There is one hole on the Broncos’ 53-man roster, although it’s large enough to fit a 6-foot-7, 240-pound quarterback.
Once, the Broncos officially sign Brock Osweiler, they will have three quarterbacks and a full, 53-man roster. Osweiler will be a Bronco “pending a physical’’ exam on Monday, said Broncos’ general manager John Elway.
A quick summary of the significant moves:
*The Broncos released Pro Bowl strong safety T.J. Ward and replaced him on the 53 with undrafted rookie Jamal Carter. Losing Ward did not sit well with many returning veterans on the team.
“I will tell you I was in that locker room, and I didn’t agree with every move management made,’’ said Elway, a Broncos’ quarterback from 1983-98. “When you make tough ones like this they’re not always going to be popular. But I think the young guys will step up and fill those shoes.’’
The Broncos now have had an undrafted rookie make their season-opening roster in 13 of their past 14 seasons.
“Young, physical, he’s going to be a great Denver Bronco as a core (special teams) guy,’’ said head coach Vance Joseph. “His skills to play in the box and high zone in the back end was impressive.’’
*Second-round offensive tackle Ty Sambrailo was traded away and third-round offensive tackle/guard Michael Schofield were cut.
*Undrafted rookie quarterback Kyle Sloter was waived despite his superb preseason. He will be replaced by Osweiler who has ample NFL experience.
“We’re excited to have that experience there with Brock,’’ Elway said. “Plus, with Paxton you never know with that throwing shoulder. I will say this: Kyle Sloter did a helluva job. He had a helluva camp. But as I told him today, “You don’t know this but I’m telling you from experience, going from the preseason to the regular season is a big jump.’’
*The Broncos put three players on injured reserve lists: Third-rookie receiver Carlos Henderson, fifth-round rookie tight end Jake Butt and seventh-round quarterback Chad Kelly. Henderson (thumb surgery) is done for the season. Butt (knee) and Kelly (wrist, knee) can return about halfway through the season, which is pivotal because they could use the practice time. In addition, the Broncos will place outside linebacker Shane Ray on injured reserve Sunday, which means he’s out until at least midseason. Elway said because there’s a bye in week 5 and the Broncos play a Monday night game in week 8 at Kansas City, Ray will only miss six games, returning to play against the Chiefs.
*Running back Jamaal Charles, guards Ron Leary and Allen Barbre, right tackle Menelik Watson, defensive linemen Shelby Harris and Zach Kerr and outside linebacker Kasim Edebali are the offseason free-agent signings who made the team.
More on the roster moves at each position with projected starters in bold:
Quarterbacks (3): Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler (once he signs).
Note: Lynch will be out at least until the week 4 bye with a shoulder injury, prompting Osweiler’s arrival. Signing Osweiler prior to week 1, which means he will get a full year’s salary, is an indication Lynch may be sidelined longer.
Running backs (5): C.J. Anderson, Jamaal Charles, Devontae Booker, De’Angelo Henderson, Andy Janovich (fullback).
Note: Booker will miss the first game or two with a fractured right wrist. Charles is now guaranteed to earn $1 million and if he dresses game 1 against the Los Angeles Chargers on September 11, he will make at least $1.328 million. He can earn up to $2.5 million just by showing up and $3.75 million if he accumulates 1,400 yards rushing and receiving combined yards – and the Broncos make the playoffs.
Receivers (6): Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Bennie Fowler III, Cody Latimer, Isaiah McKenzie, Jordan Taylor.
Note: Taylor or Latimer beat out Kalif Raymond, who is built similar to that of the 5-foot-8, 173-pound McKenzie.
Tight end (3): Virgil Green, Jeff Heuerman, A.J. Derby.
Note: For a seventh-round draft pick in 2011, Green turned out to be a pretty good player. Derby will be the smaller, off-line tight end. Heuerman must come on.
Offensive linemen (9): LT Garett Bolles, LG Allen Barbre, C Matt Paradis, RG Ron Leary, RT Menelik Watson, OT Donald Stephenson, G Max Garcia, G Billy Turner, C-G Connor McGovern.
Note: Very unusual to have three backup guards and just one reserve tackle – especially when one of the starting tackles is a rookie in Bolles. This assumes Barbre will be the starting left guard but he may rotate with Garcia. Barbe can also play tackle.
Specialists (3): Brandon McManus, K; Riley Dixon, P; Casey Kreiter, LS.
Note: All return from last year. Kreiter missed the final six games with a calf injury.
Defensive linemen (6): Derek Wolfe, Domata Peko, Jared Crick, Zach Kerr, Shelby Harris, Adam Gotsis.
Note: Wolfe (ankle) and Crick (back) suffered significant preseason injuries but are expected to play against the Chargers.
Outside linebackers (5): Von Miller, Shaquil Barrett, Kasim Edebali, DeMarcus Walker, Shane Ray.
Note: Ray would have been a starter but he will miss half the season. Barrett is returning from a hip injury that caused him miss training camp and the preseason. The Broncos may add a player here Sunday.
Inside linebacker (4): Brandon Marshall, Todd Davis, Corey Nelson, Zaire Anderson.
Note: Same four as last year.
Cornerbacks (5): Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr., Bradley Roby, Brendan Langley, Lorenzo Doss.
Note: Doss edged out veteran Chris Lewis-Harris. Talib, Harris Jr. and Roby have to be the best cornerback threesomes in the league.
Safeties (4): Darian Stewart, Justin Simmons, Will Parks, Jamal Carter.
Note: The No Fly Zone has either started to break up with the departure of Ward, or Simmons is simply the new piece.