ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — With his carries having evaporated in recent weeks, Denver Broncos running back Jamaal Charles said Tuesday he would like the team to release him so he could have a chance to catch on with a playoff team. His role has not been what he expected, he said.
“I ain’t playing. Might as well,” Charles told The Denver Post. “No reason for me to just sit around and look at people play.”
Charles signed a one-year deal in May with a $900,000 base salary that could have been worth up to $3.75 million overall if he had hit all of the bonuses available in the contract. But the progression of this troubled season for the Broncos’ offense has not given him much playing time recently.
Asked Tuesday whether the Broncos would release Charles to give him a chance to be signed by a playoff team, coach Vance Joseph said, “That has not been a thought for us.”
Charles turns 31 on Wednesday.
“I want to play,” he told reporters. “I want to see because I feel like I never got a chance to show people that I can carry the load, so I still want to [show] that I can carry a team. I want an opportunity. That’s all I want.
“I thought we were all going to get a chance to share the ball … like, I look around and see the Patriots share the running backs and New Orleans. You know what I’m saying? I just never got an opportunity. Just like, put me in.”
Charles had 10 carries in the season opener — a win over the Los Angeles Chargers — but has not reached that total since then. He had 10, nine and nine carries respectively in the Broncos’ first three games, but when running back Devontae Booker returned in Week 4 from a fractured wrist that was repaired in training camp, Charles’ playing time never returned to that early-season level.
And with the Broncos (5-10) having missed the playoffs, the team put rookie De’Angelo Henderson into the mix this past Sunday against the Redskins, when Henderson played on special teams and sparingly on offense. The Broncos are expected to have Henderson in the lineup again Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, Charles’ former team.
Overall Charles has had just seven carries in the past six games combined. Charles has 425 yards from scrimmage this season — 296 yards rushing to go with 129 yards receiving.
If he is a game-day inactive again Sunday against the Chiefs, as expected, he would not have a final chance to earn a $100,000 bonus for 500 yards from scrimmage for the season. Charles has incentives built into his contract that would have paid him bonuses for 500, 750, 1,000, 1,200 and 1,400 yards from scrimmage.
The bonus for 1,400 yards from scrimmage would have been $1 million.