During a joint practice with the Los Angeles Rams, Jeudy “took an end around and then grabbed his right upper leg,” according to a post on X (formerly Twitter) by NFL Network’s James Palmer.
“Looked like his hamstring. He was visibly upset,” Palmer wrote. “The cart came out to get him. He had trouble getting on in and teammates came over before he was taken inside. He needed help getting off the cart and getting inside.”
After practice, Broncos head coach Sean Payton confirmed to reporters that Jeudy suffered a hamstring injury but that the team was waiting for the MRI for further results.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Jeudy is expected to miss several weeks, putting his status for Week 1 against the Las Vegas Raiders in question. Rapoport added that “there’s optimism that it’s nothing long term.”
Jeudy, 24, had his best year in 2022, with 6 touchdowns and 972 yards on 67 catches in 15 games. He played in only 10 games in 2021 because of an ankle injury after playing all 16 games in 2020, his rookie year, when he had 856 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns.
The Broncos picked up his fifth-year option in May. He’ll have a guaranteed salary of $12.9 million in 2024.
Possible Replacements for Jerry Jeudy
Jeudy’s injury puts the Broncos in a “gray area” in regard to his roster spot, according to The Denver Post’s Parker Gabriel, because the team doesn’t know what Jeudy’s timeline for return is. The deadline to set the 53-man roster is August 29, and the season opener is September 10.
“They are 17 days out from their season opener against Las Vegas,” Gabriel wrote in a story published August 24. “If Denver thinks Jeudy can get back somewhere within the first two or maybe even three weeks, it could carry him on the 53-man roster and hope the recovery goes quickly.”
However, if the Broncos place Jeudy on injured reserve, the earliest he could return is Week 5, Gabriel wrote.
“The risk of not placing Jeudy on injured reserve to start the year is that his rehab takes longer than hoped, he misses four games anyway and takes up a roster spot while doing so,” Gabriel wrote. “The risk of returning him to play too early, of course, is an aggravation to the muscle that costs him a bigger chunk of the season.”
Meanwhile, Courtland Sutton becomes the top guy for the wide receiver room and the Broncos have to lean on their young depth moving forward, including rookie Marvin Mims Jr., a second-round pick.
Free agent Marquez Callaway, who played under Payton in New Orleans, and special teamers Kendall Hinton and Montrell Washington also move up the depth chart. Callaway, 25, had nearly 700 receiving yards and led the team in touchdown receptions under Payton in 2021.
Denver Have Had Bad Luck With WR Injuries in 2023
The Broncos have had bad luck with receiver position. Besides losing Jeudy for seven games in 2022, they lost Tim Patrick to an ACL tear last season and Sutton to an ACL tear in 2020. Former second-round pick K.J. Hamler also dealt with multiple injuries before the Broncos eventually moved on from him this offseason.
The Broncos lost Patrick again, this time to a torn Achilles, early in training camp. During Denver’s August 19 preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers, Denver lost Jalen Virgil to a knee injury that’s forcing the Broncos to place him on injured reserve. Veteran wide receiver Brandon Johnson has also missed time with a leg injury before he returned to practice earlier this week.
Jeudy also missed six games with an ankle injury in 2021 along with another game due to COVID-19.