KUSA - John Elway didn’t get where he is today by giving up.
According to NFL sources, multiple teams have expressed qualified interest in Denver Broncos quarterback Mark Sanchez. The qualifier is that Elway -- who may be better as the Broncos’ general manager than he was during his previous lifetime as a Hall of Fame quarterback -- give up on the idea of trading Sanchez and instead release him to free agency. Elway had also been shopping running back Ronnie Hillman, but his $1.8 million salary has apparently crimped his trade value.
Sanchez wasn’t released last week when we lost the Broncos’ starting quarterback competition to Trevor Siemian. He wasn’t released Friday, even though the Broncos had a goal of setting their 53-man roster six days from opening the regular season with a game Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers.
Why? Because Elway had just enough nibbles from other teams to not give up. Dallas and San Francisco are among the teams that have shown measured interest in Sanchez, a veteran quarterback who is about to begin his eighth NFL season. For whom is the question?
The Broncos? Not likely. The Broncos are expected to release Sanchez today if they can't trade him. However, the Broncos do plan on having a veteran quarterback accompany Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch in meetings this year. But that third quarterback is not expected to be named Mark Sanchez.
Among the quarterbacks the Broncos could be considering are Christian Ponder, Ryan Lindley, Austin Davis and T.J. Yates.
Although Elway has always reserved the right to change his mind during his GM reign that has produced five AFC West titles, 63 wins (12.6 per year), two Super Bowl appearances and one world championship in five seasons, he was not looking to retain Sanchez by the 2 p.m. Saturday deadline to set his 53-man roster.
Sanchez has let Elway, head coach Gary Kubiak and the rest of the Broncos’ organization know he wants to stay. Learning a new system and playbook so late into a calendar year is difficult for a non-quarterback player – see tight end Vernon Davis for the Broncos last season – much less a quarterback.
Elway was also exploring a trade involving rHillman, who after making $200,000 in bonuses this year, has another $1.8 million coming to him in salary. So far no takers. If Hillman can’t be traded, the Broncos may keep him.
9NEWS did learn Elway, Kubiak and the Broncos moved at least 12 players off their roster Friday. The team released veteran defensive lineman Henry Melton and waived running back/fullback Juwan Thompson, a Bronco the previous two years.
The Broncos also waived defensive linemen Kyle Peko and Lars Koht; receivers Mose Frazier and Kalif Raymond; outside linebackers Eddie Yarbrough of Aurora Grandview High School, Vontarrius Dora and Sadat Sullyman; inside linebacker Dwayne Norman and cornerbacks John Tidwell of Aurora Ridgeview High School and Taurean Nixon.
Several of those players figure to wind up on the Broncos’ 10-man practice squad that will be set Sunday afternoon.
A 13th player, safety Shiloh Keo, figures to be moved to the suspended list. Keo was suspended by the NFL for the first two games because of his DUI in February.
The Broncos will make the rest of their cuts Saturday morning.
Among the players who had not been cut Saturday: Running back Kapri Bibbs, receiver Jordan Taylor, defensive lineman Billy Winn, tight end John Phillips, safety Ryan Murphy, linebcker Kyle Kragen and center-guard Dillon Day.
The Broncos are currently heavy with running back numbers as they still have five on their roster: C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker, rookie fullback Andy Janovich, Bibbs and Hillman. Would they keep all five?
After the 53-man roster is finalized Saturday, look for the Broncos to seek additional help from the waiver wire at tight end, offensive line, defensive line – and quarterback.
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