Broncos' TE Jeff Heuerman 'Highly Doubtful' to Return in 2020 per Insider
The Denver Broncos surprised many fans by signing free-agent tight end Nick Vannett last week. The move came as a surprise because nobody viewed the Broncos' tight end room as a position of need.
And yet, GM John Elway threw money at it, despite having four recent draft picks invested in the position. When the Vannett move was made, the first thought that came to mind was 'Welp. This isn't good for Jeff Heuerman'.
Now, we're hearing from Broncos insider Mike Klis of KUSA that Heuerman's future in Denver is highly doubtful.
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The 6-foot-5, 255-pound veteran is entering his sixth NFL season. Heuerman is a relatively complete tight end, in terms of having competency as both a receiver and as a blocker. He's good enough to get by in both cases.
However, Heuerman is never going to be that game-breaker. He can set the edge in the running game and he'll catch 15-25 passes per year but his ceiling is limited.
Meanwhile, 2019 first-rounder Noah Fant's floor is about equal to Heuerman's ceiling. Fant brings 4.5 speed and dynamic play-making ability to the table. What he lacks in blocking technique he makes up for with willingness.
Fant is going to have a huge year under new OC Pat Shurmur. Vannett is poised to serve as the No. 2 TE for when the Broncos choose to run short-yardage and some red zone packages.
With other developmental TEs still on the roster like Andrew Beck, Troy Fumagalli, Austin Fort and Jake Butt, there's no reason for the Broncos to carry Heuerman's $3 million base salary. In fact, if the team is unable to trade Heuerman — which is likely — straight cutting him would free up $3.875M on the salary cap.
If indeed Heuerman is destined to be jettisoned, the sooner the Broncos can do it, the better. It'd give Heuerman plenty of time to land on his feet, while giving the team a little more breathing room on the cap.