Broncos waived/released RB Brennan Clay, OT Winston Justice, LB Jamar Chaney, WR Greg Hardin, LB Jerrell Harris, S Charles Mitchell, DT Will Pericak, QB Bryn Renner, DE Chase Vaughn, RB Jerodis Williams, and WR Greg Wilson.
Clay reportedly showed well during OTAs, but he clearly got exposed when the pads came on, getting outplayed by fellow UDFA Juwan Thompson. Justice is the biggest name in this group. There are no true surprises.
Broncos released TE Joel Dreessen.
Dreessen was cut with the "failed physical" designation. He underwent surgery on his left knee in February, his third operation on the same knee in less than a calendar year. Dreessen will turn 32 on Saturday and may be nearing the end of the line with his body starting to betray him. The Broncos save $2.5 million.
Broncos S Eric Hagg is retiring.
A 2011 seventh-round pick of the Browns, Hagg combined for 22 appearances across his first two NFL campaigns, but was out of the league last season. Rather than play out his remote shot at cracking the Broncos' 53-man roster, Hagg has decided to go out on his own terms. The Nebraska product is only 23.
Colts signed S Mike Adams.
A ten-year veteran, Adams brings experience to the Colts' secondary. He's spent time with the 49ers, Browns, and most recently the Broncos. Adams generally struggled in Denver, starting 27 games over two seasons but grading out poorly in pass coverage. Adams, 33, will compete with Delano Howell and Sergio Brown for the starting safety spot opposite entrenched starter LaRon Landry. There's no noticeable upgrade to the Colts' weak safety corps here.
Free agent TE Tony Scheffler has retired from the NFL after eight seasons.
Scheffler, 31, suffered three concussions the past four years and was released by the Lions in October. The No. 61 overall pick in the 2006 draft by the Broncos spent four seasons each with Denver and Detroit, catching 258 passes for 3,207 yards and 22 touchdowns. Scheffler had a decent two-year stretch from 2007-2008 when he reeled in 89 balls for 1,194 yards and eight scores for Mike Shanahan's Broncos. He caught seven passes in 2013.
Broncos waived G/T Ramon Harewood.
The 2010 sixth-rounder was signed to a reserve/future deal in January. All six of Harewood's career appearances came with the Ravens in 2012. Even at age 27, he appears to be getting near the end of the NFL line.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports the Broncos are "talking about" trading up in the draft.
Denver's biggest need is middle linebacker. We suspect they could be targeting Alabama's C.J. Mosley or Ohio State's Ryan Shazier. Mosley would be a Week 1 starter for the Broncos, offering plus pass-coverage skills and disruptive ability against the run. Shazier would also fit, even if he isn't a "prototype" Mike 'backer. He could run for days off Terrance Knighton's backside. GM John Elway knows Peyton Manning's "window" is closing, and isn't afraid to be aggressive.
NFL draft insider Tony Pauline is "told" Colorado State C Weston Richburg could be a "surprise" first-round pick.
Pauline had a similar report on Travis Frederick last April, and the Cowboys selected him 31st overall. This year's center class is shallow, so according to Pauline, "the feeling is if you need one, Richburg is the guy, and you better grab him early." Pauline mentions the Packers, Patriots, and Broncos as possible late first-round suitors for Richburg, as well as the Jaguars at No. 39.
The Denver Post does not expect the Broncos to pursue free agent RB Chris Johnson.
Yes, the Broncos' depth chart at running back (Montee Ball, C.J. Anderson, Ronnie Hillman) lacks experience. But the team believes Ball is ready to be the man and Johnson won't accept a "prove it" contract if he isn't going to get to prove it. Johnson would have more opportunities with the Jets as the lightning to Chris Ivory's thunder.
Saints signed CB Champ Bailey to a two-year contract with a max value of $7 million.
We realize it's popular at this point in time to chalk up Bailey as "done," but he had an excellent regular season in 2012 before Torrey Smith ran by him a few times in Denver's playoff loss, and Bailey was injured throughout 2013. We're a little more open minded. Turning 36 in June, Bailey's skill set remains an excellent fit for DC Rob Ryan's press-man scheme, where he'll only have to deal with No. 2 corners opposite running mate Keenan Lewis. It's still likely New Orleans uses an early draft pick at cornerback, quite possibly in the first round.
Titans agreed to terms with OLB Shaun Phillips, formerly of the Broncos, on a two-year, $6 million contract.
