The Broncos bolstered their beleaguered wide receiving corps Tuesday by signing free agent Quan Cosby. The third-year pro from the University of Texas spent the last two seasons with the Bengals.
He’ll also reinforce Denver’s return game, which was depleted when receiver/returner Eddie Royal (groin) was injured Sunday in a game against the Bengals.
The Broncos went into their game with just three receivers because All-Pro Brandon Lloyd (groin) and Demaryius Thomas (Achilles) were sidelined. They had been expecting Lloyd to be available after practicing Friday but he wasn’t quite ready.
That meant rookie tight end Julius Thomas was the emergency receiver, but he went down with a high ankle sprain on Denver’s first drive, and when Royal pulled up lame on a sideline route in the second quarter, the Broncos were forced to use third-string quarterback Tim Tebow as a slot receiver in some sets.
Tebow was never targeted in the passing game and coach John Fox reiterated Monday that he’s not an option as a pass-catcher down the road.
With so many receivers down, second-year wide receiver Eric Decker, who had a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown in the opener against Oakland, caught nine passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start. He had a fair catch in his only punt return after Royal’s injury.
Cosby’s addition might allow Decker to focus solely on his offensive role starting Sunday at Tennessee, especially if Lloyd is limited.
Although he has just six catches for 71 yards in 32 NFL games, Cosby’s 70 punt returns from 2009-10 were the second-most in the league. He led the NFL with 474 punt return yards in ’09.
To make room for Cosby, the Broncos waived tailback Jeremiah Johnson, whom they had promoted from their practice squad on Saturday. They also added tight end John Nalbone to their practice squad.