According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter the Broncos have released defensive lineman Jurrell Casey. The move will create $11,874,750 in cap space .
Broncos released DT Jurrell Casey, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 25, 2021
Acquired from the Tennessee Titans for a 7th round pick in 2020, there was hope Jurrell Casey would be the steal of the 2020 offseason. A five time Pro Bowler, he notched 51 sacks prior to his move to Denver and gave Fangio the positional flexibility to play up and down the line of scrimmage.
When the trade went down last year I was ecstatic. The more I studied his tape over the summer, the better it looked. Casey came with some notable questions such as his 2019 injury, but I thought the deal was a brilliant gamble by John Elway. It wasn’t hard to imagine Casey terrorizing opposing blocking schemes forced to account for Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, and Shelby Harris.
Based upon what I saw watching Jurrell Casey’s 2019 season, I believe this move was a great one. While the former Titans may not be quite the 5-technique the now-departed Derek Wolfe was, the truth is Denver played more than 60% of their snaps in nickel personnel a year ago. As an interior rusher the Casey I watched blows Wolfe out of the water. If he can stay healthy, this move is going to look like one of the biggest steals of the 2019 off-season.
Unfortunately it never worked out that way. Miller suffered a freak injury before week one and missed the season and Casey quickly followed him, landing on Injured Reserve after the week three loss to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. According to Sports Info Solutions’ charting he finished with 0 sacks and just four pressures across 90 pass rush snaps.
We don’t yet know with certainty what the salary cap will be once the new league year starts. The NFL has made it clear that the cap ceiling will not be set any lower than $180 million. The conservative estimate is something Over The Cap has followed all offseason, and the move to cut Casey gives the Broncos $42,350,603 in cap space. At present that would place them behind four teams.
If the cap is as low as the $180.5 million Over the Cap estimates and the Broncos place a second franchise tag on Justin Simmons as expected, they will have just under $29 million in cap space.
The Casey cut means defensive line has become a need for the Broncos. Shelby Harris and DeMarcus Walker are free agents and should draw interest in what looks like a weak market. Leonard Williams is the big name, but there’s reason to believe New York will place a franchise tag on him if necessary.
Releasing Jurrell Casey moves the Broncos current OTC cap estimate to $42,350,603. At present only 4 teams have more.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) February 25, 2021
If George Paton’s plan is to go younger at the position it’s no guarantee he’ll find 2021 help in the NFL Draft. This class is among the weakest in recent memory with Alabama’s Christian Barmore, Iowa’s Daviyon Nixon and Washington’s Levi Onwuzurike as the big names.
There’s an outside possibility Paton plans to roll with the current group along the defensive line. Dre’Mont Jones showed the kind of promise in 2020 to hope that he can make a Pro Bowl push this season. When healthy, Mike Purcell’s been a valuable role player in the Fangio defense. Behind them the toolsy McTelvin Agim who should improve with an offseason to refine his hands and anchor.
the scientific term to describe this free agent class: booty— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) February 25, 2021
We’ll update this story as we learn more.