The Denver Broncos proved that defense wins championships last year. Their performance during the playoffs and during Super Bowl 50 was nothing short of legendary, and it made up for the immense lack of offensive productivity. Now that both Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler are gone, major changes are in store for the Bronco’s offense. Picking up Mark Sanchez before the draft was an interesting decision, but it’s hard to doubt Elway after seeing how his last remodel of the team went. To add to the QB controversy, recent first-round draft pick Paxton Lynch has been told that he’s fighting for starting position. However, the one thing that is for sure is that barring any injuries (although Sanchez is having a small procedure on his non-throwing hand), both of these QB’s will stay on the team for the remainder of the season. That being said, there are a few players that need to worry about being cut.
Ronnie Hillman, RB
Denver’s offense looked dismal last season, there’s really no other way to say it. Other than a few exceptions like Week 8 against the Packers and Week 10 against the Patriots, the Broncos were carried by their outstanding defense. While Peyton Manning was partially to blame for this fact, the Broncos running game didn’t help. Ronnie Hillman has been Denver’s secondary back since 2012; whether it was for Knowshon Moreno or CJ Anderson, Hillman just didn’t have what it takes to earn that starting position for himself. He’s a solid runner once he breaks past the defensive line, but he’s often stopped before he reaches open field. To be fair, last year was his best season, and he did beat CJ Anderson when it came to yardage. However, CJ averaged half a yard more per carry, for a whopping 4.7 YPA. The Broncos also picked up Devontae Booker during the fourth round of this year’s draft, so the competition only gets more tense from here on out. Furthermore, while the Broncos did just sign Hillman to a one-year contract worth 1.8 million dollars (500,000 guaranteed), they also signed Anderson to a four-year contract, which is worth 18 million dollars. Cutting Hillman before the season starts would save the Broncos 1.3 million. Unless Hillman proves himself as a worthy back during training camp, he may find himself without a job.
Cody Latimer, WR
Perhaps the hardest thing about being on the Broncos is that the roster is full of incredibly talented players. The Broncos have been building up their wide receiver depth for quite a while, and so it’s difficult to stand out among names like Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. Latimer was a second round pick up in the 2015 draft, and he hasn’t quite done much since. In the 22 games that Latimer has been in, he has only eight receptions. So across his career, he’s only totaled 3.7 yards a game. Bennie Fowler, who was a rookie last year, had 16 receptions during his 16 games. By no means is this a fantastic statistic, but it comes down to more than stats. Bennie Fowler is a much better player overall, and had some catches last season that made the highlight reels. Latimer hasn’t shown the signs of greatness that Fowler has. The Broncos owe Latimer very little, as he has almost reached his guaranteed pay of 2.02 million dollars, so they wouldn’t lose out on much if they were to cut him. With the amount of depth the Broncos currently have at wide receiver, don’t count on Cody Latimer making it to the regular season.
Kayvon Webster, CB
It’s not a good situation for a player when they find themselves as the backup for Aqib Talib and Chris Harris. And unfortunately for Kayvon Webster, this is the scenario he’s currently facing. Since he was drafted by the Broncos in 2013, he hasn’t lived up to the hype that came with his name. In the three years and 41 games that he’s been in Denver, Webster has only recorded 75 tackles (only 11 in 2015) and one interception. It’s tough for Webster to compete in this league since he’s only 5 foot 11, and he’s going against WR that are sometimes half a foot taller than him. In comparison, the other backup CB Bradley Roby has only played 32, but has 105 tackles and three interceptions. 2016 is the last year of Webster’s contract, and by cutting him, the Broncos would save about 200k. It’s definitely a tough situation for Webster because Denver doesn’t really need him, and that’s not something any player wants to hear. Don’t expect Kayvon Webster to make it to the regular season.