Broncos Lose Another Top Receiving Target to Injury: Report

Greg Dulcich

Getty Greg Dulcich dodges a defender after making a reception.

The Denver Broncos lost another top receiving threat to injury in the team’s Week 1 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Tight end Greg Dulcich suffered what initially appeared to be a leg injury on the first drive of the second half and didn’t return. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Dulcich is expected to miss multiple weeks with a hamstring injury.

Dulcich, the Broncos’ third-round pick in the 2022 draft, joins wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick as injured Broncos pass catchers. Jeudy, the team’s top receiver, missed the season opener with a hamstring injury, and Patrick is out for the second straight season with a torn Achilles.

Dulcich missed seven games in 2022 because of an injury to the same hamstring but was expected to play a significant role in the passing game under new head coach Sean Payton.

Dulcich Was Expected to be a Breakout Player in 2023

Last season, his rookie campaign, Dulcich displayed a vertical ability that could have been utilized dangerously in Payton’s offense. In 11 games (seven starts), he caught 33 passes for 411 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 12.5 yards per reception. He caught both of his targets for 22 receiving yards against the Raiders in the season opener.

According to Kevin Patra of, Dulcich was a Pro Bowl candidate in 2023.

“It’s pure projection to predict Dulcich will make a massive leap after catching 33 passes for 411 yards and two TDs in his rookie season,” Patra wrote on August 31. “But the talent is there. The TE owns dynamic run-after-catch and vertical ability to become a force in Sean Payton’s offense. With depth questions at receiver, Dulcich could earn more targets early in the season on his way to a breakout sophomore campaign.”

Payton’s vision for Dulcich this offseason was, beyond his typical tight end duties, to become the “joker” at his position.

“The joker player for us is not a receiver,” Payton told reporters on Thursday, June 1. “It’s either a running back or a tight end with exceptional ball skills, and then you can work matchups. We’ve had that at running back. Reggie Bush was the joker, Darren Sproles and Alvin Kamara. Those were all unique players, not just in the running game, but they had passing-game skill sets that allowed you to do multiple things, and I think Greg does, too.”

Who Steps Up for Dulcich?

Along with Dulcich on the Broncos’ depth chart are veterans Adam Trautman and Chris Manhertz. According to ESPN’s Jeff Legwold, Trautman is expected to take Dulcich’s place in the starting lineup. Trautman is a fourth-year player who appeared in 15 games (12 starts) last year for the New Orleans Saints, who traded him to Denver on draft day.

He started against the Raiders and finished with five receptions for 34 yards, catching all five passes thrown to him. Manhertz wasn’t targeted in the 17-16 loss.

If the Broncos look for outside help, they could turn to free agent veteran Jared Cook, 36, who played under Payton on the New Orleans Saints from 2019-20.

Cook earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2019 after he caught nine touchdowns in 14 games with the Saints. He last played for the Los Angeles Chargers in the 2021 season.

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