Denver Broncos unsung heroes: WR Andre Caldwell


This week’s unsung hero is 8th year WR, Andre Caldwell. He’s not the tallest, fastest, strongest or the most talented WR on our roster, but he finds a way to stick around.  Let’s take a look at the fourth year Bronco.

Name: Andre Caldwell

Size: 6’0, 200 lbs

Age: 30

College: Florida

3rd round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2008 NFL Draft

2015 Stats: 10 Receptions, 72 yards, 2 TD’s

Career Stats: 156 Receptions, 1,509 yards, 11 TD’s

The Story: Andre Caldwell has been called everything from a rising talent to a complete goat (the bad kind, not the

Nov 16, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Andre Caldwell (12) catches a kick off during the second half against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. St. Louis defeated Denver 22-7. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

greatest of all time) throughout his tenure with the Broncos.  As one of those players that finds a way to stick onto the 53 man roster every year, Caldwell finds a way to keep his relevance in the locker room. Often referred to as the “fourth guy”, Caldwell is rarely thought of as a threat in the offensive game plan.  With only four starts in his tenure with the Broncos, Caldwell has only been used in the offense in the event of injuries or certain game plans up until this point.

Like many unsung heroes, I think a big reason that could be holding Caldwell back from a larger role in the offense is quite frankly, there’s better talent ahead of him. In an offense that primarily uses two WR’s and happens to have two Pro Bowl receivers on the roster, it’s become difficult to work other receivers in on a consistent basis.

When he first came to Denver, he was directly behind DT and Eric Decker, with Decker later being replaced by Emmanuel Sanders(with a dash of Wes Welker thrown in). Even though Adam Gase’s offense used more three and four WR sets, Caldwell wasn’t a heavily utilized talent on offense.

He’s definitely had some down moments(bad drops), but he’s also made some game changing plays. Case in point, it was Caldwell that scored the TD against the Patriots with over a minute to go in regulation to take the lead in what eventually became a 30-24 overtime victory for the Broncos.

Aside from the talent ahead of him on the depth chart, I think another reason that has held Caldwell’s offensive production back is his chemistry with Peyton Manning. Despite the fact that Caldwell did put time in over the last few off-seasons to work with Peyton Manning, the fact of the matter is, he’s spent far more time getting reps with Brock Osweiler and the fellow back ups in practice.  There’s no denying that the chemistry between the two was a large reason why Osweiler went to Caldwell for that game leading score against New England.

Another reason that contributes to his lack of offensive production is his importance on Special Teams.  Coming out of college, Caldwell boasted blazing speed, running a 4.35 40 yard dash in the pre-draft process.  Besides showing potential as a receiver, Caldwell’s speed and agility lent itself to a great future as a Special Teams player in the NFL.  These traits have served him well, as Caldwell has been one of the few(if not the only) person to spend time returning kicks and play in coverage units throughout his four years in Denver.

At the end of the day, he may not be the flashiest player on the roster, but his importance can’t be overstated.  In a contract year, it would be easy to overlook Caldwell in the Free Agency marketplace with all of the other impending Free Agents on the Broncos this year.  Even though I’ve just gone into length about why he may not be a big playmaker in our offense, that could end up being a big advantage for retaining Caldwell’s services. He’s not going to be a guy that will command big money or an immediate role on offense.

He can block, return kicks, play in coverage units and catch a pass every once in a while (all while doing that for a  reasonable cost).  Another thing that could make it tempting to bring back Caldwell is his chemistry with Osweiler that I talked about earlier in this article. In the event that Osweiler becomes the starting QB moving forward, having a skill player that works well with Osweiler and act as a “safety valve” for the young QB could become very beneficial for the offense.

Long story short, he’s not flashy, but he’s not that bad either.  Experienced veterans like Caldwell have their place on every roster and with change looming for the Broncos offense this off-season, it never hurts to have long-time pros stick around.