Denver Broncos: Three running backs vying for one roster spot

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Denver Broncos, Royce Freeman

DENVER, CO – DECEMBER 22: Running back Royce Freeman #28 of the Denver Broncos stands in the end zone after scoring a touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the second quarter at Empower Field at Mile High on December 22, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Lions 27-17. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos have a pretty straightforward competition at running back, but there could be three guys competing for one spot on the team.

The Denver Broncos seem to have a pretty straightforward group of running backs heading into the 2020 season.

The team obviously returns 2018 undrafted superstar Phillip Lindsay, who has run for 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons in the NFL.

They also went out and signed free agent Melvin Gordon, who spent the first five years of his NFL career in San Diego/Los Angeles with the Chargers.

Although not everyone loves the idea of the Broncos having a free agent running back on the team, the addition of Gordon certainly made the roster better and helps legitimize the Broncos’ skill positions, giving them two Pro Bowl running backs.

The move to sign Gordon pushed last year’s RB2 (or 1B, depending on how you look at it) Royce Freeman to third on the depth chart for the 2020 season. Despite the fact that things might be a little awkward initially, Freeman certainly hasn’t earned the clout to demand a trade and is a valuable RB3 for the Broncos at a position where players are oft-injured. He’s got two years left on his rookie deal, and there’s still a chance he could show his value and more of what we saw from him early in 2018 when he was the clear RB1 on the roster.

Freeman’s offseason demotion raises the question of whether the Broncos will choose to keep four running backs on the roster. Last year, Andy Janovich — a true fullback — occupied a roster spot at the position. This year, that’s not the case, so the Broncos will have the option to either designate Andrew Beck as a fullback and call him RB4 or keep him as a tight end and choose someone else to be RB4.

There are only a couple of options on the roster right now. Who could help the Broncos out as an RB4 this season?

That player is going to have to prove themselves to be an ace on special teams as well as an asset to the offense. There’s no guarantee this position will even exist for the Broncos in 2020, but with the extra roster spot available, if a player at RB proves themselves on special teams, you never know what can happen.

Let’s take a look at the candidates either to force the Broncos to move Royce Freeman or to possibly carry four running backs into the 2020 season.

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