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.

Releasing Mays will save Denver $3.5M in cash and leave $833,334 in dead money, which according to Spotrac will be spread over the 2013 ($666,667) and 2014 ($166,667) seasons.

Mays started the 2012 season as Denver's starting middle linebacker, but was suspended one game for a vicious Week 3 hit on Texans quarterback Matt Schaub.

A starting role proved to be too much for the former special teams stalwart, and he was replaced by Keith Brooking following the Week 5 loss at New England.

Mays suffered a broken leg against New Orleans in Week 8, and the recovery from that injury is presumably what delayed his inevitable release until today.

The team had reportedly shopped Mays during the 2013 Draft, but expectedly, to no avail. Had the Broncos cut him prior to being cleared medically, they would have owed Mays an injury settlement, and likely a fairly substantial one, at that.

Expectations are that Nate Irving, Steven Johnson, and Stewart Bradley will be competing for the starting Mike gig when camp opens on Thursday. Mays's name had been notably omitted by Denver's personnel folks and coaching staff while discussing the position, reinforcing the certain nature of his release.

Cutting Mays should bring Denver to nearly $11M in cap room, with first-rounder Sylvester Williams still to be signed.

It remains our expectation (based purely on an educated guess) that Chris Kuper and his $4.5M salary will be the next cap casualty.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM