Josh McDaniels announced in his weekly Monday press conference that both linebacker Joe Mays and tight end Dan Gronkowski would be headed to injured reserve, ending their 2010 seasons.
Both Mays and Gronkowski were injured in Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs, and both were acquired in the offseason via trades.
The Broncos sent cornerback Alphonso Smith and a draft pick to Detroit for Gronkowski and another pick, and Joe Mays was acquired for what will wind up being a 2012 draft choice because J.J. Arrington did not make the Eagles' final roster.
Gronkowski injured his ankle, and when initial x-rays were negative, he tried to actually finish the game. Josh McDaniels praised him for his toughness, but the second year tight end's injury was much worse than the x-ray revealed.
As of the time of this article, the Broncos have not chosen how they will replace the two players on the active roster. Daniel Coats, a tight end signed a few weeks back, could certainly be brought in to replace Gronkowski.
Replacing Mays will be more difficult, as the Broncos have already been ailing at the linebacker position enough this season.
Mays was quietly putting together an impressive second half to the 2010 season. He has 40 tackles on the year, 36 of which have come in the last seven games. It appeared as though Mays had provided a spark to the Denver defense with his hard-hitting, fiery style of play.
I don't know that Mays is an elite talent, but he is capable of being a decent starter in the NFL. He's a sure tackler and he will make someone pay for going across the middle.
Gronkowski only had eight receptions this season, but the Broncos have been unable to get their tight ends involved all year long, so that number should be taken with a grain of salt.