The Denver Broncos and Phillip Lindsay are parting ways.
The Broncos agreed Thursday to rescind its restricted free agent tender on the fourth-year running back, removing their right to match any offer Lindsay gets on the open market.
“I’m very appreciative for my time with the Denver Broncos,” Lindsay tweeted. “As a Colorado kid, I was able to fulfill my dream of playing for my home team. I want to thank my teammates, coaches, staff and everyone involved in the Broncos organization who made this possible for me.”
Lindsay’s agent, Mike McCartney, announced the agreement on Twitter and the Broncos followed with tributes on Twitter to the former Denver South High alum and University of Colorado star who became the first undrafted player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons to start his career.
“After great conversations with the Broncos, it’s been mutually decided that rescinding the RFA tender is best for both Phillip Lindsay and the team,” McCartney wrote. “It’s been a great three years in Denver for (Lindsay). Nothing beats seeing Empower Field rocking as it did when No. 30 broke a long run.”
At an evening news conference to introduce two free agents who signed with Denver, general manager George Paton said rescinding the tender on Lindsay was simply the right thing to do.
“We’ve had a lot of talks over the last couple of weeks with Phillip and Mike McCartney, his agent. At the end of the day, we wanted to do right by Phillip,” Paton said. “He’s been a great player here and he’s been great in the community. He’s one of the more popular players for the Broncos the last few years and we wanted to let Phillip hit the market and maximize his value, so that’s what we did. He deserves that.”
The move comes a day after Paton agreed to a two-year deal with former Minnesota Vikings backup running back Mike Boone, a special teams ace Paton got to know during his time as a Vikings executive.
This month, a drunken driving charge against Broncos top running back Melvin Gordon was dismissed, potentially clearing him of an NFL suspension and possible release from his contract, which has one year remaining.
Lindsay rushed for 1,037 yards in 2018 when he became the first undrafted offensive rookie voted to the Pro Bowl, and 1,011 yards in 2019. But Lindsay’s production slipped last season to 502 yards on just 118 carries as he dealt with toe and knee injuries that landed him on IR in December.
After scoring a combined 16 touchdowns in his first two seasons, he scored just once last year, on a 55-yard run that kick-started a comeback victory over the Chargers.
On Monday, the Broncos offered a right-of-first refusal tender on Lindsay, meaning they could match any offer sheet he signed in free agency but receive no compensation if they declined.
Lindsay, who will be 27 next season, has rushed for 2,550 yards and 17 touchdowns on 534 carries (a 4.8-yard average) for his career, and he has never fumbled. He also has 465 yards receiving with one TD catch.
Lindsay finished his college career as Colorado’s all-time leading rusher, but he didn’t get a combine invitation nor did he get drafted. He signed with his hometown Broncos on May 1, 2018, and quickly earned first-team snaps during the team’s offseason program.
He became the first undrafted rookie to top 100 yards rushing in each of his first two NFL games that season. He became just the third Broncos rookie to earn Pro Bowl honors, joining David Treadwell (1989) and Von Miller (2011).