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Broncos trim 8 players from roster ahead of training camp

Veteran DT Joel Heath, practice squad RB Khalfani Muhammad, rookie QB Riley Neal among cuts.
Credit: AP
Denver Broncos running back Khalfani Muhammad (33) runs the ball against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Option 2 was so silly, it wasn’t much of an option.

The Broncos, as expected, went with Option 1, which was to trim their roster from 90 players to 80 by 2 p.m. Tuesday.

The team began the process Monday afternoon by cutting eight players:

QB Riley Neal, an undrafted rookie

LB Tre’ Crawford, a futures signee

OL Nico Falah, who was on injured reserve last year

WR Kelvin McKnight, a 2019 practice squad player

RB Khalfani Muhammad, a 2019 practice squad player

S Khani Smith, a futures signee

CB Shakial Taylor, a late-season waiver claim

NT Joel Heath, a veteran future signee who played three seasons with the Texans.

The Broncos will move two more players off their roster by 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Option 2 in the NFL’s amended training camp rules? It allowed teams to keep 90 players on their roster through August 16. With a catch: The 90-man roster had to split into two groups.

The first group was to consist of rookies, 1st-year players and veterans rehabilitating injuries (the Broncos had 8: Bradley Chubb, Bryce Callahan, Elijah Wilkinson, Devante Bausby, Jake Butt, JuWann Winfree, Austin Fort and Falah).

The second group was the rest of the veteran players. Sure, general manager John Elway and head coach Vic Fangio would have preferred to have watched players 81 through 90 on their roster before cutting them.

But making, say, quarterback Drew Lock choose between working with rookie receivers Jerry Jeudy,  KJ Hamler and tight end Albert Okwuegbunam in the rookie group for three weeks, or Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant, Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay in the veteran group seemed counterproductive.

Most, if not all teams have started trimming their roster to 80 players by Tuesday.

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