Since we embarked into the 2014 off-season, it’s been bantered around the Broncos Blogosphere that with the emergence of Julius Thomas, back up tight ends, Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen, are expendable. And that their salary cap numbers and the Broncos’ lack of cap room, means that one, if not both, could be released.
With a $3.5M cap number for 2014, Joel Dreessen could very well find himself a street free agent. He is an above average in-line blocker and an above average receiver. But Virgil Green is better, younger, more athletic, and cheaper. Green’s emergence as a cog in the Broncos’ offense, has only jeopardized Dreessen’s status even more.
When you factor in Dreessen’s recent inability to stay healthy, the picture almost paints itself. In the NFL, there’s no such thing as a “sure thing”, but if Joel Dreessen is a member of the Broncos’ finalized 53-man squad, I’ll be very surprised.
Jacob Tamme is another story. His cap number for 2014 is $3M. That’s half a million less than Dreessen. But that’s not why his situation is different. Tamme is an experienced, savvy veteran who, with little reps, can step in for Julius Thomas, should he be lost to injury. And Tamme also happens to have an extensive history, and rapport, with Peyton Manning and he probably has the best hands on the team.
Remember Tamme’s gritty performance vs the New England Patriots in week 12 last year? It was on the road and it was cold and the Patriots were bringing the wood. The #1 seed in the AFC was potentially on the line. Julius Thomas had a minor knee injury and was kept out of the game. Tamme stepped in and made a huge impact and served as a security blanket for Manning, catching several tough balls.
In his most recent musings on the Broncos’ OTAs, Andrew Mason had this to say about Tamme:
"Tamme is still a factor in this offense, catching multiple passes from Manning and Osweiler in the last four practices. As we saw in New England last November, his value is as a quality replacement for Julius Thomasin the event of injury. Tamme doesn’t need much separation to catch the football, which makes him ideal for Manning and Osweiler lofting the ball through narrow windows."
I couldn’t agree more. Even with the emergence of Virgil Green and the rise of Gerrell Robinson, Jacob Tamme is an invaluable piece to the Broncos’ offensive puzzle, not to mention that he has no problem whatsoever contributing to special teams when called upon.
He’s a great player to have on a Super Bowl-caliber team. A team-first utility guy. He’s a more than willing mentor to guys like Thomas, Green, and Robinson. Don’t expect to see him going anywhere this year.