Denver Broncos Waive Tight End A.J. Derby; Promote Traylor

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 01: A.J. Derby /

In a surprising move, the Denver Broncos have waived tight end A.J. Derby and promoted second year tight end Austin Traylor from the practice squad.

The Denver Broncos waived tight end A.J. Derby Saturday morning and have promoted tight end Austin Traylor from the practice squad. This move comes as a huge surprise as Derby has been one of the more effective tight ends for the Broncos in the passing game since being acquired from the New England Patriots via trade during the 2016 season.

Derby has been nursing a shoulder injury this past week, and was was ruled out for Sunday’s matchup against the Bengals after missing his third consecutive practice Friday. The third year product out of Arkansas has accounted for 19 catches and two touchdowns this season. His highlight of the season came during the first quarter of a week four matchup with the Raiders where he snagged a one-handed circus catch on a misfired throw from Trevor Siemian.

This move comes just days after the Broncos surprisingly parted ways with OLB Kasim Edebali. These moves haven’t made a whole lot of sense. Perhaps the Broncos have seen enough from their replacements to be able to move on.

Austin Traylor signed with the Broncos last December after spending time with the Dallas Cowboys, San Diego Chargers, and New England Patriots a season ago. This will be his first stint on an NFL active roster. The 255 pound tight end out of Wisconsin was certainly a a bright spot during training camp this summer. According to Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post, Traylor was more deserving of a roster spot than Derby after the work he did over the summer.

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For all his impressive work in camp, Traylor only caught two passes this preseason. However, he turned those two catches into an spectacular 43 yards, or 21.5 yard average. This Broncos offense is lacking explosive playmakers, so perhaps they feel Traylor can be a weapon.

With Virgil Green the other other healthy tight end on the roster, it is certain Traylor will be active Sunday. The Broncos have seven games remaining to evaluate whether or not Traylor has a long future with the Denver Broncos. If he flashes, there is a good chance that Traylor and 5th round pick Jake Butt are the two primary tight ends for the Broncos in 2018.