The Broncos trimmed down their roster to 53 players earlier today but the roster movement is far from over with. First, the team will be placing three players on the short-term injured reserve tomorrow so that will open up three roster spots for players. We also have the waiver claims coming in and if the Broncos are awarded anyone, they will need to make a corresponding roster move to open up a roster spot for that player.
Payton met with the media after practice today and he told reporters that the team is “right in the thick of the roster being shaped” and that “there is still a lot of shuffling with teams” he continued by saying the Broncos “will be one of those shuffling teams”.
“We are right in the thick of the roster being shaped. I’m not going to go through every player. You will see in the next 10 days—there is still a lot of shuffling with teams, and we will be one of those teams.”
As I mentioned, we will see three players go on the short-term injured reserve tomorrow which means we may see three players who were originally released be brought back to fill those roster spots. Also, the waiver claims will factor in and by the sounds of it, Sean Payton and the Broncos sound like they are going to be active on the waiver wire.
Sean Payton is not done adjusting the Broncos roster. He's about to do a very deep dive on the waiver wire.— Romi Bean (@Romi_Bean) August 29, 2023
"Tonight we're going to be here until 2 in the morning. If I loved where (the roster) was at, I'd probably go home for dinner at 6."
Payton told reporters that after he is done meeting with them he is going head inside and start working on going over the players on the waiver wire. He continued by saying “we are going to be here until two in the morning” and that if he loved where the team was at currently, he would go home and have dinner at six. Payton concluded by saying that there are a number of players that will be on this waiver wire that we have to look at closely and make comparisons. He mentioned how he said the Broncos players are competing against the rest of the league, not just their positional group.
“I don’t ever stop to say, ‘Do I like right where we are at?’ I’m going to go right inside and tonight; we are going to be here until two in the morning. If I loved where I was at, then I would probably go home for dinner at six. Maybe that’s the way to answer it. I like the guys we have talked with and our plan, but I do think the hay is in the barn. I think there are going to be a number of players that will be on this waiver wire that we have to look closely at and make comparisons. That gets back to what we discussed a month ago about competing against the whole league rather than just your position group.”
All this leads me to believe that Payton and the Broncos are going to be active on the waiver wire later today. The Broncos roster lacks some depth and they may feel better about some of the waived and released players than they do about the ones on their roster currently.
So with the Broncos in a great spot on the waiver wire and Payton making these comments, what players could we see the Broncos put a claim on? A few players stood out during cuts and at the end of the day, connections is what matters in the NFL and the Broncos coaches have a few ties to some free agents.
Nose tackle Rashard Lawrence
The Cardinals waived former fourth-round pick, nose tackle Rashard Lawrence, during the final cut down period yesterday. As NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport noted, he played the past few seasons with Vance Joseph in Arizona and is now available on waivers. So, should the Broncos be interested?
I say no, but I would not be upset if they did it. They’re going to bring back veteran Mike Purcell for added depth at the position so it’s not really need. Add in that Lawrence has struggled with injuries throughout his career and is coming off a season where he played just 5 games. The Broncos have enough injury issues as is so I don’t know if it will be worth it at the end of the day.
Cornerback Darius Rush
The Indianapolis Colts selected Rush in the 5th round of the 2023 NFL Draft but he was among their cuts yesterday. He is big and athletic corner who is still learning the position since he transitioned from receiver in college.
Darius Rush pick-6. Priors confirmed. Should have been a second rounder— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) August 12, 2023
Rush is a 6-2, 198 pound corner who has 4.36 speed, 35 inch vertical, and was considered a day two pick by most draft analysts. He slipped into the 5th round, but still, he is an exciting developmental corner available for a team to claim. The Broncos secondary has full of young corners, but when you play in the AFC and specifically in the AFC West, you need as many talented cornerbacks as you can get. I would roll the dice here and add another young corner to your secondary and allow Defensive Back’s coach Christian Parker develop him.
QB/WR/KR Malik Cunnigham
Sean Payton once put in a waiver claim for a player named Taysom Hill who was waived during the cutdown period back in the day, could history repeat itself? The Patriots were using rookie quarterback/receiver/kick returner Malik Cunningham like Taysom Hill and now, the coach who created Taysom Hill, has an opportunity to claim him.
Malik Cunningham could end up playing a Taysom Hill role for the Patriots this year, taking snaps at receiver and quarterback. https://t.co/jUpkXUrJ2D— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) August 18, 2023
Cunningham had a solid preseason for the Patriots and quickly became a fan favorite but was surprisingly waived the Patriots yesterday. When Sean Payton is your coach, you have to consider that he may see this type of player and think that they could add an extra dynamic to his offense.
With that said, there really is only one Taysom Hill, so he could be a unicorn. No one else has really repeated what he has and still is doing. So, Cunningham could flame out like all the rest, but hey, you never know.
OL Zack Bailey
Zack Bailey is a 6-5, 300 pound offensive lineman who really impressed this preseason for the Broncos division rival Chargers. However, they for some reason, decided to waive him and now, he could be just what the Broncos need along their offensive line.
The #Chargers are waiving OL Zack Bailey, source says. Impressed in the preseason, chance he gets claimed.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 29, 2023
He can play guard or tackle and would just give the team a better interior offensive lineman than they currently have. HIs preseason tape is great and we know that Sean Payton loves to improve the trenches. Also, stealing a player from a rival and improving your team is always a good move to make