks (should he be on the field) are in position to be used more as rushers. “If we can play really good D, it’s going to be because of Bobby and K.J. and Mychal and the guys in the linebacker spot. We’re going to utilize them as much as we can to be a factor in all aspects, run and pass [defense],” Pete Carroll said, via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson. “Those guys are really good pass defenders, and they love coming off the edge too. We’ll plan on using those guys a lot.” After Frank Clark‘s departure, the Seahawks have Ziggy Ansah and L.J. Collier injured. Jarran Reed incurred a six-game suspension. Wright has not collected a sack since 2016, when he had four. Wagner had 4.5 that year but recorded 2.5 since.
  • Theo Riddick will earn a $2MM 2019 base salary with the Broncos, and $750K of it is fully guaranteed, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Another $250K will be available in per-game roster bonuses. Overall, Riddick signed for $2.5MM with $1MM guaranteed. This makes it a near-certainty Riddick will appear on the Broncos’ 53-man roster in September.
  • The Broncos are already down Todd Davis for multiple weeks; they will be without one of his top backups for longer than that. Joe Jones suffered a triceps injury this week, and a second opinion delivered more clarity on the inside linebacker’s timeline. Jones will be out between six and eight weeks, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets. But he will not need surgery, which could increase his chances of making the Broncos. If Jones hits IR before the Broncos finalize their 53-man unit, the special-teamer will be ineligible to return for them this season.
  • Returning 2018 fifth-round pick Johnny Townsend would seemingly be in line to keep his job as the Raiders‘ punter, but Jon Gruden said rookie UDFA A.J. Cole has put himself in the conversation to unseat the incumbent, per Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (on Twitter). Cole would be an option to handle Raiders kickoffs as well.

West Notes: Seahawks, Broncos, Breida

Although the Seahawks traded Frank Clark, have L.J. Collier sidelined for a while and Ziggy Ansah still yet to fully participate in training camp, they feature an additional pass rusher in Barkevious Mingo. The former first-round pick is now a full-time defensive end, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes. The 28-year-old defender worked as an outside linebacker in Seattle’s 4-3 scheme last season but came into the league as a 3-4 edge. That has never translated to sack production (10 in six seasons), but it looks like the Seahawks will attempt to see if Mingo’s first NFL work as a full-time lineman can.

That’s what I came into this league to do,’’ said Mingo, who played 545 snaps last season with Seattle. “I came into this league to rush the passer. And teams I’ve been on before, they’ve had a different idea of what they wanted me to do. And that’s OK. … But looking back at it, I’m happy I get to go back and do it (rush the passer now). I wish it would have been a little earlier in my career. But still, I’m just excited for the opportunity to go out there and just help the team.”

Moving first to some backfield situations, here is the latest from some of the NFL’s Mountain and Pacific Time Zone teams.

  • While Pete Carroll said 2018 first-rounder Rashaad Penny had a “great” offseason, the Seahawks still appear to be leaning toward keeping 2017 seventh-rounder Chris Carson as their starting running back. Penny is not playing on the same level Carson is during camp, per The Athletic’s Michael-Shawn Dugar (subscription required). Penny, though, will be a bigger part of Seattle’s offense than he was as a rookie. Mike Davis‘ Chicago relocation will ensure the San Diego State alum sees more time.
  • Theo Riddick visited the Broncos and Saints before deciding on Denver, but the six-year Lions back said (via Mike Klis of 9News) 10 teams reached out after Detroit released him. Riddick, 28, signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal to join Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman in the Broncos’ backfield equation. The longtime pass-catching back took reps with the Broncos’ first-string offense in his initial practice with the team.
  • As for where that leaves Devontae Booker: Klis notes there is a chance the team keeps four halfbacks and fullback Andy Janovich. However, Booker may now be a trade candidate. The Broncos used former California high school sprint champion Khalfani Muhammad in all four quarters of Thursday’s Hall of Fame Game.
  • Matt Breida may join Booker on the trade block, though that is not certain yet. The 49ers have one of the NFL’s deepest backfields, with Breida joining Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon. It’s been posited the 49ers will not have room for all three on game days, considering Raheem Mostert was re-signed for his special teams ability. A way Breida (5.3 yards per carry last season) could see time will be as a kick returner, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. Breida has only returned five NFL kicks, all coming in his 2017 rookie year.
  • Seahawks recently waived tight ends Justin Johnson and Tyrone Swoopes cleared waivers and will revert to the team’s IR list, Condotta tweets.

