Joel Dreessen

Broncos Cut Joel Dreessen

The Broncos have released tight end Joel Dreessen with a failed physical designation, the team announced today in a press release. Dreessen had missed the team’s spring workouts and practices due to ongoing knee issues.

Dreessen, who turns 32 this Saturday, spent two seasons with the Broncos after five years in Houston and one with the Jets. Although he established career highs in receptions (41) and games started (15) in 2012, his production was significantly reduced in 2013, due to health issues and the emergence of Julius Thomas.

Only Dreessen’s prorated bonus, worth about $667K, will count against Denver’s cap in 2014 now that he has been cut. The team will avoid paying his $2.5MM base salary and create some cap savings, which could be used toward an extension for the Broncos’ new starting tight end (Thomas) or wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.

Extra Points: Dreessen, Cutler, Ferguson

  • Speaking with Vic Carucci & Dan Leberfeld on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Broncos tight end Joel Dreessen weighed in on the Jimmy Graham ruling, saying the decision struck a nerve and that he agreed with Tony Gonzalez’s take on the situation: “It’s kind of frustrating that guys who get asked to do probably the second most after the quarterback is kinda down there on the pay scale.”
  • Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune listed 12 NFL training camp storylines to watch, including Jay Cutler‘s new deal. “The Bears signed quarterback Jay Cutler to a $126 million contract extension that is essentially a $54 million deal for the next three seasons before it goes year-to-year,” says Biggs. “It’s a huge payday that general manager Phil Emery based on future performance, as Cutler’s resume includes only one postseason victory.”
  • Last year was an “uncharacteristically bad year” for Jets left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, says the New York Post’s Brian Costello, who believes 2013 will prove to be “an aberration and not a sign of decline.” However, Costello does caution: “Ferguson has the highest salary cap figure on the team at $11.7 million. After a few restructurings to help the team gain salary cap space in 2012 and ’13, the bill is now coming due for the Jets. Ferguson’s cap numbers are huge for the next four years. If Ferguson’s play slips, the Jets might have to consider releasing him before the 2016 season, when they could save $9 million in cap space by cutting him.”
  • Branden Albert of the Dolphins and Jairus Byrd of the Saints topped ESPN’s list of free agents who will transform teams. The last three seasons, Albert has allowed just 4.6 pressures per 100 pass blocks, good enough for third in the league over that span. As for Byrd, he allowed a paltry 0.23 yards per coverage snap last season, third-best in the league.
  • Answering questions about the Eagles’ projected roster,’s Tim McManus said he doesn’t expect many “curveballs,” i.e. surprises, when the team’s 53-man is finalized. McManus expects LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles and Chris Polk to serve as the running back trio, and he expects Brad Smith to stick as the fifth receiver. The one mild surprise could be Travis Long forcing veteran Brandon Graham out, though that would mean employing two backups at defensive end (Long and first-rounder Marcus Smith) with no NFL experience.
  • Entering training camp, 49 Patriots players are “sure-fire locks” or “near locks,” in the estimation of ESPN New England’s Mike Reiss, who breaks down the projected roster.

Cap Work Remaining For Broncos

Until rosters are cut down to 53 players, teams are required to be under the $133MM salary cap with their top 51 salaries. In the wake of an aggressive offseason which included signing big-ticket free agents Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, DeMarcus Ware and Emmanuel Sanders, the Broncos’ top 51 costs $132MM, meaning John Elway and Co. have some bookkeeping to do between now and the end of training camp, explains ESPN’s Jeff Legwold.

Key points:

  • The team is trying to lock up free agents-to-be Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas long-term.
  • Including rollover, the team has about $4.6MM of workable cap space.
  • “Quarterback Peyton Manning has the team’s highest cap figure, at $17.5 million and the Broncos have the biggest cap gap of any position between starter and backup with No. 2 Brock Osweiler, still on his rookie deal, coming in at $959,094 against the cap.”
  • The team has seven tight ends on the roster, five of which — including Thomas, Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen — are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents in 2015.
  • “Dead money” hits include Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie ($2.1MM), Chris Kuper ($1.83MM) and Willis McGahee ($500k).
  • Terrance Knighton‘s representatives were seeking a renegotiation of his contract which calls for him to make $2.75MM in 2014 before the big defensive lineman hits free agency, but the team did not acquiesce.
  • Kicker Matt Prater and punter Britton Colquitt will cost a combined $7.4MM against the cap this season.

Broncos Links: Delmas, Dreessen, Draft

While not every NFL team’s head coach and/or general manager will speak to the media at this week’s scouting combine, the Broncos’ decision-makers will be available to reporters. Coach John Fox is scheduled to meet with the media on Thursday, with newly-extended general manager John Elway set to round out the schedule on Friday. As we wait to see what Fox and Elway have to say, less than three weeks after the team’s Super Bowl loss, let’s check in on the latest out of Denver:

  • The Broncos have spoken to agent Drew Rosenhaus about recently released safety Louis Delmas, reports Mike Klis of the Denver Post. However, while Delmas met with the Steelers earlier this week, he doesn’t currently appear to have any visit scheduled with the Broncos.
  • Tight end Joel Dreessen has one year left on the three-year pact he signed with the Broncos in 2012, and he intends to play out the final season of that deal if possible, writes Klis. According to the Denver Post scribe, Dreesen will undergo surgery on a troublesome left knee next week in the hopes of getting healthy for the 2014 season.
  • In a third piece for the Post, Klis takes a look at a number of positions of need for the Broncos, along with input from NFL Network’s Mike Mayock on players that could be possible fits for Denver. The Broncos’ figure to be focusing on their defense in the draft, potentially targeting players at defensive end, middle linebacker, safety, and cornerback.