What’s the best case scenario for Shane Ray now?

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 1: Outside linebacker Shane Ray
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 1: Outside linebacker Shane Ray /

Following the news that he will need another procedure on his wrist, what’s the best case scenario for Denver Broncos OLB Shane Ray?

Denver Broncos outside linebacker Shane Ray needs another wrist procedure, his fourth in the last year.

The Broncos have not officially announced how long they expect Ray to be out of action, but it should take him at least a couple months to get back to playing strength.

In a contract year, that’s less than ideal.

Thankfully for Ray, the procedure is not due to his reinjuring the wrist. When he injured his wrist in 2017, he missed about half of the regular season and came back far too early.

What’s the best case scenario for him now?

Brandon Keckler and I talked about the Ray injury on our latest podcast, which you can check out here:

The best case scenario for Ray at this point obviously involves getting back to 100 percent health as soon as possible, which means he should be relatively pain-free in his wrist.

Last season, he came back wearing a club and was obviously not himself, and even Ray admitted to playing with one hand in 2017.

The Broncos don’t need Ray at less than full strength. They have a full complement of edge rushers with Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, and Shaquil Barrett along with some other young players that now have a chance to step up.

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But with Ray missing this kind of time, he’s going to miss out on valuable reps and this time around, it’s no guarantee he will come back and immediately be re-inserted into the starting lineup.

With Bradley Chubb in line for a lot of snaps this year and Shaq Barrett probably a candidate for a contract extension, the Broncos will only rotate Ray in as needed when he comes back from this injury.

They won’t force him onto the field in their base defense, but there will be plans for Ray when he’s fully healthy.

The best case is for him to come in as a rotational edge rusher and give the Broncos very efficient, effective play when his number is called.

With limited reps to go around, Ray’s best bet is to come back at full strength, even if that means missing regular-season games.

If he can somehow come back and get 8-12 sacks this season even on a limited snap count, Ray should be able to still attract the type of interest he desires as a free agent in 2019.