The Raiders removed Booker (illness) from the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday, Vic Tafur of The Athletic reports.
After a brief stay on the list, Booker can get back to working his way into a regular-season roster spot with the Raiders. Not only is the backfield headlined by Josh Jacobs, but depth at the position isn't light. Behind Jacobs, both Jalen Richard and rookie Lynn Bowden likely are assured roles in the offense, leaving Booker to contend with fellow veteran Jeremy Hill for potentially just one spot.
The Raiders will placed Booker (illness) on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.
Booker is the first Raider to test positive, or at least have been in close contact with someone who was COVID-positive in the recent past. He joined the team this offseason after four years of decreasing production with the Broncos. In particular, he played just 26 offensive snaps and 195 plays on special teams last year. With his new squad, Booker may be on the outside looking in at a spot in Las Vegas' backfield, which is composed of Josh Jacobs, Jalen Richard and rookie Lynn Bowden.
Booker agreed to terms on a contract with the Raiders on Wednesday, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area reports.
The 27-year-old became an unrestricted free agent in March after totaling two carries for nine yards and six catches for 57 yards in his fourth season with the Broncos in 2019. Booker had a solid rookie campaign with 877 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns, but his role in Denver steadily declined over the last few seasons. The Raiders already have Josh Jacobs (knee), Jalen Richard (ankle) and rookie third-round pick Lynn Bowden on hand in the backfield, so Booker may not be guaranteed a roster spot once the preseason ends.
Booker caught six of nine targets for 57 yards and added nine yards on two carries in 2019.
Booker has seen his yardage and touch numbers decline each year since his 877-yard rookie campaign in 2016. Booker recorded a touch in just six of 16 games in 2019 and didn't get on the stat sheet until Week 9. His role in the return game was also reduced with the emergence of former CFL star Diontae Spencer. Given the production Denver has gotten out of young stars Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, Booker figures to be playing for another squad in 2020, as the Broncos are likely to find younger, cheaper options at RB3.
Booker caught one of his two targets for two yards during Sunday's 27-17 win over the Lions.
Booker's day could have been a little nicer if he managed to wrangle a well-placed pass downfield from Drew Lock during the Broncos' opening drive. The veteran back may be playing his final game as a Bronco on Sunday against the Raiders, as he heads to free agency in the offseason. He's managed a few offensive snaps a game in recent weeks as he has reclaimed some of the passing-down role he enjoyed in 2018, but not nearly enough to pique fantasy interest.
Booker earned a five-yard carry during Sunday's 23-3 loss in Kansas City.
Booker continues to get minimal action on offense with just five snaps and one touch Sunday. He has garnered a touch in four of his last five games, but figures to be kept to a limited role behind Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. He's a solid receiver out of the backfield and should record a catch or two Sunday against a weak Detroit pass defense, but his upside is extremely limited absent an injury to Lindsay and Freeman.
Booker caught two passes for 24 yards during Sunday's 38-24 win over the Texans.
Booker set up Denver's third touchdown of the day early in the second quarter, angling out of the backfield for a 25-yard catch-and-run. That play alone accounted for more yards than Booker had previously accounted for all season. The fourth-year back remains a distant third on the depth chart behind sophomores Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay, but at least -- unlike earlier this season -- the Broncos are rotating him in on offense in recent weeks. The fact that "rotating him in" consisted of just two offensive snaps Sunday, however, should still keep him out of your mind when setting your lineup. Next up is a stingy Chiefs pass defense.
Booker gained four yards on his lone rush during Sunday's 27-23 loss in Minnesota. He was unable to bring in either of his targets.
Booker's five offensive snaps Sunday were three more than he had in the previous nine games combined and he now has a touch in each of the last two weeks. That counts as progress for the veteran back, who has been relegated to special teams duty for much of the season. So long as Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman are healthy, Booker probably won't get much more than a touch or two as the No. 3 RB on Sunday against Buffalo's stout defense.
Booker caught a 14-yard pass during Sunday' 24-19 win over the Browns. He also had a 32-yard kick return during the contest.
With the Broncos facing first down and 20 yards to go in the fourth quarter, Booker angled out of the backfield and cut through the defense over the middle. The veteran back has been overshadowed by sophomores Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman in Denver's backfield and generally doesn't even get much action as a returner so long as Diontae Spencer, who exited Sunday's game with a knee injury, is in the fold. Don't expect Sunday's catch to be a jumping-off point. Booker logged just one offensive snap against Cleveland. Even if he does get a little more involved in the offense, Minnesota's sixth-ranked defense awaits after the bye.
Booker did not see an offensive snap during Sunday's 27-16 loss in Green Bay.
That's back-to-back weeks for Booker, who also has been phased out as a returner. Booker's silence offensively came during a game in which Royce Freeman reportedly battled shoulder discomfort, and head coach Vic Fangio told reporters that Green Bay dared the Broncos to run. If he wasn't used in such a game against Green Bay, it's doubtful that he gets many opportunities against the Jaguars.
Booker did not record a touch and did not return a kick during Sunday's 16-14 loss to Chicago.
Booker did not log a single offense snap Sunday and, while he was in on 14 special-teams plays, he seems to have been replaced at kick returner by Diontae Spencer. Booker figures to be an emergency play only if Phillip Lindsay or Royce Freeman go down, and that may only be until Theo Riddick (shoulder) is activated off IR.
