Broncos release Joe Mays

As we've been expecting for several months now, the Broncos released linebacker Joe Mays on Tuesday.

In one of the bigger mistakes of John Elway's tenure running their football operations, Denver signed Mays to a three-year, $12M deal in March of 2012.

The contract included $4.5M in guarantees, including $500K of his 2013 salary.

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Von Miller faces four-game suspension which may stem from 2011 positive test

Denver's nightmarish July continues, as Adam Schefter reports that all-universe linebacker Von Miller is facing a four-game drug suspension from the NFL.

Miller, who received the only vote for 2012 DPOY not marked for J.J. Watt, is said to be appealing the ban.

Obviously, there's no player more integral to the Broncos' prospects in 2013 and beyond than Peyton Manning, but Von may be a close second.

Updated 2:26pm ET

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Lombardi: Broncos have (wisely) offered Clady $33M in guarantees

According to CBS4's Vic Lombardi, the Broncos have gotten serious in their negotiation with Ryan Clady toward a long-term deal. Lombardi reports that the team's latest offer includes $33M in guarantees, which would cover the first three years of a multiyear contract.

If that's $33M in full guarantees - meaning there are no outs for the team, like the one that resulted in Elvis Dumervil's release - then a deal must indeed be getting pretty close, as CBS4 suggests.

Reports from the DP's Mike Klis have varied wildly, pegging the guaranteed portion of Denver's final 2012 offer at $28M last July, and at just $16M more recently.

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Broncos reportedly up offer to Clady

According to Mike Klis, the Broncos have increased their offer to left tackle Ryan Clady beyond the five-year, $50M figure they were said to have presented him last July, when talks between the two sides broke down.

Denver used its franchise tag on Clady, and the two sides have until 4pm ET on Monday, July 15, to reach agreement on a long-term deal. If they again reach a stalemate, Clady would play out the one-year, $9.828M tender, which he has not yet signed.

If that should happen, the three-time Pro Bowler would become an unrestricted free agent, unless the Broncos were to again tag him, but at a 20% premium (to $11.7936M).

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Broncos to re-sign Dan Koppen

As reported by Aaron Wilson, and announced by the team, the Broncos will re-sign center Dan Koppen in response to the continuing health problems of J.D. Walton.

Walton underwent surgery on Monday to replace hardware in his ailing ankle; an infection had apparently caused swelling in the area after the team's minicamp.

Koppen was originally signed by the Broncos to a one-year deal at the $825K minimum last September, just a few weeks before Walton suffered a fracture and disclocation of his left ankle.

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Infection sends Walton to further surgery, likely to PUP list

According to Jeff Legwold, Broncos center J.D. Walton underwent another operation Monday on his ailing left ankle and may be lost for the season. A few minutes after his original tweet, Legwold adds that the team hopes to get Walton back by late October or early November.

Cecil Lammey of ESPN Denver suggests this could prompt the team to bring back Dan Koppen, who remains an unrestricted free agent.

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Average backup OL are fine for the Broncos

Happy Wednesday, friends.  I had a Twitter discussion last week with longtime reader Kriss Bergethon, in which we disagreed about whether it was feasible for the Broncos to acquire more quality veteran offensive line depth.

I was sitting in the Phoenix airport as we were tweeting, and I’ve been meaning to get back to this, as I think it’s a good opportunity to think about a couple of concepts in roster construction.

Kriss felt that the Broncos should seek to acquire more veteran linemen, and that’s a defensible position on the surface.  You should always want your team to maximize the quality of its 53 guys on the roster.  There are also a number of starter-caliber veterans on the street, who could probably be had for close to the minimum at this point, as their market seems to have dried up.

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Running back roulette

Second-round pick Montee Ball made a lot of fans in Denver happy when he chose Mike Anderson’s old number 38, as an homage to ‘Sarge’. The Broncos are hoping that he can also recreate the kind of tough-nosed performances that made Anderson such a fan favorite during his time in Denver.

As a young man who started off his life as a Broncos fan, he’s already taken the right first steps.

One thing you can count on - any team of John Fox’s will try and use a committee approach to the game. Said OC Adam Gase,

Coach Fox has always been great mixing in the multiple backfields and using different guys. He did it in Carolina. We'll do the same thing here.

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Ball, Webster sign; only Williams remains

The Broncos have signed second-rounder Montee Ball and third-rounder Kayvon Webster; only first-rounder Sylvester Williams remains unsigned.

Broncos cut Willis McGahee

Denver released veteran running back Willis McGahee on Thursday, as the team continues to go younger (and cheaper) at the position.

The 31-year-old back had been due a $2.5M salary this season and would have counted for $3M against the cap. According to Spotrac, McGahee's release will leave $500K in dead money on the books for each of the 2013 and 2014 seasons, while freeing up $2.5M in cap space in 2013 and $2M in 2014.

McGahee had not attended the team's voluntary OTAs, instead choosing to work out in Miami, before this week claiming "family obligations" were the cause.

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