Devontae Booker is officially on notice.
Riddick initially visited Denver on Monday but left without putting pen to paper. He had narrowed his decision to the Broncos and New Orleans Saints.
A 2013 sixth-round pick of the Detroit Lions, Riddick is a dual-threat back who’s rushed for 1,023 yards and five touchdowns on 288 carries (3.6 yards per attempt) across six professional seasons. A better pass-catcher than runner, he’s added 2,238 yards and 14 TDs on 285 career receptions (7.9 yards per catch).
The Lions released Riddick on July 27. The move, albeit surprising, was spun as simple roster math by head coach Matt Patricia.
“I’m not going to really get into the details of (why we released Riddick) more than just for us and the team and where we’re going right now and kind of some of the things we see and the depth that we have at certain position, I would say obviously bringing in Mike [Daniels] we needed to find a spot,” Patricia said, per the Detroit Free Press.
“For us, Theo obviously is a great professional, he’s a great player, he did a lot of great things for us through the course of the years and we have all the respect in the world for everything that he’s done. But in any of those situations, we’re going to try to do what’s best for the team.”
A former star and four-year contributor at Notre Dame, Riddick totaled 1,169 rushing yards and five scores, and 1,263 receiving yards and eight scores, in 45 collegiate contests from 2009-2012.
Updated Depth Chart
The Broncos aren’t exactly hurting for running backs, led by Pro Bowl sensation Phillip Lindsay and 2018 third-round pick Royce Freeman, who will get more work as a sophomore. Those two are locked into spots on the 53-man squad, obviously.
Leaving Booker, the Broncos’ elder-most RB, on the outside looking in.
Riddick, 28, is a superior pass-catcher to Booker, and matches his ability to help in pass-protection. The former is also speedier than the latter, a 2016 draft pick to whom the current regime has no allegiance.
Considering Denver will carry four RBs, at most, into the regular season (including fullback Andy Janovich), Riddick and Booker will likely compete for one empty seat.
Riddick’s addition should spell the end for 2018 seventh-round choice David Williams, whom the club recently re-signed.
Behind Williams on the depth chart are rookie undrafted free agent Devontae Jackson and first-year pro Khalfani Muhammad — both early camp standouts, both now fighting for practice squad placement.
Riddick won’t participate in the Broncos’ preseason-opening Hall of Fame Game on Thursday night, but he could make his debut against the Seattle Seahawks on Aug. 8, depending on how fast he learns the playbook.
Look for Riddick to hit the practice field next week, and immediately mesh into coordinator Rich Scangarello’s offense and Tom McMahon’s special teams unit.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter @KelbermanNFL.