There is now a high possibility, if not probability, that Phillip Lindsay departs the Denver Broncos this offseason.
According to media reports, the Broncos on Monday placed an original-round tender — worth $2.133 million for 2021 — on the restricted free-agent running back.
This means the team will have the right of first refusal should Lindsay sign an offer sheet with an outside suitor, but Denver would not receive compensation if the sheet isn’t matched. (You may recall the Broncos nearly losing CJ Anderson to the Dolphins in 2016 after opting not to tender him at the second-round level.)
Compare this to the $3.384 million second-round tender which would have, at best, landed the Broncos a second-round draft choice or, at worst, ensured Lindsay’s return next season.
What happens next for the Broncos? Don’t miss out on any news and analysis! Take a second and sign up for our free newsletter and get breaking Broncos news delivered to your inbox daily!
A two-time 1,000-yard back and ex-Pro Bowler, Lindsay gutted through an injury-marred and statistically disappointing 2020 campaign in which the Colorado product collected just 502 ground yards and one touchdown across 118 attempts (eight games). He added seven receptions for 28 yards, losing pass-catching duties to veteran Melvin Gordon, who led the Broncos with 1,144 yards from scrimmage and 10 total scores (nine rushing).
But Lindsay grew increasingly unhappy with his standing — or lack thereof — in the organization, publicly airing his displeasure on numerous occasions this offseason. The writing presumably on the wall, he hinted at a Denver divorce during a March 10 interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
“What more can I do? What more can I show?” Lindsay responded when asked if he feels wanted.
Assuming Lindsay indeed is a goner, the Broncos are slated to move forward at the position with Gordon, who still faces potential league discipline over his drunken-driving arrest last October. (Gordon was cleared of DUI charges.)
The team also has Royce Freeman under contract through 2021, though it now becomes likely the Broncos address the position in next month’s draft.
Lindsay’s contract move caps off a hectic Monday for new Broncos general manager George Paton, who re-signed defensive end Shelby Harris, brought aboard cornerback Ronald Darby, declined safety Kareem Jackson’s option, and tendered at the second-round level RFA linebacker Alexander Johnson and wide receiver Tim Patrick.
Follow Zack on Twitter @KelbermanNFL
Follow Mile High Huddle on Twitter and Facebook.
Subscribe to Mile High Huddle on YouTube for daily Broncos live-stream podcasts!