Just 2 years ago, the Denver Broncos appeared to have landed their franchise running back when they drafted Javonte Williams early in the 2nd round.
In his rookie season, Williams showed plenty of promise, running for 903 yards despite splitting backfield work with Melvin Gordon.
In his 2nd year in the NFL, fans were expecting to see that role grow, but the Broncos didn’t really let him loose early in the year.
Then a torn ACL brought his season to an early end just 4 games into the season.
As he recovers, there have been questions about when he will actually be ready to play in the 2023 season.
While he works his way back, Samaje Perine is expected to get the bulk of the work in the backfield.
However, it looks like he won’t just become Williams’ backup when he returns.
According to The Athletic’s Nick Kosmider, Perine should still have a significant role even after Williams is back.
• What role will Samaje Perine's role in Denver's offense look like?
• The impact of healthy offseason for Randy Gregory?
• Who will occupy return roles?
Questions ahead of the Broncos beginning OTA practices next week: https://t.co/VRgPAcDQQs
— Nick Kosmider (@NickKosmider) May 19, 2023
This is nothing new for Sean Payton, who had Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara playing in a committee for years with the Saints.
Perine also performed pretty well for the Bengals last season. He averaged more yards per carry than Joe Mixon and made 38 catches for 287 yards.
Still, it is surprising to hear that in year 3, the Broncos still aren’t ready to make Williams a bellcow back given the draft capital they spent on him.
Instead, it loos like we can expect to see a healthy dose of Samaje Perine for the Denver Broncos in 2023 in a development that Williams’ fantasy owners surely won’t be happy to hear.