After facing a shortage of healthy tight ends, the Broncos made two roster moves Saturday morning.
The Broncos waived tight end A.J. Derby with an injury designation to clear space in order to promote practice squad tight end Austin Traylor to the active roster. Derby is tied for the team lead in touchdown receptions with Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas and Bennie Fowler, but missed practice this week with a shoulder injury.
The Broncos found themselves in a tough situation this week, with Derby and fellow tight end Jeff Heuerman sidelined with injuries. Prior to Saturday’s roster move, Virgil Green was the only healthy tight end on the Broncos’ active roster. Rookie tight end Jake Butt is on injured reserve and won’t play this season.
Derby was in his second season with the Broncos, after beginning his career in New England. The Patriots selected the tight end in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He spent his entire rookie campaign on injured reserve and didn’t see the field. Derby played four games with the Patriots in his second NFL season before being traded to the Broncos for a fifth-round pick. He finished last season in Denver with 16 catches for 160 yards. In nine games this season, Derby has caught 19 balls for 224 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Austin Traylor figures to be a big part of Denver’s tight end rotation when they play the Bengals on Sunday. At 6-foot-3 and 255 pounds, the 24-year-old could bring some help to the Denver ground game.
Traylor is in his second NFL season after entering the league as an undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin. He bounced around practice squads as a rookie, with stints in Dallas, New England, Baltimore and San Diego before sticking in Denver. Traylor beat out tight end Steven Scheu during training camp for a spot on the Broncos’ practice squad.