Broncos wide receiver KJ Hamler has torn an ACL and will miss the remainder of the season, coach Vic Fangio confirmed Monday.
The anterior cruciate ligament injury to Hamler's left knee occurred during the second quarter of the Broncos’ game Sunday against the Jets. The second-year wide receiver has caught 35 passes for 455 yards and three touchdowns in his career.
While production may not show up in the statistics, Hamler was considered one of the Broncos' top wide receivers who many believed was poised for a breakout season. His speed and agility is something few teams have and the Broncos will miss.
"KJ's a hard guy to cover," Fangio said. "You saw the key third down that we made a conversion with him. They were in man coverage and the guy was nowhere near him. He's hard to cover. So we'll miss him."
The Broncos are down two starting wide receivers, with Jerry Jeudy being out with an ankle injury for at least two more weeks. While Jeudy will return soon, the Broncos likely need to look elsewhere for receiver production.
Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick will carry much of the load, with Diontae Spencer and Kendall Hinton hoping to contribute as well. the Broncos also have Tyrie Cleveland and rookie Seth Williams on the practice squad as players who could be elevated to the roster.
"It hurts because out of all of us, he was a different one. He had God-given speed, so it’s definitely tough," Patrick said. “Yeah there’s definitely no replacing KJ. You just replace it by making plays and more balls for other people, and when the ball comes your way just make a play. It might not be in a way that he would do it, but there are other ways to make big plays.”
The Broncos did sign Raiders practice squad wide receiver David Moore on Monday evening, sources confirmed to The Gazette. Moore is an experienced wide receiver, playing four seasons (2017-2020) in Seattle before signing with the Raiders. In those four seasons, he played in 47 games, totaling 78 receptions for 1,163 yards and 51 touchdowns.
"All of the above," Fangio said when asked how they'll replace Hamler. "We'll consider everybody we have here now, take a look at what might be available and make our choices, make our decisions."
Hamler isn't the only starter who got hurt Sunday, with guards Graham Glasgow (knee) and Dalton Risner (foot) leaving the game with injuries. Fangio does not expect either of those to be season-ending, but does not know how long they will be out.
That's seven starters the Broncos have had injured through three weeks. Hamler, Glasgow and Risner join Jeudy, cornerback Ronald Darby (hamstring), outside linebacker Bradley Chubb (ankle) and inside linebacker Josey Jewell (pec), who, like Hamler, is out for the season.
"We don't like to see anybody get hurt, just on a personal basis before you even start thinking about the football part of it," Fangio said. "But yeah, it's getting tested a little too early. But we are a deeper team than we have been in the past and I think we'll be able to absorb it."