Broncos Release QB Blake Bortles, Promote DT Sylvester Williams to Active Roster

Chad Jensen

And then there were three. With Drew Lock finally back to full health, the Denver Broncos had no need to carry four quarterbacks on the active roster. 

Though there was speculation that the odd man out would eventually be Jeff Driskel, after he played in relief of Lock in Week 2 and started in Week 3, only to be benched for Brett Rypien, it would appear the Broncos chose to part ways with the veteran who cost the least. 

According to The Denver Post's Ryan O'Halloran, the Broncos have released QB Blake Bortles, filling his spot on the 53-man roster by promoting defensive tackle Sylvester Williams (yes, that Sly Williams) from the practice squad. 

"Per source, #Broncos releasing QB Blake Bortles and signing DL Sylvester Williams from [the] practice squad," O'Halloran tweeted Saturday morning. 

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The Broncos have since confirmed the moves. Bortles was signed as an insurance policy ahead of Week 3's home loss to Tampa Bay back on September 24 but with Brett Rypien exceeding expectations and leading the Broncos to their first victory of the season over the New York Jets in Week 4, the former Jacksonville Jaguars' No. 3 overall draft pick never got a chance. 

Denver signed Bortles to a one-year contract worth $802,941. Since Bortles was signed during the season, even as a vested veteran, the Broncos will only be on the hook for 25% of that salary. Still, a cool 200 Gs for attending a few meetings and practicing for three weeks? Not a bad deal. 

The Bortles cut telegraphs to the New England Patriots, whom the Broncos will face at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, that Lock is back and will play. I'd expect Driskel to be inactive with Rypien as the backup. 

Meanwhile, since the Broncos were unceremoniously handed a bye in Week 5 and didn't play a game, the likes of Dre'Mont Jones and DeMarcus Walker were unable to get their three full games on injured reserve served, which means they'll have to miss Week 6 at New England. 

Having Williams active on Sunday should be a stabilizing force for the Broncos' rushing defense. Williams was Denver's 2013 first-round draft pick and started on two Super Bowl teams (SB XLVIII/SB 50). When his rookie deal expired, the Broncos let him walk and he has since bounced around the league. 

Williams' last true NFL home was with the Los Angeles Chargers last year where he only appeared in five games, starting none. The soon-to-be 32-year-old veteran defensive tackle is one of Denver's own, though, and has a strong relationship with D-line coach Bill Kollar. 

Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen and @MileHighHuddle.

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