Which tight ends will make it?
At this point, it looks like the Broncos have three solidified tight end spots on the roster — Jeff Heuerman, Noah Fant, and Troy Fumagalli.
After that? It’s anyone’s guess.
Jake Butt hasn’t been able to practice since the first couple of days of camp. Bug Howard has missed significant time with an injury as well.
The Broncos have seen the emergence of Austin Fort throughout the course of camp, but drops have been a bit of an issue for him and physically, there are legitimate questions to whether or not he’s ready for the NFL.
Then you have the simple matter of how much is he going to actually play anyway?
The Broncos could keep four tight ends depending on how things shake out at running back, but if you had to keep one of Khalfani Muhammad or Austin Fort at this point, who are you taking? To me, the answer is clearly Muhammad.
If you finally manage to get Jake Butt healthy, he is worthy of a roster spot, but his health is a huge concern right now.
The Broncos are still clearly holding out hope since Butt is coming out to practice but without pads on.
If Butt isn’t healthy, I think there’s a good chance the Broncos go into the season with just three tight ends on the active roster and Fort heading to the practice squad.
To circle back, all of this has to do with both the emergence of Khalfani Muhammad and the signing of Theo Riddick. I don’t think the Riddick signing does anything but put Devontae Booker’s roster spot in serious jeopardy.
It will make the Broncos’ decision of whether or not to keep Muhammad a very tough one, but Muhammad — to this point — has played his way onto the roster. If Riddick’s spot is already guaranteed, the fallout is significant.