ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Denver Broncos traded a 2017 fifth-round pick to the rival New England Patriots in exchange for tight end A.J. Derby.
To make room, they released veteran safety Shiloh Keo for the second time this season.
Derby was a sixth-round draft pick out of Arkansas last year and has played in four games for the Patriots this season after spending his rookie season on IR.
Playing behind Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett, Derby played just 36 snaps. But his preseason production — 15 receptions for 189 yards, a TD — is roughly what the Broncos’ tight ends have managed this season.
Virgil Green, John Phillips and Jeff Heuerman have a combined 17 catches for 183 yards and a touchdown.
Broncos GM John Elway called Derby “a young tight end who can help us immediately.”
This is the second consecutive year that Elway has acquired a tight end just before the trade deadline. Last year it was veteran Vernon Davis, who ended up not helping them out as much as they’d hoped. He caught 20 passes for 201 yards in the regular season but had zero receptions in the playoffs.
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