5 Denver Broncos Veterans Who Deserve To Be Cut
5 Denver Broncos Veterans Who Deserve To Be Cut
Veteran players have long been the foundation of contending NFL teams. If you wanted to a win, especially in the playoffs when it counts the most, conventional wisdom said that you had to have a veteran team. Young players needed to pay their dues and learn a few lessons from the older players before they could win a championship.
Recently, however, NFL teams have realized that young players often have more value than veterans, especially if their talent level is equal. Young players usually cost less against the salary cap, especially with the new collective bargaining agreement and its rookie wage scale, and young players tend to stay healthier and be fresher late in the season.
Veteran savvy may still have its value, but more and more fresh legs and a cheap cap number are becoming more valuable, even if you plan on contending.
And the Denver Broncos are in win now mode, that's for sure. When they added Peyton Manning last year they made it clear they weren’t in the mood for any rebuilding projects. They had plenty of success in 2012 but came up short in the playoffs due to one of the more fluky plays we've seen in a long time.
This year Denver has its sights set on the big prize, and with the addition of free agent receiver Wes Welker from the New England Patriots they gave Peyton another weapon to get there.
If the Broncos want to achieve their goals this year, nothing short of a Super Bowl win, they're going to need to cut ties with these five veterans and give their spots on the opening day roster to younger players.
5. Manny Ramirez
Manny Ramirez is a backup guard for the Broncos who came into the league as a fourth round pick of the Detroit Lions in 2007. He's had some success, starting 11 games last season for Denver and 12 games in 2009 for Detroit, but this season he's slotted in the backup role behind Zane Beadles and Louis Vasquez.
Ramirez has seen his best days in the NFL already, and unfortunately those were only good enough to get starts for bad Detroit teams and in Denver when injuries forced others to the sidelines. If you're going to have a backup, at really any position, that spot might as well go to a younger player who can develop and not to a veteran who has no upside.
4. Shaun Phillips
Shaun Phillips, who signed with the Broncos this past offseason, was a serviceable linebacker for the San Diego Chargers since they drafted him in 2004. But serviceable isn't good enough to earn a spot on the Denver roster this year, especially not at outside linebacker.
The Broncos already have Wesley Woodyard at one outside linebacker spot and one of the best young linebackers in the league, Von Miller, at the other. There won't be a lot of playing time to go around with those two guys ahead of him on the depth chart.
Phillips is on the downside of his career. The shelf life of outside pass rushing linebackers can be short lived. The Broncos would be better served cutting ties with him and giving his spot to a younger player.
3. Kevin Vickerson
Kevin Vickerson, a career role player on the defensive line who's only played all 16 games in a season once, has clearly hit his ceiling as an NFL player. He has never had more than 42 tackles in a season and has amassed a measly 5.5 sacks in his six years in the league.
This is a clear cut case of a player that can easily be replaced with a younger version who could give you the same level of play this year and also be getting better so he can give you more in future years.
Vickerson has done admirably for himself by staying in the league for this long after being taken in the seventh round of the 2005 draft by the Miami Dolphins, but the Broncos need to make sure that backup spots are being given to young players with potential and fresh legs for later in the season.
2. Quentin Jammer
For the record, Quentin Jammer has been one of my favorite players for some time now. I've always had a thing for loud mouth, physical cornerbacks. I am the guy who grew up on a steady diet of Ty Law after all. They may be a dying breed, but I'll miss them.
The reality is that their departure from the league is a good thing, despite how awesome they are. The game needs to evolve, for so many reasons, and players like Jammer are going to be a thing of the past. Like how you hear about players from earlier eras who used to tackle ball carriers by clotheslining them and guys who rushed the quarterback by whacking offensive linemen upside the head.
He's had an admirable NFL career since coming into the league as the fifth overall pick in the 2002 draft, but his time in the league his over.
He'll be missed, but in the end seeing the longtime Charger in a Broncos uniform, wearing a new number, is just weird for everyone.
1. Chris Kuper
When the Broncos signed guard Chris Kuper to a six-year contract worth over $28 million in 2010 they had high hopes for the player they were making the second highest paid offensive lineman in team history.
But injuries have slowed Kuper the past few years, and he heads into training camp not slotted in the starting lineup.
The team still owes him $15 million of that contract through the 2015 season, a number that just can't be justified for a backup offensive lineman. If Kuper isn't willing to talk about a decrease in his salary, which most players aren't, the team may be left with no choice but to part ways with him and his salary.