ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Buyer beware the free agent off the street during the coronavirus pandemic –even when that free agent is as accomplished as Mark Barron.
A first-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012, Barron won’t get a chance to play against his former team Sunday as the Broncos’ linebacker was placed on injured reserve Wednesday.
Five days after the Broncos signed the veteran Barron to a one-year, $1.75 million contract on August 30, he suffered a hamstring injury that has sidelined him since. Barron missed the first two regular-season games against Tennessee and Pittsburgh and while it appeared he was getting closer to a return last week, the brakes were applied. He has been placed on injured reserve, which means he will miss at least three more weeks.
Barron also had a chance to earn an extra $46,875 for every game he was active, but at least five of those game checks won’t be written.
Initially signed to play in sub packages, or 40 to 60 percent of the snaps, Barron was supposed to help the Broncos cover the tight end and running back out of the backfield.
The Broncos also placed defensive lineman DeMarcus Walker on IR with a calf injury. No. 1 receiver Courtland Sutton and defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones were placed on IR earlier this week, leaving the Broncos with 49 players on their 53-man roster.
One spot will be filled Friday when veteran quarterback Blake Bortles is signed. Another spot figures to go to current practice squad defensive lineman DeShawn Williams. The other two roster slots could come from the Broncos’ three remaining protected practice squad players – running back LeVante Bellamy, safety P.J. Locke and quarterback Brett Rypien.
And all three may be active Sunday against the Bucs. With starter Drew Lock not going on IR even though he is expected to miss the next four games with his shoulder injury, new starter Jeff Driskel and newcomer Bortles will put three quarterbacks on the 53. Given this, Rypien could be promoted from the practice squad to serve as backup QB for the game against the Bucs, and then sent back down without having to go through the waiver process.
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