(Neb)-Ward Cut, Osweiler Signed As Broncos Set Roster
DENVER, Colo. (AP) - The wildest, at least from the fan's standpoint, cut down weekend in Denver Broncos history still has everybody talking.
It began Saturday when the Broncos released 3-time Pro Bowl strong safety T.J. Ward with a year left on his contract despite repeated tweets and comments by other key members of the defense opposing the move.
General manager John Elway, who drew a lot of comparisons to Bill Belichek's cold-hearted style of cutting favorites he feels are getting old, said cutting Ward was a difficult decision "after everything he's done for our football team."
Cutting the 8th-year pro saves $3.2-million in cap space and gives the starting job to 2nd-year pro Justin Simmons, who stood out as Ward missed most of training camp and all of the preseason with a torn hamstring.
Ward wasn't out of a job for long, signing Sunday with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports Ward's deal is for 1-year and up to $5 million
The Broncos also cut quarterback Kyle Sloter, the undrafted rookie from Northern Colorado who was outstanding going the distance in winning Thursday's preseason finale against the Cardinals. The Vikings won a bidding war and signed Sloter to their practice squad Sunday for a reported $20,000 per week...about triple the practice squad minimum.
Instead of Sloter being the backup to Trevor Siemian until Paxton Lynch returns from a sprained shoulder, Elway signed Brock Osweiler, who was cut by Cleveland and a pariah to most Denver fans after leaving a year ago for a big-money contract with Houston.
Cleveland is paying his $16-million salary, minus the $775,000 minimum for a 6-year veteran that Denver has to pay.
Nose tackle Kyle Peko, cousin of top free agent signee Domato Peka - also a nose tackle, was cut Saturday but signed again Sunday when outside linebacker Shane Ray was put on injured reserve. Ray is expected back for the Broncos' game against Kansas City on Oct. 30.
Offensive lineman Michael Schofield, cut after the Broncos couldn't work out the trade he'd asked for, was claimed off waivers by the Chargers. Schofield started 29 games over the last 3 seasons, including right tackle in their Super Bowl victory
The Broncos also re-signed 9 players to their practice squad, leaving them with one vacancy. The 9 are: C Dillon Day, WR Hunter Sharp, TE Austin Traylor and T Elijah Wilkinson on offense and LB Jerrol Garcia-Williams, DT Tyrique Jarrett, LB Deiontrez Mount, CB Marcus Rios, DB Dymonte Thomas on defense.
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