According to NBC Sports’ Matthew Berry, one of the more fascinating things he heard at the combine was about the health of Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams. He has heard there is a ‘WIDE range of possibilities’ when it comes to his return from the major knee injury he suffered last season.
The most fascinating nugget about Denver (and possibly of the whole combine) was about Javonte Williams’ health and I’m told there is a VERY wide range of possibilities regarding his return. There is a chance he is healthy to start the year. There is a chance he misses multiple games. And there is actually a chance he misses all of next year.
He was told that Williams could be ready for the season, could miss some games, or even miss the entire season. He continues and says that Williams is a lot more hurt than the team is currently letting on publicly and they are ‘secretly nervous’ about the health of their running back.
I was told he is currently a lot more hurt than the team is letting on publicly and that the Broncos are secretly nervous.
This does contradict what Broncos general manager George Paton said during his press conference at the NFL scouting combine. He told reporters that Williams is ‘on track’ for week one despite tearing multiple ligaments during the Broncos' early season game vs. the Raiders. This did raise some eyebrows considering how serious his injury was, so there might be some truth to this report.
Berry continues and says that when all is said and done, do not be surprised if the Broncos end up signing running back Kareem Hunt during free agency. He also states that veteran running back Latavius Murray is expected to be back and fill the role Mark Ingram had while with the Saints.
Don’t be surprised if the Broncos wind up with Kareem Hunt when all is said and done. Mike Boone is likely gone but Latavius Murray is expected to be back and be in the “Mark Ingram” role for Sean Payton. But Hunt, who is not expected to be back in Cleveland, is said to be a target for Denver. If Hunt winds up in Denver, my source said, you’ll know Javonte Williams’ injury is a lot worse than they are letting on.
I have said myself that we will know how the Broncos truly feel about Javonte’s injury by what they do during free agency. Actions always mean more than words and if they sign a true RB1 during free agency, then we know that Javonte likely has a long road back. Berry has heard the same, and mentions Kareem Hunt as a player they are targeting.
Adding Hunt and pairing him with Murray would make sense. Hunt is a solid runner but is also a solid receiver as well and we know that Payton likes involving the running back in the passing game. Murray would be the short-yardage back and get a decent amount of touches per game while Hunt would lead the Broncos backfield in touches.
Now, if the Broncos do not get Hunt, it was suggested that the Broncos could target Bears running back David Montgomery in free agency as well. I personally would prefer Montgomery over Hunt, but if the Broncos are interested in either, we likely have our answer when it comes to Javonte Williams health.
“We do need to add at (running back) position.”— Mike Klis (@mikeklis) February 28, 2023
Paton while at the combine did say that the Broncos need to add at running back, so they will likely add at the position regardless of Javonte’s health. The only backs on the roster currently are veteran Chase Edmonds who is a potential cap cut and 2022 rookie running back Tyler Badie who they added late last season. So, they do need to add some talent to that position regardless, but Javonte’s prognosis impacts how big they go at the position,
Ultimately, I think the Broncos sign a true RB1 like Hunt or Montgomery during free agency, add Murray, and add a back at some point during the draft(drafted or undrafted) to add depth to that position. They are expected to be a run-heavy team under newly hired head coach Sean Payton so they will need talent and depth at that position. Plus, the Broncos need to protect themselves in case Javonte isn’t ready for the season and/or is not at 100% during the season. So, we should expect a few new faces to join the Broncos backfield this offseason.