Even though there’s still a long way to go, is rookie TE Austin Fort pushing for Jake Butt’s roster spot with the Denver Broncos?
Nobody wants Denver Broncos tight end Jake Butt back on the field more than Butt himself (and his family) and the Broncos’ coaching staff.
Aside from them, I would consider myself and much of Broncos Country a close third.
The Broncos have been excited about Butt since he came into the league in 2017, and with the understanding that his rookie season could be a wash due to injury, everyone was excited to see Butt in 2018.
He had a fantastic offseason and was limited in preseason action so the Broncos could actually see him in regular season action, where he played in three games.
Butt made an impact in those three games (two wins) but was injured after game three in practice and missed the rest of the season with another major knee injury.
After working his way back to health this year, Butt has once again been very limited because of his knee.
As much as we still are hoping for Butt to return, the time has officially come to at least start thinking about the alternatives, not losing faith in the process.
Butt could still return to full strength, but it’s becoming quite concerning after he’s now missed four straight practices in the early days of training camp.
Meanwhile, rookie undrafted free agent Austin Fort has been making quite the impression.
As a matter of fact, not a day of camp has gone by without Fort making some type of big play, and he has ascended to the point that he — along with many rookies and even UDFA players — is getting looks with the first-team offense.
We’ve written about Fort already in camp. He was impressive before, and he has not slowed down.
As a matter of fact, at day seven of Broncos camp, Fort caught a long touchdown pass from Joe Flacco while working with the Broncos’ top offense.
The development of Fort has come with the ascent of fellow rookie tight end Noah Fant, who continues to show daily improvement with the team as well.
Could Fort be close to taking Butt’s roster spot?
The Broncos know what Butt brings to the table when he’s healthy, but they may ultimately get to the position of having to decide between banking on Butt’s health or keeping a player they really like — Fort — on the roster.
At that point, what would you choose?
Hopefully, Butt can come back healthy and prove his worth on this roster, but the Broncos are getting to the point where they may be running out of opportunities to afford him the patience he needs.
While Butt works at getting healthy, Fort has been seizing any and every opportunity. He will be a major focus of the Broncos’ first preseason game next week against the Atlanta Falcons.