British offensive lineman Menelik Watson’s time in Denver is over after the Broncos placed him on injured reserve with release.
The 29-year-old was considered week-to-week as he recovered from a pectoral injury picked up in the second week of the Broncos’ training camp.
Watson first missed practice on August 8 and reportedly had an MRI, which did not reveal a tear, on August 16.
But the Broncos decided to move on from the sixth-year pro, despite Watson’s 2018 salary resulting in a $6.83 million salary cap hit.
#Broncos will cut ties with disappointing offensive lineman Menelik Watson, sources confirm. Didn’t work on his move to guard. Hurt again. Will place go on IR then release when healthy. Had to happen. First reported by @MikeKlis
— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) August 20, 2018
The Mancunian has endured an injury-plagued career, which followed him to Denver from Oakland, where he played just 27 games (17 starts) since being drafted in the second round in 2013.
Watson signed a three-year deal with the Broncos on March 10, 2017, but the writing was on the wall last season when he was seen as a weakness on the offensive line during the first half of the season then missed nine games with a calf injury.
The Broncos brought back Watson in 2018, with his salary guaranteed on March 1, but the team subsequently traded a sixth-round pick for Arizona’s Jared Veldheer in an attempt to fix their problems at right tackle.
Rather than shipping out Watson, the Broncos gave him the chance to compete for the right guard spot, which was won by Connor McGovern.
A fifth-round pick out of Missouri, McGovern sat out his rookie season in 2016, but finished 2017 as the starting right guard after Ronald Leary was injured.
McGovern cemented his place as the Broncos’ starting right guard during training camp, and put in an impressive performance in the second preseason game against Chicago on Saturday.
Pro Football Focus graded McGovern as the Broncos’ second-best offensive player and best lineman, while Watson’s replacement at right tackle also impressed.