The Phillip Lindsay era with the Denver Broncos is over after just three seasons.
It seems insane to even tap that, considering it feels like yesterday, the Colorado Kid is ripping apart opposing defenses and looking like a long-term star on the Broncos return position.
In his historic rookie season, Lindsay rushed for 1,037 yards and nine touchdowns. He also had his first and only touchdown as Bronco in his first NFL game (against Seattle) and was elected to the Pro Bowl.
He was the first uncovered rookie to run back to make the Pro Bowl in NFL history. He followed that massive rookie season with another 1,000 yards in 2019 and added another seven touchdowns.
Unfortunately, after the addition of Melvin Gordon and a battle with injuries in 2020, Lindsay’s role with the Broncos came under serious scrutiny and ultimately led us to where we are today – goodbye.
I am very grateful for my time with the Denver Broncos. As a kid from Colorado, I was able to fulfill my dream of playing for my home team. I would like to thank my teammates, coaches, staff and everyone involved in the Broncos organization for making this possible. https://t.co/drjm9qep4E
– Phillip Lindsay (@I_CU_boy) March 18, 2021
Lindsay’s three seasons with the Broncos have been mostly amazing, but the era is over. Lindsay will now be an unrestricted free agent after the Broncos and his agency reached an agreement to lift the restricted free agent offer (just over $ 2 million) that the Broncos recently placed on him.
This means that the Broncos had no intention of comparing offers that Lindsay had received in the free agency anyway. Now he can do this free agency process without being tied to Denver.
What’s next for Phillip Lindsay? The San Francisco 49ers – who could lose both Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon to the free hand – may seem like a good fit, but there should be other contenders. The New York Jets also make a lot of sense.
Any number of teams carrying out the Shanahan / Kubiak crime would be a tremendous fit for Lindsay.
What’s next for the Broncos?
The team signed an uncovered colleague from 2018 on Wednesday night who ran back Mike Boone.
Boone was a great special team player for the Vikings but obviously doesn’t have two seasons with 1,000 yards on his resume at this point.
At 5-foot-10, 206 pounds, Boone is considerably taller than Lindsay, and he’s no fool compared to Phil in the sports department.
On Cincinnati Pro Day in 2018, Boone ran a 4.44 (Lindsay ran a 4.39 on CU Pro Day), benched 25 at 225 pounds, did a 42-inch vertical jump, 11’7 “long jump and a 6, 95 in the three-cone drill. Those test numbers would put him in the top percentile in his position group and likely across the NFL in just about every category.
In three NFL seasons, Boone has certainly maximized his chances on the field for the Vikings. He only carried the ball 71 times, but averaged 5.3 yards per carry with four touchdowns and 13 first-down carries. He also has eight tackles and over 450 special teams in the past two seasons.
That should be valuable to the Broncos as Joe Jones, a key player on a special team, is also a free agent.
In addition to Boone, the Broncos also have Royce Freeman from the third round in 2018 under contract. Can Freeman regain his early 2018 form?
Prior to an ankle injury he sustained in the 2018 season, Freeman looked like he was light, at least 1b to Phillip Lindsay’s 1a. Throughout the camp and preseason game that year, Freeman was the best player on the team.
He has better third-down skills and could potentially be considered for RB2 roles in 2021.
With all of that in mind, it would be a bit shocking at this point if the Denver Broncos didn’t draft a rewind, and the chances are they could hit a pretty high value.
Some of the top backs in the 2021 NFL Draft include Alabama’s Najee Harris, Clemson’s Travis Etienne, and North Carolina’s duo of Javonte Williams and Michael Carter.
Any of these guys would have the ability to be an RB1 of the future type with the Denver Broncos.
No matter what the Broncos do in the rest of the free agency or the 2021 NFL draft, Phillip Lindsay’s chapter with the team has come to an end.