According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Denver Broncos have released former third-round pick, running back Royce Freeman. This move was made to make room for the waiver claim they made for rookie running back Nate McCrary.
With a couple of waiver claims and the need for space on the roster, the #Broncos are cutting RB Royce Freeman, source said. He’s averaged 4 yards per carry over two years in Denver.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 1, 2021
The former third-round selection joined the Broncos with high expectations that were never met. He started out his rookie year but injuries and the emergence of Phillip Lindsay knocked him back on the depth chart. Then, the signing of Melvin Gordon last season made him the team's third running back on the depth chart. Then, this past offseason, the Broncos signed Mike Boone and traded up to select Javonte Williams with their second-round selection. This made the writing on the wall for Freeman rather clear. However, an injury to Mike Boone gave Freeman a chance to stick around, and he did make the initial 53-man roster. However, after a waiver claim on rookie running back Nate McCrary, the Broncos decided to move on.
Freeman will finish his career with 297 carries for 1,187 yards and 8 touchdowns. He also caught 69 balls for an additional 409 yards and 1 touchdown.
The Broncos' current running back depth chart will have Melvin Gordon and rookie Javonte Williams being the 1A and 1B in the backfield while McCrary likely contributes on special teams until Mike Boone is eligible to return after week 3. Will the Broncos keep all four backs on the roster once Boone returns? That’s a bridge they will have to cross once they get there, but it seems like something they may very likely do after claiming McCrary off waivers.
The Broncos have not yet released Freeman and are still trying to work a trade for the veteran running back according to 9NEWS Denver’s Mike Klis.
While plan is to release Royce Freeman, he has drawn interest in recent months from RB needy teams. Would not be surprised if a team gives up a late-round pick for the reliable Freeman. #9sports— Mike Klis (@mikeklis) September 1, 2021
The Broncos are hoping to net a late-round, likely conditional pick in return for Freeman.