ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Tenth-year cornerback Drayton Florence was cut Friday when the Denver Broncos decided to keep three quarterbacks on their roster.
Backing up Peyton Manning will be Caleb Hanie, who was sacked nine times in the preseason but played better than 21-year-old rookie Brock Osweiler, who had a strong offseason and a good start to camp but couldn’t win the No. 2 job.
Florence signed a two-year deal with Denver in May after his release from Buffalo, but the Broncos kept just five cornerbacks when they trimmed their roster to 53.
The Broncos also kept veteran linebacker Keith Brooking, who missed the entire preseason after pulling a hamstring during his second practice, and safety Jim Leonhard (knee surgery), who returned to action on the eve of final cuts and impressed the coaching staff.
Other notable cuts included free safety Rafael Bush, tackle Ryan Harris, running back Jeremiah Johnson, middle linebacker Mike Mohamed, cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson and quarterback Adam Weber.
The Broncos also placed defensive end Jeremy Beal on season-ending injured reserve with a torn ligament in his left knee. Beal had two sacks and five tackles in the preseason before getting hurt in the Broncos’ final exhibition game Thursday night at Arizona.
Weakside linebacker D.J. Williams (at least six games) and backup tight end Virgil Green (four games) were placed on the reserve/suspended list following failed drug tests. Williams’ punishment could be extended following his recent conviction for driving while ability impaired.
Hanie came on strong halfway through camp but was up-and-down in the preseason games, where he completed 22 of 39 passes for 246 yards. He had one TD toss and one interception but was sacked nine times — an astonishing once per every 4.3 drop-backs — including five times Thursday night. The last one came as the first half wound down with the Broncos at the Cardinals 7, preventing them from attempting a field goal.
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