The Denver Broncos have been mandated to cut their current 90-man roster down to 85 players by 2:00 PM MDT on Tuesday. Just over an hour away from the deadline and we know which five players have been handed their paperwork.
It’s a “necessary evil” and the worst thing about the jobs NFL coaches and general managers hold. But alas, you can’t keep them all.
Who did the Broncos give up and what was the outcome of each cut? Let’s dive in.
Rejection: Max Borghi | RB
Borghi is an undrafted rookie and former local prep school star. The Broncos signed him last week after Damarea Crockett suffered a torn ACL and Melvin Gordon was dealing with a foot injury that kept him out of practice.
reaction: As cool as it was to see Borghi follow in the historic footsteps of another Colorado star who succeeded in Denver, the chances of him replicating Philip Lindsey’s early success with the Broncos were always slim. The Broncos needed a body to keep things moving in practice, and Borghi’s five touches for nine total yards in preseason Game 1 weren’t enough to justify moving him past Tuesday’s deadline.
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Waiver: Kaden Davis | WR
Signed as a college free agent out of Missouri State, Davis arrived in Denver on the heels of the draft to bolster an already powerhouse wide receiver.
reaction: This cut, alas, isn’t surprising, as Davis hasn’t been able to keep up with some of the other young wide receivers who have worked their way up Denver’s depth chart this summer. Here’s to hoping he lands on his feet.
Waiver: Travis Fulgham | WR
Signed to a futures/reserve contract in January, Fulgham arrived in Denver with little NFL experience. He bounced around with three different clubs in 2021.
reaction: Fulgham’s story reflects Davies; he didn’t do enough to keep up with the up-and-coming wide receiver offense this summer. Even with Tim Patrick’s season-ending injury midway through training camp, Fulgham was able to tread water as receivers like Montrell Washington, Brandon Johnson, Seth Williams and Kendall Hinton rose to the occasion.
Waiver: Jamar Johnson | S
A fifth-round pick last year, Johnson was among GM George Paton’s first draft class. A lackluster rookie season didn’t do him any favors, and despite leading the Broncos in tackles in preseason Game 1, Johnson failed to show the type of physicality and dependability in tackles the coaches demanded of him.
reaction: Johnson was known as a hawk at Indiana, but what he brought to the table in coverage and as a football predator was overshadowed by his woeful acumen. While Johnson’s recruiting classmate, Caden Stearns, earned a defensive role as a rookie, becoming Denver’s No. 3 safety, Johnson disappeared.
Meanwhile, the Broncos brought in safeties last offseason in the form of former LA Ram JR Reed and fifth-round pick Delaryn Turner-Yale. Adding insult to injury, a holdover from the Vic Fangio regime — P.J. Locke — flipped, earning the trust of the new coaching staff in Denver. Have a good trip, Johnson.
Waiver: Rodney Williams | TE
The small-school tight end didn’t hear his name called on draft day, but the Broncos signed him as a college free agent. Williams has joined a logjam in Denver’s tight end depth.
reaction: Williams always swam against the grain. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that tight end is a strength of the lineup, the Broncos have invested in multiple players not named Williams this year — including re-signing veterans Andrew Beck and Eric Sober, as well as free-agent acquisition Eric Tomlinson.
Not to mention the third round investment in Greg Dulcich. Add to that equation Albert Okwegbunam and another undrafted rookie, Dylan Parham, and Williams just didn’t have a big enough seat at the table to shine for the Broncos’ new coaches.
With the exception of Jamar Johnson, the Broncos did not invest in the players released on Tuesday. Each player who was released was welcomed by a position filled with competition.
The guys who initially showed the door from Denver just didn’t show enough to justify sticking around after that first wave of cuts. But every player had their chance to prove they belonged.
The NFL isn’t called the “Not for Long” league. A young player’s window to catch and stick, regardless of draft pedigree, is limited. That’s carpe diem in the NFL, and this handful of players didn’t match his capabilities.
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The Broncos must cut the roster down to the final 53 players by 2:00 p.m. MDT on August 30. With two preseason games remaining, the race for the remaining roster spots will continue to shape up.
The Broncos’ next preseason road trip is against the Buffalo Bills on Saturday.
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