Oct 3, 2014 - Matt Prater has been released by the Denver Broncos. So long as Brandon McManus stays with the team through week 5, the Broncos will send a 7th round pick to the New York Giants as part of the trade that landed him.
Prater was scheduled to make $3M this season with an exact cap number of $3,106,618. By cutting him, Prater will count $812,500 against the cap this season and next, while saving the team $2,294,118 this season and $3,250,000 next season. McManus is signed through next year, for $420,000 this season and $510,000 next season.
Broncos Executive VP and GM John Elway said this on the move:
"Brandon McManus has earned the opportunity to continue kicking for our team." John Fox added, "It was a football decision. What gives the Broncos the best chance to win. We wish Matt the best." On McManus he added, "Part of it was evaluating Brandon. You take a leap of faith in a lot of personnel decisions."
In 6 seasons as the Broncos kicker, Prater went 141/170 on field goals and 259/261 on extra points. Last season he went 25/26 field goals, including a record-breaking 64 yarder, and 75/75 on extra points.
Through 3 games, McManus has hit all 3 of his field goal attempts to go along with his 8 extra points. Another factor that likely played into the decision is that McManus has had 14 touchbacks, compared to 2 returns allowed. Prater on the other hand has had 265 touchbacks over his career while allowing 235 kicks to be returned.
Although Prater earned his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in 2013, the team obviously felt that with the combination of his off-the-field problems, and salary cap number, they couldn't justify keeping him, especially with the emergence of McManus. This opens up some much need cap room, as the Broncos have to plan for the future contracts for stars such as Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Von Miller, and Chris Harris, among others.