Denver Broncos training camp: Special teams preview

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 27: Kicker Brandon McManus
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 27: Kicker Brandon McManus /
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DENVER, CO – DECEMBER 18: Kicker Brandon McManus
DENVER, CO – DECEMBER 18: Kicker Brandon McManus /

Brandon McManus

Age: 25 – Contract: 1 year ($2,746,000 cap hit)

The Denver Broncos traded for Brandon McManus in 2014, and the early returns on that trade weren’t great.

Though McManus has always been able to kick the ball a mile, he struggled early on with accuracy, and the Broncos had to bring in Connor Barth during the 2014 season to replace him.

Luckily, they were able to stash McManus away on the practice squad, and bring him back as the top kicker in 2015. During the Broncos’ championship season of 2015, McManus was arguably the team’s most valuable player. He made 30 of 35 field goals in the regular season, and hit on 10 out of 10 in the playoffs.

His playoff run was remarkable, and included a five field goal performance in the Broncos’ first playoff game against the Steelers. He then opened the scoring in Super Bowl 50.

McManus had a nearly identical season statistically in 2016, hitting 29 of 34 field goals. The biggest difference between 2015 and 2016 was McManus’ accuracy from beyond 50 yards. He hit five out of seven in 2015, and three out of six in 2016.

Playing this season on a one-year RFA contract, McManus is due a big pay day and has this season to continue to prove his worth. Hopefully, he trots out for more extra points this year than he does field goal attempts.