DENVER -- Brock to The Future.
It seems like yesterday Brock Osweiler exited to Houston for a fresh start. His departure, it turns out, had a Return To Sender stamp. Determined to add experience behind Trevor Siemian with Paxton Lynch sidelined indefinitely with a right shoulder injury, the Broncos are expected to sign Osweiler on Saturday. It can't become official until Osweiler's release from the Browns posts on the league transactions. Osweiler will sign Monday after a physical. He receives a one-year deal for $775,000.
"He's going to need a football rehab. We will welcome him with open arms and show him some love," said general manager John Elway, who made it clear Osweiler was returning as a backup. "Obviously, we thought a lot of Brock. Without him we don’t win a Super Bowl."
Osweiler has experience in offensive coordinator Mike McCoy's system, brief as it was in 2012. The Browns owe Osweiler $16 million this season, less any salary he receives from a new suitor. Osweiler left the Broncos after the 2015 season, signing a four-year, $72-million deal with the Texans. However, he failed miserably, never meshing with Bill O'Brien before the coach benched him in favor of Tom Savage. Cleveland absorbed Osweiler's salary this season in order to acquire a second-round draft pick.
"Having a veteran quarterback was critical for us," coach Vance Joseph said.
Osweiler's arrival is a result of Lynch's injury. Initially out for the first two-to-four games, Lynch will miss significant time to allow for healing of his throwing shoulder. Lynch has been wearing a sling since suffering the injury in the third preseason game.
Injuries change roster complexions. As I have hinted for weeks, outside linebacker Shane Ray is now expected to be sidelined for a longer period of the season. He is expected to be placed on the IR following surgery on his left wrist. The plan would be to bring him back at midseason, so with the bye week, he would only miss six games.
With Osweiler's boomerrang path as evidence, the NFL remains an odd, cold business. Sometimes, you call an Uber and a pumpkin shows up at your doorstep.
Dreams died on Saturday. Fan favorite Kyle Sloter's bid to make the Broncos ended as he was cut Saturday.
Sloter impressed the Broncos in the preseason, including Thursday's start. The Broncos would like to add Sloter to their 10-man practice squad if he clears waivers. Sloter impressed NFL scouts, but any team claiming the quarterback has to place him on the 53-man roster, complicating the decision.
"Thank you to Bronco country for all the support," Sloter tweeted. "Hopefully I'll be able to stick around in Denver. Next 24 hrs will be interesting."
The Broncos are willing to nearly $800,000 for Osweiler because of Lynch's absence. And remember, Siemian has battled injuries since college, and missed two games last season with a sprained left shoulder and sore foot.
The Broncos began paring down to 52 players on Saturday, leaving room to add Osweiler. The most high profile cut arrived Saturday morning with safety T.J. Ward telling Denver7 he was cut. The Broncos' decision signals confidence in young players Justin Simmons and Will Parks and paves way for undrafted rookie Jamal Carter to make the team.
It is a painful time of year. Beginning with the exit of running backs Stevan Ridley and Juwan Thompson, the flurry of moves required to reach the limit of 53 by 2 p.m. arrived Friday.
"It's hard because guys do everything you ask, and they get their dreams crushed," Joseph said.
Receiver Kalif Raymond, a bubble player who performed well in the preseason, told Denver7 he was cut. I had him making the team, but knew it was going to be difficult because of similarities to draft pick Isaiah McKenzie.
"I feel good. I am just going to keep working and stay ready," said Raymond, who should be a candidate for the practice squad.
The Broncos attempted to trade utility offensive lineman Michael Schofield, but found no takers. He was released Saturday after falling to third on the depth chart. Friday, the team found a taker for slumping tackle Ty Sambrailo, a former second-round draft choice, shipping him to the Atlanta Falcons for a fifth-round draft pick in 2018.
Ridley rushed for 109 yards on 38 carries this preseason, hardly effective, but he finished strong Thursday with a touchdown run and a 27-yard gallop. Thompson collected 85 yards on 14 carries. He proved a valuable special teams member, but was never able to find a consistent role as a fullback or backup tailback over the past few seasons. Nash is considered a strong candidate for the Broncos' 10-man practice squad.
Linebacker Danny Mason, signed for training camp depth after Shane Ray's wrist injury, was cut. Ray could be out for the first month of the season as he rebuilds strength in his wrist. Linebacker Deon Hollins was also let go along with tight end Steven Scheu. Raymond and Tyrique Jarrett both told Denver7 they hope to return to the Broncos' practice squad.
Kyle Peko failed to make the final cut. The Broncos will look for D-Line depth, and possibly a free agent like Ahtyba Rubin. Joseph indicated that Derek Wolfe (ankle) and Jared Crick (back) will return to practice this week, and there remains a possibility Zach Kerr (knee) will be available for the opener.
Broncos Roster Cuts/Moves:
T Ty Sambrailo (traded to Atlanta for 2018 5th round pick)
S T.J. Ward
QB Kyle Sloter
T/G Michael Schofield
WR Kalif Raymond
WR Marlon Brown
T Justin Murray
T Cedric Lang
T Elijah Wilkinson
RB Stevan Ridley
RB Juwan Thompson
RB Stanley Williams
TE Steven Scheu
TE Austin Traylor
WR Anthony Nash
C Dillon Day
NT Kyle Peko
DT Tyrique Jarrett
LB Deiontrez Mount
LB Danny Mason
LB Deon Hollins
LB Quentin Gause
LB Ken Ekanem
LB Jerrol Garcia-Williams
LB Kevin Snyder
OL Cameron Hunt
S Orion Stewart
S Dante Barnett
S Dymonte Thomas
CB Marcus Rios
CB Chris Lewis-Harris
DE Shakir Soto
DE Vontarrius Dora
DL Nelson Adams
TE Jake Butt (Reserve/NFI; can return this season)
QB Chad Kelly (NFI, essentially serving as a redshirt season)
WR Carlos Henderson (IR following surgery on left thumb, out for the season)
OLB Shane Ray (Expected to be added to IR on Sunday so can return this season, also opens roster spot)