Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Joel Dreessen (81) flexes his muscles before Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
The Denver Broncos are loaded with talent offensively. One player who has made an impact since coming on in the 2012 season is tight end Joel Dreessen, a former Colorado State star who played his previous years in the pros with Houston.
For a three year stretch from 2010-2012, Dreessen caught 15 touchdown passes, and five in his first year as a Denver Bronco. Last season, however, injuries hindered his production and development and he caught just seven passes, one touchdown.
Dreessen is set to be paid over $3 million in the 2014 season. That’s a lot of money considering he saw the fourth most snaps of all Broncos tight ends last year, behind Julius Thomas, Virgil Green, and Jacob Tamme. With Tamme carrying a similar price tag and Dreessen having had three operations on the same knee in about a year, it seems the writing is sadly on the wall.
Unless Dreessen agrees to a pay cut, it’s tough to see him making the Broncos’ roster, especially with the emergence of Virgil Green and the plans the Broncos have to involve him in the offense.
The Broncos obviously think highly of Dreessen, who is the longest tenured veteran of the players at this position. They also highly value the tight end position, which is likely why he remains on the roster. Still, you have to wonder if the Broncos are making sure he is simply not being screwed over by being a street free agent with no guaranteed money before he’s even healthy.
If John Elway were to do that, word would get around, and free agents would possibly consider that when coming to Denver. Once Dreessen is healthy and cleared for activity, the Broncos could look to audition him in the pre-season for a trade. There have been reports recently that they will need to clear a bit of cap space in order to be where they need to be when the season starts, and Dreessen’s name has (unfortunately) popped up as one whose cap number could be sacrificed for the good of the team.
For now, Dreessen will keep working and planning as though he’s going to have a role with the Broncos’ offense. But if he’s healthy, the Broncos would probably prefer to move his salary to another team so that he can have a chance at better playing time, to keep the Broncos a healthy distance from the cap limit, and because they have players coming out of the woodwork at the tight end position like Virgil Green and Gerell Robinson to keep an eye on.
You hate talking about guys’ futures like this, but it’s a situation the Broncos will have to address in the coming weeks/months.