With outside linebacker Shane Ray and rookie tight end Jake Butt set to return to practice in next week, the Denver Broncos are going to be forced to part ways with at least two players before either player can appear in a game.
Ray is currently on the team’s Injured Reserve list after suffering an injury to his left wrist that required surgery during the first week of training camp. He will begin practicing with the team next Monday, and will be eligible to make his 2017 debut on October 30 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Butt is currently on Denver’s NFI (non-football injury) list as he continues to rehab the torn ACL he suffered in the Orange Bowl this past January while still playing for the Michigan Wolverines. Like Ray, Butt can start practicing with the team next Monday, but he will be eligible to return to game action as soon as October 22 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
There is one caveat with Butt’s status, however. Once the 22-year-old starts practicing, the Broncos have 21 days to either add him to their 53-man roster or keep him on the NFI list.
Both Ray and Butt are players the Broncos could use in 2017. Ray, a first-round pick in 2015, will add depth and talent to their already outstanding defense. Butt, when healthy, has the potential to be a Pro Bowl-caliber tight end – something that has been missing from the Denver offense for several years.
The unfortunate reality of the situation is that with Ray and Butt returning, the Broncos are going to have to cut two players to make room for them on their 53-man rosters. Here is a look at four candidates that could face the chopping block in favor of Ray and Butt in the next couple of weeks.
Jeff Heuerman, tight end
It would only make sense for the Broncos to release one of their three tight ends (A.J. Derby, Virgil Green or Heuerman) when Butt is added to their 53-man roster. At this point, Heuerman, who has shown signs of improvement, makes the most sense.
Kyle Peko, nose tackle
The Broncos have already been bouncing Peko around between their active roster and practice squad, which makes him the common sense pick to end up getting cut when Ray returns against the Chiefs. This scenario would leave the Broncos with virtually no depth at nose tackle, however.
Andy Janovich, fullback
I don’t see this one happening, but there is no denying that Janovich has a very minimal role in Denver’s offense. That said, he is one of Denver’s premier special teams players, in addition to being a valuable asset in short-yardage situations.
Jordan Taylor, wide receiver
Taylor is a fan-favorite and a solid special teams player, but he has yet to record a reception in 2017. The Broncos seem to be set with Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Bennie Fowler III, Isaiah McKenzie, and Cody Latimer as their top-five wide receivers.
The post Denver Broncos have a couple of tough roster cuts looming appeared first on All 22.