It seems crazy to even type that considering it feels like just yesterday, the Colorado Kid was tearing opposing defenses up, looking like a long-term star at the running back position for the Broncos.
In his historic rookie season, Lindsay rushed for 1,037 yards and nine touchdowns. He also had his first and only receiving touchdown as a Bronco in his first NFL game (vs. Seattle) and wound up being selected to the Pro Bowl.
He was the first undrafted rookie running back to make the Pro Bowl in NFL history. He followed up that tremendous rookie season with another gritty 1,000 yards in 2019, adding another seven touchdowns as well.
Unfortunately, after the addition of Melvin Gordon and a struggle with injuries in 2020, Lindsay’s role with the Broncos came into serious question and ultimately led us to where we are today — saying goodbyes.
Lindsay’s three seasons with the Broncos were mostly amazing, but the era is over. Lindsay will now be an unrestricted free agent after the Broncos and his agency came to an agreement to rescind the restricted free agent tender (just over $2 million) the Broncos recently placed on him.
This means that the Broncos had no intentions of matching offers Lindsay received in free agency anyway. Now, he can go about this free agency process without a string to Denver attached.
What’s next for Phillip Lindsay? The San Francisco 49ers — who could lose both Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon to free agency — seem like a great fit potentially, but there should be other suitors. The New York Jets make plenty of sense as well.
Any number of teams running the Shanahan/Kubiak type of offense would be tremendous fits for Lindsay.
What’s next for the Broncos?
The team signed fellow class of 2018 undrafted running back Mike Boone on Wednesday night.
Boone has been a tremendous special teams player for the Vikings but has obviously not got two 1,000-yard seasons on his resumé at this point.
At 5-foot-10, 206 pounds, Boone is considerably bigger than Lindsay and he is no slouch by comparison to Phil in the athleticism department.
At the Cincinnati pro day in 2018, Boone ran a 4.44 (Lindsay ran a 4.39 at the CU pro day), had 25 bench press reps at 225 pounds, a 42-inch vertical jump, an 11’7″ broad jump, and a 6.95 in the three-cone drill. Those testing numbers would put him in the top percentile at his position group and likely among the entire NFL in just about every category.
Through three NFL seasons, Boone has certainly maximized his opportunities on the field for the Vikings, carrying the ball just 71 times but averaging 5.3 yards per carry with four touchdowns and 13 first-down carries. He’s also got eight tackles and over 450 special teams snaps over the past two seasons.
That should be valuable to the Broncos given the fact that Joe Jones, a core special teams player, is also a free agent.
In addition to Boone, the Broncos still have 2018 third-round pick Royce Freeman under contract. Can Freeman regain his early 2018 form?
Prior to an ankle injury he suffered in the 2018 season, Freeman looked like he was easily, at the very least 1b to Phillip Lindsay’s 1a. Throughout camp and preseason play that year, Freeman was the best back on the team.
He has better third-down abilities and could potentially be in line for RB2 duties in 2021.
With all of that being said, it would be slightly shocking at this point if the Denver Broncos did not draft a running back, and there is a chance they could take one pretty high.
Some of the top backs in the 2021 NFL Draft include Alabama’s Najee Harris, Clemson’s Travis Etienne, and North Carolina’s duo of Javonte Williams and Michael Carter.
Any of those guys would have the ability to be a RB1 of the future type with the Denver Broncos.
The Denver Broncos might not be done pursuing free agent cornerbacks after the signing of Ronald Darby. Who could they be looking at?
No matter what the Broncos end up doing in the rest of free agency or the 2021 NFL Draft, Phillip Lindsay’s chapter with the team has come to a close.