Denver Broncos: Jake Butt eligible to return in two weeks
Denver Broncos rookie tight end Jake Butt is eligible to return from the reserve/NFI list in two weeks. How will the Denver Broncos proceed?
The Denver Broncos just saw the breakout game of tight end A.J. Derby against the Oakland Raiders, but more help at the tight end position could soon be on the way in the form of rookie Jake Butt, a fifth round pick out of Michigan.
Because Butt tore his ACL in January, as well as the depth of one of the best tight end classes in recent memory, one of the best players in the draft fell to the top of the fifth round where the Broncos scooped him up.
Butt was a star at Michigan, catching 138 passes in his four years as a member of the maize and blue, hauling in 11 touchdowns.
Listed at 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, Butt was placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list along with fellow rookie classmate Chad Kelly, and both players are eligible to be removed from that list in just two weeks.
Once Butt is removed from the Reserve/NFI list, the Broncos have a six week window to decide what to do with him, whether they want to put him on the active roster, release/waive him, or keep him on the PUP the rest of the season.
The great thing is, Butt is allowed to practice starting Monday, October 23rd without counting against the Broncos’ 53-man roster.
That said, the first time Butt practices with the team, a 21 day countdown begins where the Broncos must make a decision about his placement on (or off) the roster. That means, if the Broncos want Butt to get on the field as soon as possible without him counting against the 53-man roster, he will begin practicing as soon as he’s allowed by league rules (Oct. 23rd) and the Broncos could give him a two or three week window to get into ‘football shape’.
That would put Butt’s return roughly around week eight or nine, if the Broncos are trying to get him involved as soon as possible. You never know when injuries will arise, so getting Butt onto the practice field sooner than later seems like a wise idea.
All injuries are certainly not the same and are unpredictable, but generally, players recovering from ACL injuries and returning to football activities take at least half a year.
Since Butt tore his ACL in January, it’s likely he’s been at — or close to — full strength in his surgically repaired knee since sometime in July, or August at the latest.
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Undoubtedly, the Broncos’ strength and conditioning staff is working with Butt day after day, getting him ready physically to contribute to a Broncos offense that definitely could use more playmakers. The tight end position is healthy as of right now, and we just saw some of the best of what a player like A.J. Derby brings to the table.
But will we get it consistently?
There is definitely value in having Butt part of the mix this season. If he’s healthy, there’s no sense in having him sit and watch his entire rookie year when he’s capable of playing. Then, you’re essentially just wasting the first year of his rookie contract.
If the Broncos don’t want Butt to practice right away, they have six weeks starting October 23rd to get him on the practice field before he just remains on the reserve/NFI list for the rest of the season. It’s possible we wouldn’t see Butt on the field until December, but that would be a very pessimistic prediction.
Hopefully, if all is going well, Jake Butt will be with the Broncos on the practice field preparing for the Kansas City Chiefs, and perhaps we’ll see him in uniform on game day as soon as November 5th in Philadelphia or November 12th at home against New England.