AFC West Notes: Brown, Broncos, Chiefs

Antonio Brown has not done much in Raiders training camp, beginning it on their active/NFI list and having missed almost all of his new team’s sessions thus far. An offseason foot problem, one recently labeled “very minor” has shelved the 31-year-old superstar. Brown is now set to visit a foot specialist on Saturday, Vic Tafur of The Athletic tweets. Jon Gruden said Friday he’s disappointed Brown has not been able to do much in camp, and while The Athletic’s Lindsay Jones tweets Brown is only dealing with foot blisters, a specialist visit is not a great sign to start Brown’s Oakland tenure. Frustration is mounting on both sides, but this is still being viewed a minor malady, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Michael Gehlken (Twitter links). Brown has missed six of seven Raider camp workouts and has not participated in a full session yet.

Here is the latest from the AFC West, shifting first to the Broncos’ most recent skill-position addition:

  • Theo Riddick ended up choosing the Broncos as his second NFL team. In an era that has seen running back value plunge considerably, Riddick did relatively well. His Broncos deal is for one year and $2.5MM, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. With a $1MM guarantee, it’s a good bet Riddick will join Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman in Denver’s Week 1 backfield. Incentives being met would spike this pact’s value to $3.3MM, Klis adds. The Broncos were fairly well-stocked at running back, though injuries have sidelined both Lindsay and Freeman for stretches to start their careers. Riddick would also stand to help the Broncos in the slot.
  • Continuing on the subject of Broncos roles, it is Bradley Chubb, not Von Miller, who is stationed in the Khalil Mack outside linebacker position in Vic Fangio‘s defense, Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com tweets. While likely to be viewed as Denver’s No. 2 pass rusher throughout Miller’s prime, Chubb is coming off a 12-sack rookie season.
  • The Chiefs are moving cornerback Tremon Smith to running back, as B.J. Kissel of the team’s official website tweets. Smith only played 82 defensive snaps as a rookie, serving primarily as a kick returner. The 2018 sixth-round pick joins Damien Williams, Carlos Hyde, 2018 UDFA Darrel Williams and 2019 sixth-rounder Darwin Thompson. Given Smith’s work as a return man, he seems a fairly safe bet to make his way back to Kansas City’s 53-man roster.

Broncos To Sign Theo Riddick

Running back Theo Riddick will sign a free agent deal with the Broncos later this week, a source tells Mike Klis of 9 News (on Twitter). The Saints and other teams were also in on Riddick, but he’ll join up with Denver and Joe Flacco instead. 

The Broncos already have a No. 1 running back in Phillip Lindsay, but Riddick’s soft hands could make him a strong No. 2 companion. Last year, Lindsay caught 35 passes for 241 yards and a touchdown out of the backfield. Riddick, meanwhile, has averaged a 62/474/2.5 stat line over the last four years, including a showing of 80/697/3 in 2015.

Riddick generated immediate interest, despite being a running back going into his seventh season. Despite the constantly depressed market, Riddick’s pass-catching ability stood out – his 285 catches since his 2013 slate is the third-highest of any RB in that span. Meanwhile, his 2,238 receiving yards is No. 4 among backs.

The Broncos now have some extra firepower in their artillery, while the Saints may or may not continue their search for backfield help. In the last week, they’ve lost out on both Riddick and Alfred Morris, who signed with the Cowboys.

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Theo Riddick Down To Broncos, Saints?

Theo Riddick generated some interest after the Lions ended his six-year tenure last week, and the seventh-year pass-catching back looks to be deciding between the two teams he visited. It appears to be a Broncos-or-Saints decision for the veteran back, per Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter).

This is interesting because of a previous report. Riddick was tabbed, per NOLA.com’s Herbie Teope (Twitter link), as hoping to take his time before choosing his next team. More visits were potentially on the agenda, though Teope did not indicate a third team was definitively in the mix. He now hears that it’s indeed Denver or New Orleans for the 28-year-old back (Twitter link).

Offensive assistants for both teams likely have played roles in this recruitment. Riddick played under Broncos running backs coach Curtis Modkins from 2013-15, with Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi also in Detroit during that time — as Lions OC from 2014-15.

It’s interesting in an era of running back marginalization that Riddick has generated immediate interest going into his seventh season, but he has shown a defined skill set that fits well in the modern game. Riddick has 285 receptions since his 2013 rookie slate; that’s third in the NFL among running backs over that span. His 2,238 receiving yards are fourth among backs.

Both the Broncos and Saints have solidified first- and second-string backs, with Phillip Lindsay and Alvin Kamara starting and Royce Freeman and Latavius Murray in place as respective complementary pieces. The Broncos have fourth-year back Devontae Booker in place behind Lindsay and Freeman, but Riddick has shown much more as a receiver.

