In the wake of Joe Flacco's neck injury, the Denver Broncos find themselves in a bit of a quarterback pickle. The team dragged its feet for the last three weeks, deigning not to activate rookie second-round QB Drew Lock, even for the sake of practice.
As a result, Lock hasn't practiced football on the field with teammates since mid-August. To tap him as the backup to Brandon Allen next week vs. the Cleveland Browns would be unfair and unwise.
And so, at least for the short-term, the Broncos have to 'activate' their other rookie signal-caller. Brett Rypien is expected to be promoted from the practice squad to serve as the Broncos' Week 9 backup QB, per 9NEWS' Mike Klis.
Rypien went undrafted out of Boise State this past spring but as a four-year starter in college, the Broncos were very keen on him as a prospect entering the draft. There was even indication the team planned on using its seventh-round selection on Rypien, before choosing instead to use it as part of a package to move up and select WR Juwann Winfree in the sixth round.
Fortunately for Denver, Rypien did not hear his name called and signed with the Broncos following the draft. Rypien received an unprecedented guarantee of $146K, which is more than 10 times the average for a college free agent. It was an exorbitant, unheard of sum for an undrafted rookie, at least as it relates to the Broncos.
Rypien saw some action in the Hall of Fame Game, before going on ice for the ensuing two preseason games. After Lock injured his thumb, the Broncos pitted Rypien against Kevin Hogan in the final two exhibition contests. You could say Rypien won, as Denver cut bait with Hogan.
Rypien was himself waived, before being re-signed to the practice squad, where he's been ever since, running the scout team. At least for Week 9's tilt with the Cleveland Browns, Rypien will be the Broncos' backup QB.
After the Week 10 bye, though, the expectation is that Drew Lock will be activated to the 53-man roster off of injured reserve to presumably start shortly thereafter. The team has not said as much, but that's the conventional wisdom — if Flacco's injury is as serious as it seems.
Meanwhile, Allen will make his first career start at home on Sunday. He's yet to take a single regular-season snap since entering the league as a Jacksonville Jaguars sixth-round pick back in 2016.