On Saturday, the Broncos finished bringing back their roster from 75 to 53 players, a process which they had started on Friday by releasing defensive tackle Chris Baker, linebackers Jammie Kirlew and Johnny Williams, tight ends Kory Sperry and Nate Overbay, offensive lineman Paul Duncan. Star linebacker Elvis Dumervil and running back LenDale White were put on the Injured Reserve list, which ends the season for them.
The first player released on Saturday was linebacker and special teams stand out Darrell Reid. Though Reid, who is still recovering from knee surgery, was eligible to start the season on the PUP-list, the Broncos were unwilling to guarantee his $1.7 million salary which is required for players who start the season on PUP. Brandon Stokley was placed on IR, and he will be released once he has recovered from his groin injury.
The most surprising cut of the day was defensive end Jarvis Green, who signed a four year contract with the team worth close to $12 million back in April of this year. Green had been irrelevant all offseason and saw his spot on the defensive line claimed by Ryan McBean back in June. The move showed that performance, not financial considerations, is the only factor that Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders consider in the cutting process.
In another unexpected move, the Broncos traded second year cornerback Alphonso Smith to the Detroit Lions, and received tight end Dan Gronkowski and an undisclosed draft pick in return. Smith got stuck in a crowded backfield behind rookies Perrish Cox, Syd'Quan Thompson and Cassius Vaughn, who all looked promising in the preseason, and the team found a way to use him by trading for a position of need, tight end. Marquez Branson was injured in the final preseason game against the Vikings, and both Richard Quinn and Daniel Graham have missed time with injuries this preseason. Smith, who failed to live up to the expectations after the team traded a future first round pick to move back into the second round of the 2009 draft to pick him, will likely benefit from a change of scenery.
The other cuts on Saturday included linebacker Kevin Alexander, wide receiver Britt Davis, tight ends Riar Geer and Marquez Branson, safety Kyle McCarthy, offensive lineman Seth Olsen, defensive lineman Jeff Stehle and linebacker Worrell Williams, the brother of D.J. Williams. Some of these players will likely be signed to the Broncos practice squad.
Ben Garland, the undrafted defensive lineman from Air Force, has been placed on the Reserve/Military list. He will have to decide between a career in the NFL, or a career as a pilot in the Air Force.
The current 53 man roster (though this roster might still change if the Broncos claim a player of waivers, in which case they will have to cut another player from this list):
(Picture by John Leyba /The Denver Post)