The Saints also lost out on potential target Alfred Morris, who agreed to terms with the Cowboys minutes ago. While Morris and Riddick do not have similar skill sets, the Saints are showing urgency to bring in some help behind their top two backs. Buck Allen has not suited up for camp yet, leaving former Riddick Detroit teammate Dwayne Washington among those seeing time in his absence. While Booker would seemingly stay on as Denver’s third-string back if Riddick opts for New Orleans, Larry Holder of The Athletic writes (subscription required) the Saints’ No. 3 job is wide open.

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Broncos To Meet With Theo Riddick

Former Lions running back Theo Riddick is scheduled to visit the Broncos, a source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). This marks the second visit on Riddick’s free agency tour after he huddled up with the Saints on Sunday. 

The pass-catching specialist had some excellent years in Detroit, but the rise of Kerryon Johnson lessened his importance with the Lions. When the club signed C.J. Anderson this offseason, it was yet another indication that they could move on from the 28-year-old.

The Broncos already have a No. 1 running back in Phillip Lindsay, but Riddick’s soft hands could make him a strong No. 2 companion. Last year, Lindsay caught 35 passes for 241 yards and a touchdown out of the backfield. Riddick, meanwhile, has averaged a 62/474/2.5 stat line over the last four years, including a showing of 80/697/3 in 2015.

In addition to the Broncos and Saints, the Vikings are said to have some level of interest in the veteran.

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North Notes: RGIII, Duke, Vikings

Ravens backup QB Robert Griffin III will miss four to eight weeks after suffering a hairline fracture in his right thumb Saturday night, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Baltimore is optimistic that RGIII will be ready for Week 1, but if he cannot return on the early side of his recovery timeline, he will miss at least some regular season time. The Ravens will surely sign a free agent signal-caller in short order, as the only other QB on the roster behind starter Lamar Jackson is sixth-round rookie Trace McSorley. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic says Josh Johnson, who has been on Baltimore’s preseason roster before, makes the most sense (Twitter link).

Now for more from the league’s north divisions:

  • Browns RB Duke Johnson suffered a hamstring injury Saturday, and ESPN’s Josina Anderson reports that the ailment could force Johnson to miss some time (Twitter link). That will not help the fifth-year back in his quest to get traded out of Cleveland.
  • The way that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin ran his field-goal drill Saturday — having incumbent Chris Boswell and challenger Matthew Wright alternate kicks rather than having Boswell take all of his tries before resetting the drill — is a departure from the way he has done things in the past, which suggests that Pittsburgh really is open to moving on from Boswell. Mark Kaboly of The Athletic still believes it’s more likely than not that Boswell will be kicking for the Steelers in 2019, but the pressure is definitely on.
  • Darren Wolfson of KSTP.com says that the Vikings have some interest in running back Theo Riddick, who was released by the Lions on Saturday (Twitter link). Minnesota does not have a visit set up at this time, though Riddick will meet with at least one other team in addition to his summit with the Saints.
  • Orlando Scandrick visited with the Vikings last week before signing with the Eagles, and Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that Minnesota did not extend a contract offer to Scandrick. The Vikes have worked out several CBs recently, and when asked whether the club would ultimately sign one, head coach Mike Zimmer said that’s ultimately up to GM Rick Spielman. Zimmer said, “we’re always looking for players. We’ll keep pounding the pavement” (Twitter link via Tomasson).

Theo Riddick To Visit Saints

Theo Riddick was surprisingly cut by the Lions earlier today, and he isn’t wasting any time searching for a new home. The veteran running back will take his first visit with the Saints, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

The Lions drafted Riddick in the sixth round back in 2013, and he’d been with them ever since. Riddick has always operated primarily as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, and he often shined in that role with Detroit. In each of the past four seasons, he eclipsed 50 receptions, and he was a nice safety blanket for Matthew Stafford. Riddick had been set to enter the final year of a three-year, $11.5MM extension he signed in 2016. Last year he had 40 carries for 171 yards and 61 receptions for 384 yards. His best year was in 2015, when he had 80 receptions for 697 yards.

There were some inklings that the Lions might move on, so he likely wasn’t caught too off-guard. The Lions signed C.J. Anderson this offseason, and also wanted to give promising second-year player Kerryon Johnson more playing time. The Saints aren’t going to be the only team interested in Riddick, but they’ll have the chance to sign him first. Still only 28 and never used too much as a runner, he should have plenty left in the tank physically

New Orleans’ interest is intriguing since they already have Alvin Kamara as an excellent pass-catcher out of the backfield. The Saints did lose Mark Ingram this offseason but his style of play isn’t at all similar to Riddick’s, and they also signed Latavius Murray to backup Kamara. Still, the Saints struggled for consistent receiving options behind Michael Thomas and Kamara last year, and Sean Payton can never have too many weapons. We’ll keep you posted as we hear anything else.

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