By Julie Dixon @ABroncoNole
Week 18 Monday, is sadly known as black garbage bag day. Even for three time Super Bowl winners. The day players clean out their lockers. We didn’t just say goodbye to Gary Kubiak, we said goodbye to several players and didn’t know it.
We have ten draft picks. I’d say we give up three or four for better positions, leaving us with 6 or 7. That means we, for sure, just said goodbye to that many. Plus, we have a long list of players the new head coach might want released and ones John Elway won’t want to pay. In addition, some who may be traded.
Imagine you’re CJ Anderson or Vance Walker or Jordan Norwood. You dump your belongings out of your locker, look at your name plate and wonder, is this it? Am I done in Denver? The NFL?
The same is true for coaches like Wade Phillips and Eric Studesville and Clancy Barone. Rick Dennison can go back to teaching. Those guys helped give us a ring, so I’ll always be grateful.
For many players and coaches, that answer won’t be coming soon. With a new head coach, decision height could be May 2017 or in two weeks.
As we make lists of potential head coaches, offensive coordinators, draft picks, and plot a future that can be exciting, a group of men we haven’t thought about are in a holding pattern. One that will be as scary and uncertain as circling over Atlanta during bad weather. In a plane full of sumo wrestlers.
These players are now free agents: DeMarcus Ware, Dekoda Watson, Vance Walker, Jordan Norwood, Slyvester Williams, Billy Winn, Kayvon Webster, Justin Forsett, Thomas Gafford, and Marlon Brown.
None of those players are safe to be asked back. They’re on standby waiting for a flight home. Ware because of injury. The defensive players will need Wade to sell them to Elway and the new head coach. Norwood, Brown and Gafford haven’t shown enough to be re-signed. So long and thanks.
Russell Okung has no dead money if he’s released and 10.6M if he stays. He’s in that plane sweating in a middle seat. If the new head coach can’t find a better tackle, he’s safe, provided he makes a deal.
A long list of players have zero dead money this year if released and two have a negligible amount if cut or traded.
Some are in iffy situations because of continuing injuries like CJ Anderson and Brandon Marshall, who are wondering if the injury bug will be the end. IF CJ is cut or traded, there’s no dead money. And we’d save 3M. Brandon Marshall is in a much better spot, but may be asked to redo his contract or be traded because of his 6M hit.
When it comes to several players, cutting them actually saves us money if they’re on the bubble due to play. Ty Sambrailo is a wash and Cody Latimer is a savings of $600,000. TJ Ward is 3.25M savings. With how Will Parks has been playing, TJ is in that odiferous plane.
Trevor Siemian is in first class, but still looking out the window. He’s in this list because a new head coach could trade him. He may want to give both him and Paxton Lynch clean slates and with so many teams needing quarterbacks, a trade isn’t unfeasible. Some are no brainers to keep and offer a new contract to like Matt Paradis and Brandon McManus, one a restricted free agent, the other an exclusive rights free agent. These guys are on vacation.
Below are our contracted players, I didn’t include Von Miller, Chris Harris, Jr., Demaryius Thomas, Derek Wolfe, Darian Stewart, Aqib Talib or Emmanuel Sanders because no way are they going anywhere. As far as Aqib, his contract doesn’t expire until 2020. Elway could ask him and Thomas to make a deal, though. The first red column is dead money, the second is the savings IF we release them because their salary is higher than the dead money they’re guaranteed.
As you can see, looking at both those charts, several players are riding coach and some are crying with their families over those ugly bags.
To every player and coach clutching that black plastic in desperation and dread, I give a shout out. Thank you! You may be gone, but you won’t be forgotten. You were once a Denver Bronco and whether you were great, poor or somewhere in between, you tried. Fair Winds and Following Seas.
Featured image courtesy: News@AsiaOne
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