Barnidge to Broncos? T.J. Ward uses Twitter to recruit free agent TE

Oct 18, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns tight end Gary Barnidge (82) catches a touchdown pass as Denver Broncos inside linebacker Danny Trevathan (59) defends in the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

As exciting as the NFL Draft is for the prospects and fans, it can also be an intimidating and nerve-racking event for NFL veterans. Often, first- or second-round draft picks can subsequently lead to a current player’s replacement.

That was the case for Cleveland Browns veteran tight end Gary Barnidge, who was released moments after the team drafted Miami tight end David Njoku.

Njoku had been seen as a possibility for the Denver Broncos to take at the No. 20 pick in the first round. They opted instead to go for Utah left tackle Garett Bolles, allowing the Browns to trade back into the first round to select Njoku.

Still seeking a playmaker at the tight end position, former Brown T.J. Ward took to Twitter to try to recruit his old teammate.

Ward saw firsthand the kind of player Barnidge was, as both played for the Browns in 2013. After the 2013 season, Ward signed a 4-year $22.5M contract with the Broncos.

Playing mostly a reserve role for the Carolina Panthers and Browns, Barnidge exploded in 2015 for 1,043 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, earning his first ever Pro Bowl nomination, despite immense inconsistency from the quarterback position.

During their game against the Broncos in October 2015, Barnidge scored twice against the “No Fly Zone.”

The Broncos’ struggles on offense have been well-documented, finishing the 2016 season with the 27th-ranked offense in the NFL.

Part of the reason for the struggles on offense have been the lack of production at the tight end position. The trio of Virgil Green, Jeff Heuerman, and mid season acquisition A.J. Derby totaled only 538 receiving yards between the three.

Signing Barnidge could be a viable option for the Broncos as they look to continue adding “juice” to an offense that needs it.

It appears Ward is using all resources, including social media, to do some recruiting for team general manager John Elway and the rest of the front office.

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