Broncos move on quickly from high-profile free agent signing

Denver Broncos, Joe Schobert (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos, Joe Schobert (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

After a rather unimpressive debut with the team in week two of the preseason against the Buffalo Bills, the Denver Broncos have made the decision to move on from veteran linebacker Joe Schobert. Schobert was recently signed by the Broncos after the team lost starter Jonas Griffith for a handful of weeks due to a dislocated elbow.

Even without Griffith, the Broncos had seen enough from Schobert after one dull preseason game. Schobert hasn’t been the same type of impact player since he was with the Cleveland Browns and signed a big free agent contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020. He showed signs of regression last year with the Pittsburgh Steelers but the Broncos — and others — felt like Schobert’s experience and productivity (over 120 tackles on average over the last five years) would be valuable.

Joe Schobert fails to make an impression for Denver Broncos

Schobert was one of five players the Denver Broncos moved off of the 85-man roster as they cut down to the league-mandated 80 players on Tuesday. Here’s the official list, released by the team on Tuesday afternoon:

  • LB Joe Schobert (released)
  • WR Trey Quinn (waived)
  • OL Casey Tucker (waived/injured)
  • OL Tom Compton (reserve/PUP)
  • RB Stevie Scott (waived)

Of the players let go, Trey Quinn probably is coming off of the best game against the Bills. He fumbled a kickoff return but had some nice catches working with the offense in the second half. The wide receiver position is simply just too crowded at the moment in Denver.

Running back Stevie Scott got 10 opportunities against the Bills as a runner and receiver, and really just didn’t look explosive or like he could be a viable practice squad option. JaQuan Hardy didn’t look much better, but his roster chances live on one more week despite the acquisition of running back Devine Ozigbo on waivers.

Head coach Nathaniel Hackett talked about free agent offensive lineman Tom Compton, who had back surgery, as though he would be back at some point later this coming season. For now, the Broncos are putting him on the PUP and he will miss a mandatory minimum of the first four games of the 2022 season. Considering Compton was expected to provide depth at both tackle and guard, his absence is not exactly ideal.

The big story of the day is the decision by the team to release Schobert, which in a way is a relief. Schobert simply wasn’t good enough for the Broncos, working against mostly future practice squad players and backups for the Bills. I expected to see him out there wrecking plays and attacking the line of scrimmage with confidence, especially with his experience and Pro Bowl pedigree.

It just didn’t happen. Schobert wasn’t alone, though, either. The Broncos’ linebackers pretty much all looked bad in this game. Alex Singleton missed a tackle early on. Barrington Wade was constantly looking lost as the Bills pounded the ball on the ground against Denver.

The Broncos will likely have to wait for more players to hit waivers to make additional moves for help at linebacker, but the fact that the team moved on from someone with the pedigree of Joe Schobert this early on is an impressive display of guts by George Paton. It doesn’t matter your draft status or your former NFL status — you’ve got to earn your way onto this 53-man roster.