The first round of roster cuts is mercifully finished. The teeth-pulling can be discontinued until after Thursday night's game.
In order to cut the 93-man roster down to 75 spots, the Denver Broncos had to make decisions influenced by both finance and performance. Here's a quick look at all of the fallen Broncos:
- S Brandian Ross
- OL Mathu Gibson
- ILB Frank Shannon
- TE Manasseh Garner
- S Antonio Glover
- DT Calvin Heurtelou
- OT Cameron Jefferson
- NT David Moala
- WR Durron Neal
- WR DeVier Posey
- ILB Darnell Sankey
- OT Kyle Roberts
- TE Garrett Graham (IR)
- WR Bralon Addison
- P Britton Colquitt
Punter Britton Colquitt, before his release, was the longest-tenured Bronco, having been signed as an undrafted rookie in 2009. We watched him blossom alongside Matt Prater in 2011 as a part of a crucial special teams unit, steadily decline from about 2014 into the 2015 season, and finally give a masterful effort in the 2015 playoffs en route to the Super Bowl.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1681565-5-reasons-you-should-go-p...In the end, many of these roster cuts are a means of creating the most-cap friendly roster, and that meant sticking with Syracuse rookie Riley Dixon. Sure, Dixon can run a mean fake punt and can give the ball a ride, but Colquitt was likely the safer choice in 2016. Unfortunately for him, safety doesn't translate to salary.
The Broncos asked Colquitt to take a pay cut prior to last season (he accepted), but wasn't willing to do the same this time. It's hard to blame him; he can probably command more than the near-league minimum Denver offered him to stay. Watch out for the Cleveland Browns, who just traded away Pro-Bowl punter Andy Lee to Carolina, to give Colquitt a hard look.
We'll miss you, Britton. It's too bad that Jim Nantz and Phil Simms won't be able to beat the Colquitt bros punt-off angle into the ground again this year when the Broncos play the Kansas City Chiefs.
Wide Receiver Purge
One of the big things to watch heading into training camp this year was the cluster of undrafted and free agent wide receivers the Broncos had acquired. Well, the picture is a lot more clear after the first wave of cuts.
DeVier Posey, Bralon Addison, and Durron Neal all bit the dust and thinned out the pack of pass catchers. The guys that will really benefit now with the rest gone are Kalif Raymond and Mose Frazier. Raymond is still bidding for the role of punt returner, and Frazier has steadily built off of his chemistry with Paxton Lynch, grabbing four passes in the past two games.
When the preseason finale at Arizona rolls around on Thursday, Raymond will get plenty of chances to return punts while Frazier should see plenty of targets as Lynch quarterbacks the offense for the duration of the game. They certainly won't keep both, but there's a shot Raymond makes the final roster and Frazier lands on the practice squad, if only for the sake of his Memphis teammate.
Graham simply couldn't get healthy after hurting his shoulder in training camp, and the 30-year old tight end only took the field in the first week of the preseason. In his absence, Henry Krieger-Coble made the absolute most of his snaps, demonstrating toughness (see San Francisco game), good hands, precise routes, and the ability to find a soft spot in zone coverage.
HKC isn't a particularly gifted or imposing athletic specimen, but his stellar work so far has at least guaranteed him a spot on the practice squad. Whether or not the Broncos allow him onto the roster comes down to another tight end, John Phillips. Phillips will always see the field because of is blocking ability, but he can hang onto a pass should it come his way.
The Broncos sending Graham to the IR is essentially being broken up with by your girlfriend, only for her to halfheartedly announce that she wants to stay friends. He can hang around the team this season, but don't expect anything to come of it.
Sanchez: Still Here!
Take another gander at the list of 15 that got the axe. As you will notice, none of them are named Mark Sanchez, or are a quarterback, or wear the number six. That's right, he's still here and it's still about as awkward as it gets.
My guess is that the Broncos are holding onto the relative pipe dream that is trading the veteran quarterback. The Dallas Cowboys reportedly rejected a trade offer yesterday, but we'll see if they change their tune. And they might, for one reason:
A devastating injury happened today at the quarterback position. Teddy Bridgewater suffered an absolutely gruesome, heart-wrenching injury. As distasteful as it is to bring up this early, the Minnesota Vikings will likely be in the market for a veteran quarterback to provide depth. Currently, their only quarterbacks are career back-up Shaun Hill and aspiring career back-up Joel Stave.
Either the Cowboys or Vikings can take their chances on signing Sanchez for a lower price after he is inevitably cut by Denver, or they can force the issue and get John Elway on the blower. Stay tuned for any developments.
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Will Keys is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @WillKeys6.