As the slowest part of the NFL offseason drags on, the Broncos Wire podcast has returned for a mid-summer catchup episode.
The Denver Broncos have cut and signed several players since our last episode, so I joined host Ryan O’Leary to discuss the big news items that have happened since we last talked, including running back Dalvin Cook becoming a free agent.
You can listen to episode No. 81 below:
Our unedited notes for this week’s pod can be seen below.
Name: E-yoh-mah Ooh-WHA-zah-REE-kay (He’s fine with “Innie”)
Innie was a 4th-round pick last year and played in eight games. He was a rotational defensive lineman and would have had a chance to compete for a larger role this summer.
He will miss at least the entire 2023 season and can’t apply for reinstatement until next year.
The Broncos were already thin on the defensive line.
Broncos put WR KJ Hamler and DL Mike Purcell on non-football injury list
Denver put OLB Baron Browning and WR Kendall Hinton on PUP list
Javonte Williams (ACL) and Tim Patrick (ACL) were NOT placed on an injury list, a sign that they’ve been cleared for the start of training camp.
Brandon McManus was cut in May
McManus, 31, ranked 29th among kickers in field goal percentage (77.8%) last season. He was set to have the sixth-highest cap hit among kickers in 2023. Denver saved $3.75 million in salary cap space by releasing him.
McManus will be remembered for going a perfect 10-of-10 on field goal attempts during the 2015 playoffs, including 3-of-3 in Super Bowl 50. He was the last remaining player from the Super Bowl roster and he ends up second on the team’s all-time scoring list (946 points), only trailing Jason Elam.
It’s sad to see team legends get cut, but it’s understandable that the Broncos wanted to save salary cap space after McManus’ disappointing 2022 season.
So what’s the plan at kicker now?
Fry had a good season in the AAF but he has only appeared in three NFL games in his career. Maher went 29-of-32 on FGs last season but got the yips in the playoffs and went 1-6 on extra point attempts in two postseason games.
Sean Payton has shown little patience for poor kicker play in the past — he burned through nine different kickers in his first ten years with the Saints before landing on Wil Lutz. (Maher kicked for Payton in 2021.)
Clark spent the last four years with the Chiefs, totaling 23.5 sacks and winning two Super Bowls. He’s a big-game player with 13.5 sacks in 13 playoff starts, including 2.5 sacks in the playoffs last year.
In an ideal world, Clark, 30, would be an excellent rotational pass rusher. With all the injuries Denver has had at OLB, though, he might start a bunch of games this season.
Randy Gregory is currently healthy, but Baron Browning underwent offseason knee surgery and will begin training camp on the PUP list. If Browning misses time early in the season, Gregory and Clark will start at OLB.
Dalvin Cook was cut by Minnesota — should Denver sign him?
Cook, 27, was drafted by the Vikings in the first round of the 2017 draft when George Paton was serving as Minnesota’s assistant GM and VP of player personnel.
George Payton likes to add RBs and Sean Payton has invested in the position in the past as well. If they can afford him, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Broncos try to sign Cook., but reports have downplayed the possibility.
Denver has the fourth-best odds to sign Cook behind the Pats, Dolphins and Jets.
Of note: Cook is set to go to trial next year for domestic abuse allegations from 2021.
We will return later in the offseason with new podcast episodes as news pops up. If you enjoy this podcast, you can check out previous episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or on your podcast service of choice. Please consider giving the podcast a positive rating and review!
You can listen to every past episode below or at this link.