Player: DeMarcus Ware
Explanation: Despite his Hall of Fame status, Ware is widely considered to be a possible cap casualty this off-season. This has been a hotly debated topics amongst Broncos country, with many split on their feelings regarding a possible Ware release. I feel like if they can restructure his deal
slightly to give the Broncos some cash back, that’s great. If not, I’m not against keeping Ware at his full 2016 salary.
For a variety of reasons, I think that Ware does deserve to keep his full salary for next season. First, his presence in the locker room can’t be denied. With all of the talk about Manning being the leader of this team, it was really Ware and his leadership qualities that much of the team rallied with when they made their Super Bowl run. Aside from his leadership qualities, he was also a strong player on the field this season.
The only downside to keeping Ware at his full salary in 2016 is his health. The soon to be 34 year old Linebacker missed 5 games with a back injury this past season. I understand the reasoning for wanting a pay cut or release, but Ware brings so much more to the team aside from his play and with his great resume. He’s just one of those guys that’s earned what he’s schedule to make.
Regardless of what happens, I won’t be surprised with the move that the Broncos make. One factor that will play a role in the final decision will be his leadership qualities and how much they value it going forward.
Player: Todd Davis
Explanation: The likeliest in-house replacement for Danny Trevathan(if he leaves), Todd Davis has earned the coaching staff’s trust with his reliable special teams and spot play on defense. An
undrafted free agent in 2014, Davis signed with the Saints shortly after the draft concluded. After starting the season on the practice squad and playing a few regular season games with the Saints, Davis was released by the team mid-way through the season and was quickly scooped up by the Broncos.
Davis made a good first impression on the Broncos, as he ended up starting two games towards the end of the 2014 season and ended up being the top reserve inside linebacker for the team in 2015.
With two years left on his rookie deal and the only inside linebacker with starting NFL experience on the roster (outside of Marshall), Davis could make the most of a possible Trevathan departure and step into the starting lineup full time.
Player: Corey Nelson
Explanation: A 7th round pick of the 2014 draft, Nelson immediately found himself in the midst of a
heavy role with the Broncos special teams units. Usually considered an after thought on the defense, Nelson played sparingly in the rotation for his first two years in the league. Like Davis, Nelson has a chance to change that in the event that Trevathan leaves in free agency.
Either way, Nelson’s place on the roster appears to be secure heading into 2016. His special teams prowess and potential to compete for one of the starting linebacker spots should be enough to give him another year (or two) in an orange uniform.