The Denver Broncos announced today that veteran Linebacker Joe Mays was released. By current standards, that’s old news. With this roster move, the team cleared about $3.4 Million (2013 Salary- $4M – $666,667 dead money). This move was something that many expected due to the fact that both John Elway and John Fox have stated that Nate Irving will be given every chance to claim the starting Middle Linebacker spot. Stewart Bradley and Steven Johnson are in the mix as well. Also, we must factor in the silence of the two Johns during the entire offseason regarding Mays and his future with the team.
That said, it was also publicized that the team had interest in Free Agent Middle Linebacker Will Witherspoon, who signed with the St. Louis Rams yesterday. So what do these moves say about what the Broncos Front Office think on the Middle Linebacking position?
I have stood on my pedestal each April for at least the last 5 seasons, screaming for my favorite team to please pick up a Middle Linebacker. Now granted, my wishes weren’t all for naught because along with the next Al Wilson, I’ve also been demanding some fresh meat on the interior Defensive Line. So two-thirds of my solution to bolster the Broncos Defense have come to fruition with the drafting of Derek Wolfe and Sylvester Williams.
Truth be told, if Nate Irving can’t claim the MIKE LB spot, Stewart Bradley should fill in quite nicely by comparison, so at least there is a measure of depth. The team is undervaluing the position by claiming their Defense is in the Nickel package ~63% of the time, but we all know what a stud Middle Linebacker can do for a team. Now I feel sure in saying the John’s would gladly like a Stud MIKE, but there have been slim pickings on that front. Maybe next year. Sigh.
Yesterday’s overblown events tell us that our team may or may not be without the services of Von Miller, who is the best Defender on the team and in the top 2 or 3 in the entire league. It would be a blow to the Broncos Defense if they are required to play without him. However, the season hasn’t begun yet, so let’s not chase the lemmings over the cliff. If it happens, it happens. The next man up will get their chance. Things have been changing since the Elvis Fax snafu anyway and the Front Office had been making moves to fill the void of Dumervil.
What if the release of Joe Mays occurred because Denver is going after someone like John Abraham?
We already know that Shaun Phillips will step in for Von, if the suspension holds true. I hardly expect that Shaun is capable of 17-18 Sacks and even if Derek Wolfe has 10 Sacks in 2013, that won’t fill Dumervil’s absence. Robert Ayers-can he pick up 8-10 Sacks? How about rookie Quanterus Smith? Malik Jackson, Jeremy Beal, Lanston Tanyi, John Youboty? Even looking at it through Orange-tinted spectacles, wouldn’t we all feel a little better with John Abraham? I would add Richard Seymour to this list, but I believe his salary demands will not go down until September. Still, either man would fill a need for a just-in-case scenario.
Just something to think about.
– Kaptain Kirk