Thoughts on Denver releasing McGahee

June, 13, 2013
6/13/13
11:45
AM ET

The Denver Broncos cut former starting running back Willis McGahee on Thursday, the final day of their minicamp. Here are some thoughts on the move:

It was coming: The Broncos drafted Ronnie Hillman in the third round last year and they drafted Montee Ball in the second round this year. McGahee will turn 32 in October and he is coming off a knee surgery.

McGahee didn’t do himself any favors by missing this month's organized team activities (OTAs). He said it was for family reasons. McGahee did show up this week for the mandatory minicamp, but by then the Broncos had realized they could comfortably move on from McGahee. I thought McGahee would be out of the picture after training camp, but Denver clearly feels good about moving forward without him prior to camp. The move saves $2.5 million in salary-cap room.

Says a lot about Ball: This means Denver is ready to unleash Ball. The Broncos have been thrilled with the Wisconsin product all offseason. I expect him to be a starter right away. If Denver had reservations about Ball, the team would have kept McGahee.

McGahee was a good Bronco: When Denver signed McGahee two years ago, I thought he would have limited success because of all the injuries he had had. But he went out and played well for Denver in two seasons. He was tough and had a lot of big carries. McGahee gained 1,930 yards and averaged 4.6 yards per carry in 25 games in Denver. He was a productive signing.

Does McGahee fit elsewhere in the AFC West? Each team is set at starter. The Raiders and the Chiefs have young backups they like. But if either team feels it needs a veteran presence, it’d be tough to do better than McGahee. Perhaps San Diego will take a look at him. He would give the Chargers some toughness and he played for new Chargers head coach Mike McCoy the past two years in Denver. If I had to guess, I’d say the Chargers would be the AFC West favorite to land McGahee.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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