Spencer will remain with the Broncos after the team placed a contract tender on the exclusive rights free agent Tuesday, Mike Klis of 9News Denver reports.
The 27-year-old was a solid player in the return game for the Broncos in 2019, returning 15 kickoffs for 436 yards and 26 punts for 208 yards. His production as a receiver was limited, however, as he hauled in only six passes for 31 yards. Spencer's speed and elusiveness still give him the aura of a player with big-play potential, but it's likely he will continue primarily to handle return duties for Denver in 2020 rather than become more involved on offense.
Spencer returned 15 kickoffs for 436 yards and 26 punts for 208 yards during the 2019 season. On offense, he added 31 yards on six catches and six yards on three carries. He fumbled thrice during the season.
The Broncos added Spencer off of waivers from Pittsburgh just before the start of the season and the CFL veteran quickly provided an answer to Denver's years-long questions at both returner spots. His 29.1 yards per kick return ranked third in the league among players with at least 15 returns and his 8.0 yards per punt return ranked ninth overall. The Broncos tried him out as a gadget player on offense, but his big-play speed did not translate to offense on limited touches and his sure-handedness as a returner did not carry over to offense. He heads into 2020 as an exclusive-rights free agent and Denver figures to keep him for his returning prowess, but the team will probably add to the receivers room early in the draft, reducing his role on offense.
Spencer caught one of three targets for no gain during Sunday's 24-19 win over Cleveland. He added a punt return of 20 yards, kick return of 17 yards and fumbled during the contest.
Spencer put his own defense in a bind midway through the second quarter when he took a screen deep in Denver's own territory and had the ball punched out as he was trying to wiggle up field. The optimist will note that Denver is trying to be creative in getting Spencer the ball, while the pessimist will point to Spencer's fumble and minimal offensive production this season and call him a returner rather than a true receiver. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Spencer's speed and elusiveness makes him an obvious candidate for gadget plays, but he probably won't see half of the Broncos' offensive snaps, like he did Sunday, in many future games. Tim Patrick's (hand) impending return from injured reserve should knock Spencer down the depth chart sometime shortly following next week's bye.
Spencer caught both of his targets for 22 total yards and added a five-yard rush during Sunday's 15-13 loss in Indianapolis. He also had 39 yards on a pair of kick returns and 22 yards on three punt returns.
Spencer's three touches aren't bad when you consider that he only saw the field for seven offensive snaps. The CFL alum and starting returner showed a little wiggle with the ball in his hands on a 20-yard catch-and-run in the first quarter. Spencer's size probably makes him more of a gadget player than anything else, but he should definitely see a handful of touches per game as Denver otherwise doesn't have much speed at receiver following the trade of Emmanuel Sanders.
Spencer, an experienced punt returner from his years in the CFL, will join a Broncos team that was last in the NFL in punt-return average, Troy Renck of ABC 7 Denver reports.
The Broncos were holding onto River Cracraft at WR6 primarily because he was the most sure-handed punt returner on the squad. The team upgraded Sunday with the addition of Spencer who -- along with ranking seventh in the league this preseason with 103 punt-return yards on seven tries -- also recorded a 35-yard kick return. On offense, he caught four passes for 39 yards and added 48 yards on two runs. He should be active each game as a punt returner and and maybe also a kick returner, while his 4.3-speed could be featured on some gadget-type plays.
Spencer was claimed off waivers by Denver on Sunday, Mike Klis of 9News Denver reports.
Spencer was one of the last players cut by the Steelers, but quickly found a new team Sunday. It's not likely that the CFL transplant sees many targets on offense, but he has a history in the return game and could definitely help out on special teams for 2019.
Spencer caught two of four targets for 22 yards in Thursday night's 25-19 preseason loss to the Panthers.
The CFL transplant had an average preseason, catching four of his eight targets in four games. Pittsburgh has a lot of talent at the wide receiver position; therefore, Spencer will be hard-pressed to survive Saturday's roster cuts and is more likely to land on the practice squad.
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