According to an independent news outlet, Denver Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson has reportedly taken a significant pay cut to remain with the team in 2012.
The details of the pay cut include the elimination of a $400,000 roster bonus and $800,000 of his 2012 salary, leaving his total salary at $1.2 million for the season.
The 29-year-old tackle was slated for a rotational role behind starters Brodrick Bunkley and Ty Warren (who would miss the entire season with injury) in 2011, but landed on injured reserve after an ankle injury early on in the season.
Vickerson saw four starts at tackle after Warren went down prior to the start of the season, but he totaled only four tackles in five total games.
Bunkley will not return in 2012 for Denver after signing a five-year, $25 million contract with the New Orleans Saints. Bunkley will be sorely missed, as he racked up 43 tackles while ranking out as one of the best run-stopping interior linemen, according to Pro Football Focus, in 2011.
Vickerson is expected to return to the rotational role in 2012 and has a much better chance of sticking on the roster after taking the $1.2 million pay cut even if Denver drafts a defensive tackle early in the the draft.
Denver recently rescinded the restricted free-agent offer to tackle Ryan McBean after several issues off-the-field, including an arrest for a stalking allegation (no charges were filed) and a six-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.
Both McBean and Thomas played extensively in 2011, combining for 76 tackles and four sacks. Vickerson will be expected to make up much of this production even if Denver acquires a tackle in the draft.
However, Vickerson will not be alone in contributing from the bench in 2012.
Free agent Justin Bannan was signed by Denver last week shortly before news of McBean and Thomas being unlikely to return in 2012. Bannan recently played for Denver in 2010, racking up 35 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble as a 16-game starter.
In 2011, Bannan totaled 31 tackles and a forced fumble as a 14-game starter for the St. Louis Rams.
Heading into the draft next weekend, Denver currently has Warren, Bannan, Vickerson and undrafted second-year player Mitch Unrein slated for time at defensive tackle in 2012.