The deal includes $2.5 million guaranteed. Phillips turns 33 in May, but it's a potential bargain for the Titans, who will slide Phillips in at outside linebacker in DC Ray Horton's hybrid 3-4 defense. Phillips was far-from elite on a per-snap basis last season, but still managed 10 sacks after notching 9.5 in 2012. He'll be a productive presence on the edge in Tennessee.
Dolphins agreed to terms with RB Knowshon Moreno, formerly of the Broncos, on a one-year contract.
According to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, the deal is worth "about" $3 million. Moreno let a week pass between his visit and signing, but couldn't drum up any other interest. Although the Broncos were open to re-signing Moreno, he made no other visits. Teams saw through Moreno's Peyton Manning-inflated stats, but he's still a solid signing for a Dolphins team that had one of the league's worst backfields last season. Moreno gets what's blocked, catches passes and holds his own in blitz pick up. There's a strong chance he enters Week 1 as the Dolphins' No. 1 running back. Daniel Thomas is on the hot seat.
The Broncos will visit with free agent C/G Will Montgomery early this week.
The Denver Post suggests Montgomery would be the Broncos' starting center, with Manuel Ramirez kicking to left guard to replace free-agent departure Zane Beadles. Montgomery was drafted by John Fox's Panthers back in 2006.
Titans signed LB Wesley Woodyard to a four-year, $16 million contract.
Although Woodyard lost his starting job to Paris Lenon down the stretch last season following a nasty stinger, he is a swiss-army-knife linebacker with exceptional versatility and special teams impact. He adds more speed to an already highly athletic Tennessee linebacker corps. Woodyard seems unlikely to start in Nashville, but could wind up playing 50-plus percent of the defensive snaps as a nickel 'backer. He'll also run down kickoffs and punts.
Jets signed WR Eric Decker to a five-year, $36.25 million contract with $15 million guaranteed.
The $7.25M annual average is quite reasonable. Decker, 27, set career highs in catches (87) and receiving yards (1,288 yards) with Denver last season, scoring 11 touchdowns. He caught a lot of heat during the free-agent period after experiencing a colder-than-expected market, but is a much-needed addition to the Jets' otherwise barren receiver corps. Decker is a physical, largely sure-handed wideout who moves the chains and can beat defensive backs deep. Unfortunately, he's downgrading quarterbacks in spectacular fashion going from Peyton Manning to Geno Smith, and will be the focus of defensive attention in New York after serving as Manning's No. 3 or 4 option. He'd do well to get back near 1,000 yards with the Jets. Decker will be a borderline WR3 in 2014 fantasy.
The Broncos are reportedly showing "huge interest" in free agent WR Brandon LaFell.
LaFell is in New England Wednesday visiting the Patriots. He couldn't take advantage of every-down single coverage in Carolina, but operating as the No. 3 receiver in Denver would be a whole other story. Even the stone-handed, blocking-minded LaFell would put up numbers.
The Broncos reportedly have interest in free agent MLB Jon Beason.
The Giants are also in the mix for Beason, a highly talented middle linebacker that comes draped in injury red flags. But for the "all or nothing" Broncos, risk/reward signings make some sense. If healthy, Beason would be a massive upgrade on the likes of free agents Wesley Woodyard and Paris Lenon. Daryl Smith is also thought to be in the mix with the Broncos.
Updating an earlier item, free agent DeMarcus Ware will visit the Broncos.
It will be Ware's first visit, and quite possibly his last. Players rarely get away from their first visit, while Denver can offer Ware a shot at a Super Bowl title after years of toiling in Dallas. As long as Ware has realistic monetary demands, a deal can likely be worked out.
According to CBS Sports, free agent DE Jared Allen wants to play in 2014 "at a certain value."
Per Jason La Canfora, Allen "has other pursuits outside NFL," suggesting he could walk away from the game if his financial demands aren't met. It looks like a leverage play from a declining player losing just that. The Broncos, Allen's most likely suitor, are reportedly going after DeMarcus Ware.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the Broncos have emerged as the favorites to sign free agent DE DeMarcus Ware.
It's worth noting Schefter reported the Seahawks had "emerged as the favorites" to sign Michael Bennett on Monday -- before signing Michael Bennett on Monday. So there's surely substance here. Denver always seemed like a strong landing spot for free agent Jared Allen, but Ware has more juice left in the tank and would form one of the NFL's most imposing pass-rush duos with Von Miller.