As I reported earlier this offseason(http://broncoscentral.blogspot.com/2009/01/broncos-to-be-major-players-in-free.html), the Broncos will be making a drastic amount of cuts on the defensive side of the ball. Well that has started. Tonight, the Broncos have let go of six players, three of which were considered three of the better starters on last years horrid defense. This set of cuts include the likes of DT Dewayne Robertson, LB Jamie Winborn, LB Niko Koutouvides, S Marquand Manuel, DE John Engelberger, and TE Nate Jackson.
The biggest surprise to these set of cuts is probably DT Dewayne Robertson. The fact that he is a fairly talented DT in a 4-3 system tells us that McDaniels is certainly going to focus on building a 3-4 defense for the Broncos. Robertson was traded to the Broncos from the New York Jets prior to last years draft for a conditional 2009 draft pick depending on Robertson's playing time. Robertson didn't see the field as much as expected, which gave the Jets the lower half of the deal. Robertson was also due an additional bonus this spring.
Manuel and Koutouvides were two other veterans brought in last season to help improve the defense. Koutouvides was a complete bust, starting a whopping zero games, and amassing a record setting twelve tackles last season. I felt as if Manuel could be a solid backup safety, but I guess me and McDaniels don't see eye to eye. So he was ousted this evening also.
The other three were Bronco veterans. Engelberger was traded to the Broncos in the offseason of 2005 for former Bronco first round pick, CB Willie Middlebrooks. Engelberger saw significant playing time over the past three seasons, but once again, he brought nothing that seemed to impress Josh McDaniels.
Jamie Winborn joined the Broncos in 2007, and really excelled towards the end of the 2007 campaign. However, last season his play really fell off and he couldn't seem to gather any success.
And finally, Nate Jackson, who has been a Bronco since 2003. Was a decent receiving TE who Shanahan was a huge fan of, but never seemed to pan out.
So this set of cuts gives the Broncos some extra room to manuever financially. The rest of the cuts(If there are any), should come by Wednesday so that gives McDaniels and his staff full focus on this weeks scouting combine.