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Denver's release of Bly doesn't save money

2/17/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

A day after the Denver Broncos cut six players -- four of whom started on defense -- to save money, Denver cut another defensive starter.

 Bly
This time it wasn't done to save money. The Broncos cut cornerback Dre' Bly because they want to upgrade at right cornerback. Bly had three years remaining on his contract.

Awash in salary cap room, Denver was easily able to absorb a $2.6 million salary-cap hit to part ways with Bly, an 11-year veteran who has lost considerable speed. Bly had more than $9 million in dead money. The Broncos now have more than $17 million in dead money, including the contract of former running back Travis Henry, which is currently the highest in the league.

Still, Denver has more than $25 million in functional salary-cap room, and it is expected to try to fill several needs on defense in free agency. Denver will need to find five or six defensive starters through free agency and the draft. Expect Denver to look for cornerbacks in free agency. One possibility may be St. Louis' Ronald Bartell.

Bly never made the impact in Denver the Broncos had hoped for when he was acquired from Detroit for running back Tatum Bell and tackle George Foster in March 2007. The deal was considered a blockbuster for Denver, which emerged from a large list of teams pursuing Bly. The Broncos thought Bly would team with star Champ Bailey to make one of the best cornerback tandems in the league.

Yet, Bly, who is now an unrestricted free agent, was just average in Denver. However, he did play fairly well in the second half of 2008 when Bailey was hurt. In the end, Bly was another in a long line of big-name flops in Denver in the final years of the Mike Shanahan era.

The new Denver regime was so anxious to get rid of Bly that it paid to do it.