Denver Broncos veteran running back in serious danger of losing roster spot

Could this veteran running back be on his way out following the conclusion of preseason?
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Denver Broncos' current running back room contains a plethora of talented players including Javonte Williams, Jaleel McLaughlin, Audric Estime, Blake Watson, Tyler Badie, and others. However, one name who has not been discussed as much in recent weeks is veteran running back Samaje Perine whose future could certainly be in doubt.

The Broncos elected to draft Notre Dame running back Audric Estimé with one of their fifth-round selections in the 2024 NFL Draft, despite already rostering three semi-talented players. If anything, this strongly hinted the coaching staff and front office's displeasure with the lack of production coming from the running back room in 2023. Considering Denver's stacked depth at the position, it could make sense for the organization to part ways with an expensive veteran like Samaje Perine on their roster.

Even before Denver's draft in April, there were some rumblings that the Broncos considered moving on from Perine and saving the $3M in cap room. If fifth-round pick Audric Estimé and rookie undrafted free agent Blake Watson perform exceptionally during the team's training camp and preseason, it would not be a surprise if Denver chose to move on from Perine. The former Cincinnati Bengal and Washington Commander is turning 29 years old in September and is set for a $4.5M cap hit in 2024. One can certainly argue he is not worth his contract given the fact Denver can likely replicate similar production from the younger players at the position.

Perine rushed for 238 yards on 4.5 yards per attempt in 2023 and also set a career-high in receiving yards with 455 on 50 receptions. It certainly is possible Denver could keep him around to serve as a security blanket in the passing game for rookie quarterback Bo Nix, however, it is unclear if that will be necessary. Rookie Blake Watson performed at a very high level during his time in college as a versatile player in the backfield racking up nearly 800 receiving yards in his last two years at Memphis.

It is also fair to note that Nix did utilize running back targets during his time at Oregon. Former Oregon Duck and now Tampa Bay Buccaneer Bucky Irving caught 87 passes for 712 yards and five touchdowns in his two years as Nix's teammate. Therefore, all options certainly remain on the table for Perine's future in Denver, however, if head coach Sean Payton chooses to roster just three running backs heading into the regular season, Perine definitely seems like the odd one out.