The Denver Broncos signed Bryce Callahan before the 2018 season and had high hopes for the young cornerback. He never got a chance to fulfill them for the Broncos defense, though. Through unfortunate circumstances, Callahan missed the entire 2019 season.
So what happened? What led to Callahan not playing last year yet still costing the Broncos $7 million? And how are his chances of coming back in 2020?
Bryce Callahan career overview and big contract
According to Pro Football Reference, Callahan played collegiately at Rice. He wasn’t drafted, but the Chicago Bears signed him, and he made his debut in 2015. Callahan played solid at corner, becoming an integral part of one of the league’s finest defenses. Callahan played so well that he earned himself a considerable raise. Spotrac reported the Broncos signed him to a three-year, $21 million contract in March 2019.
It was the ultimate rags to riches story. It didn’t quite go as planned, however.
The unfortunate timing of Bryce Callahan’s injury
Callahan had a great start to his career. It appeared as though the stars had aligned after a stellar 2018 season. He signed a big deal with Denver, where he was joining a talented defense full of playmakers. He reunited with his former Bears’ defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio. Everything was coming up for Callahan.
But a lingering injury submarined his chances for early success in Denver.
According to CBS Sports, Callahan suffered a serious foot injury at the end of the 2018 NFL season. He never fully recovered from the surgery on his foot and ended up missing the entire season. That’s 1/3 of his contract’s life, meaning the Broncos paid $7 million, unfortunately, for no production last year. Of course, that was no fault of Callahan’s, and teams owe their players’ money when they’re injured on the job. Either way, it had to be a heartbreaking result for a player who rose from being undrafted to signing a major free-agent deal.
But rumor has it the league may not have heard the last of him.
The future of Bryce Callahan
2019 was quite a disappointing year for Callahan, but his career is far from over yet. After restructuring his deal with Denver this past offseason, Callahan told the Houston Chronicle that he’s energized and motivated to play in 2020.
“Coming off of last year, it was a big disappointment…I don’t want to say I’ve got something to prove, but I’ve got something to prove to myself. I’ve never been more excited to get back out on the football field. This was my first year in 20-something odd years that I didn’t play football, so it’s a big year for me. I’ve never worked this hard in the offseason.
I’m ready to get back out there. I’m full-go with no limitations. I’m not really even thinking about my foot. Everything is moving in the right direction. I just want to play all 16 games, stay healthy and ball out.”
Callahan (and the rest of the NFL, for that matter) may not get the opportunity to play in 2020 because of COVID-19. As football waits for the other major sports to act as guinea pigs with their truncated seasons, it’s anyone’s guess what the 2020 NFL season will look like or if it will even happen at all.
Callahan is in a good spot, however. He’s healthy and ready to play, but he’ll have another year to rest up if he doesn’t. If he does take the field in 2020, he’ll likely rebound a lot stronger than before.