clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Broncos 2015 free agency: Eddie Royal a dual-threat option for Denver

Denver needs depth at receiver and returner. Eddie Royal could fill both roles.

Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESS

Could Eddie Royal, 28, return to Denver?

If the Broncos want to upgrade the slot position and address their special teams, Royal is worth consideration.

Denver never found a reliable option at returner last year. Three different players returned punts over the course of the season. Isaiah Burse averaged averaged 7.3 yards on punt returns before being cut and later signed to the team's practice squad. He'll be back in 2015 (he signed a future contract), but Denver has shown they view him as expendable.

Wes Welker ended the season as Denver's punt returner, averaging 6.7 yards per return. He is a free agent and is not expected to return. Second-year receiver Cody Latimer and speedster Emmanuel Sanders are candidates to replace him in the slot on offense.

Six different Broncos returned kickoffs a year ago, with cornerback Omar Bolden being the most productive. Bolden averaged 33 yards per return and totaled 429 yards on 13 returns.

Denver has players on the roster that can return, but the position is far from solidified. Jacoby Jones and Ted Ginn Jr. are available, but they are 30 and 29 years old, respectively.

Royal is a talented slot receiver that has extensive experience as a punt returner. His return skills earned him AFC Special Teams Player of the Month recognition in 2009 and he has a career average of 10.6 yards per punt return. Royal has returned three kicks for touchdowns in his career and averaged 9.1 yards per return with the Chargers last season.

In 2014, Royal posted the best receiving numbers since his rookie season, catching 62 passes for 778 yards and seven scores. He ranked third in receptions and second in touchdowns for San Diego.

Royal was drafted by the Broncos in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He played four seasons in Denver before signing with San Diego in 2012. Royal restructured his three-year deal with the Chargers last offseason and is now set to become an unrestricted free agent.

Denver should consider him in free agency.