Booker was not targeted and did not garner a carry during Monday's 24-16 loss in Oakland.
The score likely prevented the Broncos from pounding the ball the way they might have liked to entering Monday's opener, but that didn't stop Denver from trying to run rookie tight end Noah Fant and quarterback Joe Flacco rather than Booker. The veteran Ute was always going to be a distant third to talented sophomores Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, but it was telling that newly acquired receiver/returner Diontae Spencer was back for kicks as opposed to Booker, who was listed atop the depth chart at kick returner. Booker figures to dress on game days at least until Theo Riddick (shoulder) heals up, but it would be foolish to expect him to get many -- if any -- touches.
Booker rushed four times for 15 yards and caught both his targets for eight yards in Monday night's 24-15 preseason loss to the 49ers.
Booker's touches almost exclusively came on Denver's two-minute drive to close the first half. His contributions helped earn the Broncos a field goal, displaying his comfort level in a critical game situation in the process. With Theo Riddick (shoulder) sidelined, Booker is aiming to hold off Khalfani Muhammad and Devontae Jackson to serve as his team's No. 3 tailback behind Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman again this season. Considering Muhammad didn't play Monday and Jackson managed just six yards on three carries, Booker approaches Saturday's game against the Rams in a good position.
With Theo Riddick (shoulder) set to miss the first few games of the season, Booker may find a role on the team, Mike Klis of 9News Denver reports.
The offseason has not been kind to Booker, who has seen rookie Devontae Jackson and pickups Theo Riddick and Khalfani Muhammad all take shots at replacing him as RB3. Riddick's injury makes it far more likely that the Broncos keep him as a veteran backup to at least start the season, but he's not out of the woods yet. Muhammad and Jackson have each had their moments during the first two preseason games and both have outperformed Booker as returners. The Broncos may ultimately prefer their upside over Booker's experience.
The Broncos are signing veteran back Theo Riddick, Rob Demovsky of ESPN NFL Nation reports. The signing directly threatens Booker's role on the team.
There had been whispers that Booker is not a lock to make the final roster throughout the offseason. Those are now alarm bells. Booker's role in Denver's offense is that of a pass-catching option on third downs. Riddick has nabbed 247 passes over the past four seasons and makes Booker redundant. Absent Booker blowing all other options away as a kick returner, Riddick's signing seems to signal Booker's pending departure.
Booker is listed as Denver's top kick returner on the team's first official depth chart.
Booker has returned 24 kicks over the past two seasons for an uninspiring 21.3 yards per return. The Broncos have struggled at returner in recent seasons, so any level of stability back there will be valued. That said, Denver's front office is clearly looking at other options to back up the young rushing duo of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, with Theo Riddick paying a recent visit to Mile High and rookie Devontae Jackson nipping at Booker's heels on the depth chart both at running back and kick returner. At best, Booker will be a solid returner who will nab some passes on third down. At worst, he may be off the squad in a few weeks.
Booker and Royce Freeman got most of the work with the starting offense while Phillip Lindsay focused on rehabbing a wrist injury this spring, ESPN.com's Jeff Legwold reports.
Lacking Freeman's size and power or Lindsay's speed and elusiveness, Booker understandably seems to be the forgotten man in Denver's backfield, though his reliable hands could be enough to earn some work on passing downs. The Broncos ideally would like to see Lindsay seize those snaps, but his five drops on 47 targets contributed to a lackluster mark of just 5.1 YPT last season. To be fair, Booker wasn't much better at 5.4, dropping his career mark to 6.1 YPT. If nothing else, he has a good chance to stick on the 53-man roster, as competition for the No. 3 running back spot is limited to Khalfani Muhammad and undrafted rookie Devontae Jackson.
Booker rushed 34 times for 183 yards and a touchdown and added 38 catches for 275 yards on 51 targets in 2018.
Despite establishing a new career high in receptions, Booker still finished his third NFL campaign with 37 fewer touches than either of his first two seasons. The presence of rookies Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman were major factors, with a large chunk of Booker's carries coming in games in which one of the two young stars exited early. Booker should have a similar third-down role in 2019, though his opportunities could diminish if the Broncos grow more comfortable with using Lindsay in those situations.
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said Booker will "get a bunch of runs" in Sunday's season finale against the Chargers, Zac Stevens of BSNDenver.com reports.
Both Booker and Royce Freeman will see boosts in their respective fantasy stocks in Week 17 after lead back Phillip Lindsay was shut down with a wrist injury that will require surgery. Given that he's logged 113 rushing attempts to Booker's 29 this season, Freeman will inherit the bulk of Lindsay's touches on the ground, though Musgrave's comments hint that a timeshare on some level will be in the works. Even if Booker notices a mild uptick in carries, he's still more likely to offer most of his utility in the passing game, where he's consistently held a more prominent role than Freeman all season.
Booker rushed three times for 21 yards and caught three of five targets for 21 more yards in Monday night's 27-14 loss to the Raiders.
Booker was a triple threat on Christmas Eve as he added 116 yards on five kick returns in the contest. He saw his first rushing attempts in three weeks while Phillip Lindsay was knocked out of the game with a wrist injury. If Lindsay is unable to go Week 17 at home against the Chargers, Booker would stand to see another handful of rushes in addition to his usual allotment of targets.
|Career Rushing Stats|
|Career Receiving Stats|
|Career Kick Return Stats|