Denver Broncos: Schedule features a ton of their former players in 2021

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 08: Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos carries the ball during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 08: Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos carries the ball during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images) /

The Denver Broncos schedule has been released, and the team will have plenty of player reunions during the 2021 season, as it currently stands.

While roster cuts will still take place, there currently are quite a few players on the Broncos’ schedule who used to be on/play for the team at one point or another.

The fact that the Broncos are going to potentially face so many of their former players is a little bit frightening because it feels like a lot of times, those players end up doing much better for their new team.

Some of these guys you will absolutely remember, while I am sure you will wonder who some others are. I am just one of those people who recognize names even when the player did not do much of anything with the team during their time in Denver.

Some of the teams on the 2021 schedule don’t have players that used to play for the Broncos. Therefore, if you notice there are missing weeks, that is why.

New York Giants (Week 1 — September 12, 4:25 ET on FOX)

First up on the Denver Broncos schedule in Week 1, the Broncos will head to New York to take on the Giants. There are four former Broncos on that roster: cornerback Isaac Yiadom, running back Devontae Booker, punter Riley Dixon, and long snapper Casey Kreiter.

They aren’t household names, but you know how it goes sometimes: teams let players go and those players turn out to play better on their new team. Take Booker for example. While with the Broncos, Booker was burried on the depth chart and saw virtually no action.

He then signed with the Raiders and finished the season with 93 attempts, 423 yards and three touchdowns. He caught 17 passes for 84 yards. Now he’s a Giant and will be the backup to Saquon Barkley.

Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 2 — September 19, 1:00ET on CBS) :

Week 2 of the Denver Broncos schedule is the Jaguars who have two former Broncos on their roster, pending a potential third.

Defensive end Lerentee McCray was a member of the Denver Broncos from 2013 to 2015. He played in 24 career games for the team, recording 21 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one pass defended and one forced fumble to go along with three quarterback hits.

Defensive end Adam Gotsis was a second-round pick by the Broncos in 2016 and spent four years with the team. He became a free agent in 2020 and signed with Jacksonville.

After having  somewhat productive years in 2017 and 2018, Gotsis was hit with the injury bug in 2019. He ended up playing just 26 percent of the Broncos’ defensive snaps that year. He was also benched during his final year with the team.

NOTE: As of this writing, former Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has not signed with the Jaguars, but is expected to as a tight end. This will certainly be an interesting thing to watch in Week 2 if he makes the final roster.

The Broncos, under Josh McDaniels at the time, reached for Tebow in the 2010 draft, and the then-quarterback had some fun moments on the team but just wasn’t an effective passer. Therefore, the team made a ton of changes, creating a different style of playbook for him.

Week 3 – 9/26: vs. NY Jets – 2:05 MT on CBS:

Center Connor McGovern was a guard for the Broncos as he beat out Max Garcia in training camp. That was until center Matt Paradis left in free agency for the Carolina Panthers, where McGovern took over the starting center job for one year.

His departure stung because the Broncos would then have to find their next starting center. It is not a position any team would want to have to replace every couple of years.

Hopefully Shelby Harris and Co. can make sure McGovern and the Jets offensive line struggles.

Week 4 – 10/3: vs. Ravens – 2:25 PM MT on CBS)

Defensive lineman Derek Wolfe was a productive player for the Broncos from 2012 to 2019. He was part of the Super Bowl-winning defense and recorded 5.5 sacks that year.

He was placed on injured reserve three separate years, including 2014 – the year the Broncos got destroyed by the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.

When his career as a Bronco came to an end, he finished with 108 games played, 206 tackles, 33 sacks, 46 tackles for loss, and 77 quarterback hits.

Cornerback Davontae Harris was unfortunately a bad signing by the Broncos. He was just torched all the time and ultimately was waived by the team two days following their blowout loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Harris got picked apart against the Calvin Ridley-less Atlanta Falcons, who threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns.

Week 6 – 10/17: vs. Raiders – 2:25 MT on CBS/Week 16 – 12/26 @ Raiders – 1:25 PST on CBS

Running back Theo Riddick was predicted to be a big part of the team’s plans in 2019 in the passing game. Get this: Riddick has been more productive in the passing game than the run game throughout his career.

He was supposed to be just that for Denver but missed the year due to a fractured shoulder.

I was completely in favor of signing him back, but the Broncos never did. Oh, what could have been…

Week 7 – 10/21: @ Browns – 8:20 ET on FOX/NFLN/Amazon

Another defensive star on the Denver Broncos schedule is defensive tackle Malik Jackson was drafted by the Broncos in 2012 and played for the team through 2015, earning a Super Bowl ring. That year, he had 45 tackles and batted down seven passes, as well as 5.5 quarterback sacks.

Fullback Andy Janovich was drafted in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He blocked for several running backs in Denver, including C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker, Jamaal Charles, Royce Freeman, and Phillip Lindsay.

In 2017, he helped Anderson reach 1,000 yards on the ground. In 2018, he did the same for undrafted free agent rookie running back Phillip Lindsay.

Quarterback Case Keenum had a magical lone season with the Minnesota Vikings in 2017, highlighted by the playoff run.

The Broncos signed him the following offseason and expected big things. Unfortunately, they were let down with a 6-10 record and an 18-15 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Week 10 – 11/14: vs. Eagles – 2:25 MT on CBS

Quarterback Joe Flacco was another player the Broncos hoped would be a big star for them but he ended up playing eight games for them, and finished with a 2-6 record while throwing six touchdowns and five interceptions.

He was placed on injured reserve with a neck injury and replaced by Brandon Allen, who was eventually replaced by Drew Lock.

Los Angeles Chargers (Week 12–November 28 at 4:05 ET on CBS; January 2: at Chargers: 2:05 ET)

Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. was an undrafted free agent gem out of Kansas. He was with the team from 2011 to 2019, and he recorded 20 interceptions, four touchdowns, 4.5 sacks, 518 tackles in 139 games — 121 in which he started in.

Harris Jr. and the Broncos were unable to agree on a long-term deal. Instead, Harris Jr. signed a one-year deal but left for the Chargers in 2020.

The Broncos acquired A.J. Bouye from the Jaguars while Harris Jr. was still on the team, but were planning for the potential departure.

Kansas City Chiefs (Week 13 — December 5 at 1PM ET on CBS, Week 18:  January 9, 3:24PM ET on CBS)

One of the more recent signings, safety Will Parks has ended up with the Kansas City Chiefs. Parks spent four full seasons in Denver and one partial season.

Parks left the team in free agency in 2020 but was waived on December 1 by the Eagles, and claimed by the Broncos the following day.

He played 66 total games for the team, recording 149 tackles, four interceptions, five tackles for loss and six quarterback hits.

Week 14 – 12/12 vs. Lions – 2:05 MT on FOX

Receiver/kick returner Kalif Raymond played in four games for the Broncos in 2016. He returned 11 punts for 111 yards, as well as six kick returns for 137 yards. He has seen better success elsewhere, seeing a little bit more action on the offense with the Tennessee Titans.

Defensive lineman Joel Heath was with the team in 2020 but never appeared in a game. He spent the first four years of his career with the Houston Texans.

Week 15 – 12/19 vs. Bengals – 2:05 MT on CBS

In Week 15 of the Broncos schedule, there is a familiar face in the Bengals quarterback room, though he won’t be starting for them (unless Joe Burrow gets hurt).

Quarterback Brandon Allen was with the Broncos in 2019 after being claimed off waivers and played in three games, going 1-2 in those starts. Allen took over for Flacco, who went down with an injury. He completed just 39-of-84 passes (46.4 percent) for 515 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.