GLENDALE, ARIZ. - There are 22 players who the Denver Broncos must remove from their active roster in the next two days but any move involving quarterback Mark Sanchez will generate most of the attention.
A possible scenario: The Broncos wind up with three quarterbacks, including one not named Sanchez.
After losing the starting job to Trevor Siemian during the preseason, Sanchez figures to be caught in a roster and salary-cap squeeze. Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak notified the team in the locker room following their 38-17 preseason loss to Arizona here Thursday night that he and general manager John Elway would make most of their cuts by 10 a.m. Friday.
Not only is Sanchez not the starter, the Broncos may not want him to be the No. 2 quarterback because they don’t want him blocking the development of first-round rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch. As a backup, Lynch would get more practice reps.
That leaves Sanchez as the No. 3 quarterback, where his $4.5 million salary is deemed too expensive.
However, Sanchez is willing to take a pay cut to stay. The question is whether the Broncos believe Sanchez is a better option than Lynch as the clipholder to Siemian on opening day against the Carolina Panthers. Sanchez declined to talk to the media Thursday night but he is expected to learn his fate by 10 a.m. Friday like the others.
The Broncos have been trying to trade Sanchez, and teams like Minnesota, Dallas and possibly Seattle or San Francisco could use an experienced back-up. But so far teams are waiting for the Broncos to release Sanchez from his contract. Even if the Broncos release Sanchez, they may add a third quarterback. Several quarterbacks are expected to get cut in the next 36 hours.
Although Elway and Kubiak will make most of their cuts Friday, they probably won’t announce their 53-man roster until closer to the 2 p.m. Saturday deadline.
Once the 53-man roster is set, the Broncos will scan the available players piled up on the waiver wire to see if they can fill positions of need. A quarterback, tight end, offensive lineman and possibly a defensive lineman will be the positions the Broncos’ brass discusses.
No play group
Bronco players who had their own private workout before the fourth preseason game at University of Phoenix Stadium and then watched from the sideline without wearing pads beneath their uniforms: Aqib Talib, Sylvester Williams, Darian Stewart, Von Miller, Cody Latimer, Emmanuel Sanders, Virgil Green, Bradley Roby, Chris Harris Jr., Derek Wolfe, Ty Sambrailo, Shane Ray, Matt Paradis, C.J. Anderson, T.J. Ward, DeMarcus Ware, Russell Okung, Shaq Barrett, Demaryius Thomas, Donald Stephenson, Brandon Marshall, Todd Davis, Trevor Siemian, Bennie Fowler and Jared Crick.
Veteran defensive lineman Henry Melton, signed by the Broncos on Aug. 21, went down in the first half clutching his right knee. Melton limped off the field but sensing a roster spot was at stake, he returned to the game in the second half. "He's not the only one,'' Kubiak said. "You look out there you look at (tight end) John Phillips, he's an eight-year veteran, he knows he's out there battling for his life. (Defensive lineman) Billy Winn, guys that have played in this league, been on teams, been successful in this league yet understand the importance of what tonight meant as far as being a part of our team.''
Riley Dixon shanked an 18-yard punt in the second quarter just two days after the Broncos gave him the job by releasing veteran incumbent Britton Colquitt. Dixon also had a 47-yard punt in the game, and a 45-yard punt inside the 10. Overall, Dixon was shaky. "Obviously we've got to be better than what we were tonight,'' Kubiak said of Dixon. "We were asking Riley to experiment a little bit with a punt, Joe's (DeCamillis, special teams coordinator) been working with him on it and it didn't work the way we wanted so it's on us as coaches.'' …
There has to be a spot on the Broncos’ practice squad for receiver Mose Frazier. Paxton Lynch’s college teammate at Memphis, Frazier had six catches for 79 yards against the Cardinals. …
Running back Kapri Bibbs had a solid game, rushing for 51 yards on 10 carries.
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