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Broncos roster cutdown day: Kendall Hinton, Brett Maher among cuts; Albert O traded

DiNucci, Washington, Byrd let go. Albert O traded to Eagles
Albert Okwuegbunam, Kendall Hinton
Posted at 8:16 PM, Aug 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-29 22:10:34-04

DENVER – The moment sat in contrast to the cold reality. As Albert Okwuegbunam made his way to his locker Saturday night, teammates chanted his name after the best performance of his career.

“It’s great. That’s one of the best things about this sport. At the end of the day, it doesn’t feel like we are co-workers, it feels like we are brothers,” Okwuegbunam said after he caught seven passes for 109 yards and a touchdown. “I love that feeling of them surrounding me and encouraging me.”

The feel-good scene masked the palpable tension. After the Broncos boxed the Rams’ ears 41-0 in the final preseason game, it started the countdown until Tuesday’s 2 p.m. roster paring to 53 players. The anxiety is real as 1,184 players will lose their jobs around the league with less than half landing on practice squads.

The Broncos planned to cut Okwuegbunam. But they found a taker in the Eagles. The Broncos sent the TE and a seventh-round 2025 pick in exchange for a 2025 sixth-round selection, per ESPN.

The cuts began on Sunday afternoon as the Broncos waived veteran receiver Kendall Hinton, reserve offense tackle Isaiah Prince, who started in week one of the preseason, cornerback Delonte Hood and receivers Nick Williams and J.J. Koski.'

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Tuesday morning the team moved on from QB Ben DiNucci, WR Montrell Washington and guard Henry Byrd, kicker Brett Maher and Okwuegbunam. In the end, Albert O's lack of special teams acumen and shaky history as a blocker led to his exit.

Maher rebounded over the past two weeks, making a case for the job. But ties won out. The Broncos are trading for the Saints' Wil Lutz, who has years of experience with Payton. The Broncos are sending a 2024 seventh round pick to New Orleans. It is a risky move given Lutz's regression, but he posted a solid training camp. The Broncos will be on the hook for roughly $1.7 million of his contract.

DiNucci is a candidate for the practice squad. The team also parted ways with OLB Aaron Patrick and CB Faion Hicks. Thomas Incoom made a late push at OLB, so he could stick or team could add external candidate.

Hinton, 26, was entering his fourth season. He knew there was a chance he might not make it given the new leadership under Sean Payton.

“There will be a lot of guys that have to find a new home. It is what it is. You put your best foot forward over these past three weeks and let it play out,” Hinton told Denver7.

Hinton caught 24 passes for 311 yards last season, showing equivocally that he was more than the emergency quarterback in the COVID game in 2020 against New Orleans. But he struggled the past two weeks, drawing two penalties against San Francisco and failing to make a catch on two targets against the Rams.

It’s my belief that Jerry Jeudy (right hamstring) will avoid the injured list, though I don’t expect him to return until the Miami game in Week 3. However, the Broncos need players to step up. That starts with Courtland Sutton, who has tailed off since his terrific start to training camp, Brandon Johnson, who is recovered from a high ankle sprain, Marvin Mims Jr. and who else? Lil Jordan Humphrey has put himself in a great position to make the team after finishing well the past two weeks. Like Humphrey, Marquez Callaway played for Payton with the Saints, but he hasn’t popped in training camp. As it stands, it appears he has won the sixth spot, edging out Hinton.

As for Williams, he starred at Cherry Creek High School, and hopefully becomes a candidate for the 16-person practice squad that gets set on Wednesday.

Prince showed flashes early in camp, taking starter reps at right tackle when Mike McGlinchey missed two weeks with a sprained knee. He did not fare well vs. the Cardinals, and likely lost his spot to undrafted rookie Alex Palczewski.

Okwuegbunam was a longshot to make it when camp opened, his blocking improved dramatically over the past two weeks. A teammate told Denver7 that “something just clicked with him." Okwuegbunam plays the same role as Greg Dulcich, which worked against his roster bid. The possibility remains that the team goes with three tight ends: Adam Trautman, Dulcich, and Chris Manhertz. Nate Adkins could make it as a special teamer.

I will keep a list of the cuts updated as the Broncos trim their roster:

WR Kendall Hinton
CB Delonte Hood
WR J.J. Koski
OT Isaiah Prince
WR Nick Williams
LB Austin Ajiake
OG Henry Byrd
DT P.J. Mustipher
QB Ben DiNucci
OG Henry Byrd
WR Montrell Washington
CB Art Green
OLB Aaron Patrick
CB Faion Hicks
RB Tyler Badie
DL Tyler Lancaster
LB Seth Benson
TE Tommy Hudson
DT Haggai Ndubuisi
DB Devon Key
RB Dwayne Washington
K Brett Maher
WR Taylor Grimes
LB Marcus Haynes
C Kyle Fuller
LB Christopher Allen
DT Jordan Jackson
OT Demontrey Jacobs
RB Dewayne Washington
WR Michael Bandy
DL Thomas Lauille
T Quinn Bailey
WR Lil'Jordan Humphrey
DT Mike Purcell
WR Marquez Callaway