David J. Phillip/Associated Press
Cutting Joel Dreessen could be the toughest decision the Broncos are faced with when paring down to the final roster. If Gerell Robinson emerges as a sleeper at the tight end position, then the team is going to find it difficult to keep Dreessen around.
He is a talented all-purpose tight end and a favorite of the coaching staff. In 2013 he battled through a knee injury that lingered for most of the season and was barely used on game day. He finished the season with only seven catches for 47 yards and one touchdown.
Sometimes (all the time?) it comes down to money in the NFL.
He has approximately a $3.1 million cap number in 2014. That is a large number for an injury-prone veteran who is buried on the depth chart. What makes him an even bigger candidate for release is the fact that he’s only got around $665,000 in dead money owed to him this year.
The Broncos could release him and free up around $2.5 million in cap space to use on another player. With contract negotiations ongoing for superstars like Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas, every penny is critical for the Broncos this year and in the future.
The team would have already cut ties with Dreessen had they not felt he could make the roster. Even though he’s not the same player he used to be, his ability as a blocker, receiver and red-zone threat is valuable—and his price tag isn’t exorbitant.
After the Super Bowl, as the players cleaned out their lockers, the room felt heavy with emotion. One player who was especially pissed off was Dreessen. He was upset with his season and the way things went down against Seattle.
Dreessen could barely contain his emotion when he talked about staying in Denver.
“I certainly hope I’m not done. I’m going to fight my butt off to play again. Obviously how this season kind of ended as far losing in the Super Bowl and not contributing as much as I would have liked, does not sit well with me. So I’ve got to fight to correct that.”
It’s going to be tough to cut Dreessen, but logic and financial implications trump emotional ties to players. Broncos fans may be forced to say goodbye to a fine veteran.
All quotes and injury/practice observations obtained firsthand. Record/statistical information provided via email from the Denver Broncos. Contract and salary-cap information provided by Spotrac.com. Transaction history provided by ProSportsTransactions.com.
Cecil Lammey can be followed on Twitter @CecilLammey.