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What It Means: Broncos add James Casey


It was easy to forget about the possibility of James Casey joining the Broncos, since the former Eagles and Texans tight end visited Dove Valley just after the Scouting Combine as part of a tour that took him to several teams following his release by Philadelphia.

But in the weeks that followed, the Broncos' need for a player like Casey never ebbed. As April began, they still didn't have a true fullback, and needed another experienced tight end for depth with Owen Daniels and Virgil Green leading off the depth chart.

Casey remained an ideal fit, and the Broncos agreed to terms with him on a one-year contract Saturday.

In Philadelphia the last two seasons, Casey worked primarily as a blocker, catching six passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns while playing 31 games in 2013 and 2014. He was most effective as a run blocker with the Eagles; gave him grades of plus-4.8 and plus-3.6 the last two seasons, even though he played just 157 and 173 snaps, respectively, in those years.

In four previous years with Houston under Gary Kubiak, he saw more work as a target, grabbing a career-high 34 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns in the 2012 season, when he started nine games, often working in two-tight end packages with Daniels.

As with Antoine Smith, Shelley Smith and Vance Walker, Casey does not count toward the calculation of compensatory picks in next year's draft, since he was a street free agent released by the Eagles in February. That gave the Broncos the chance to add Casey now and give him the benefit of a full offseason -- one in which he can also help tight ends, offensive linemen and running backs acclimate to the tweaked offense.

But above all, Casey gives the Broncos a potential fullback who knows the offense. His arrival completes the Broncos' task to have a roster with experienced options at every position before the draft arrives, leaving them with few pressing needs -- and more options when April 30 arrives.

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