KJ Hamler could go to injured reserve, but not before Sunday
Broncos rookie WR KJ Hamler could go to injured reserve after Saturday.
A hugely important detail about players who go on injured reserve in 2020 has been clarified and it could directly impact Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver KJ Hamler.
Hamler has been out lately with a hamstring injury, nothing to be trifled with when it comes to skill position players whose top attribute is speed or quickness.
In Hamler’s case, a hamstring injury is particularly concerning because it’s the very reason he wasn’t able to work out at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. He was healthy and out making big plays early in Denver Broncos training camp, but apparently tweaked the hamstring injury and there’s nothing you can really do with those but wait.
So what’s the NFL roster rule pertaining to Hamler that is so critical? It’s a big one, and it’s vastly different than in years past.
If a player goes on injured reserve before the initial 53-man roster is finalized, he’s out for the season. Hamler is also not eligible for the PUP list because he was out on the field for practice at training camp already.
Hamler will undoubtedly be on the Denver Broncos’ initial 53-man roster, but for how long?
Because teams can bring back unlimited players and because they are now able to return after three games instead of eight, he is now a clear candidate for injured reserve as of Sunday.
Working off the vague timeline the Broncos have given, Hamler could be out for at least two games anyway, so giving him one extra week to heal up with the wide receiver depth strong behind him makes a lot of sense.
Which current Broncos receiver benefits from that?
It’s hard to say right now as the team could opt to keep seven receivers on the initial roster anyway with Tyrie Cleveland having such a strong camp and Diontae Spencer likely to stay on as a seventh receiver/return specialist, but someone like Juwann Winfree, Fred Brown, Trinity Benson, or even undrafted rookie Kendall Hinton could benefit for at least a few weeks.
One way or another, unless Hamler has progressed in his recovery substantially and is only going to be out for a game, I think the Broncos will use the IR designation on him with only a three week waiting period and unlimited IR/return players in 2020.