Less than a year after trading for former Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey, the Denver Broncos have parted ways with the veteran, as ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Thursday, releasing Casey ahead of 2021 free agency. The longtime Tennessee Titans standout was limited to just three games in his debut Broncos season, and his release -- which comes two weeks after the team cut fellow 2020 acquisition A.J. Bouye -- saves Denver nearly $12 million in 2021 salary cap space.
A third-round draft pick of the Titans back in 2011, Casey was widely considered one of the NFL's top interior linemen at the height of his career, earning five straight Pro Bowl nods from 2015-2019. He logged at least five sacks in each of his seven final seasons in Tennessee, thrice recording at least seven and once hitting double digits. Traded to the Broncos in exchange for a seventh-round pick last March, the 31-year-old landed on injured reserve with torn biceps after just three games in Denver, never returning to the field thanks to additional stints on IR and the COVID-19 reserve list.
Casey, who is now free to sign with any team before the official start of free agency in March, could still be considered starting material around the NFL. But he was widely expected to depart the Broncos thanks to his big contract, a four-year, $60 million extension originally signed with the Titans in 2017. He would've cost Denver $11.87 million in 2021 had he remained on the team, not to mention an additional $13.85 million in 2022. By releasing the defensive tackle, the Broncos will clear all of that money off their books.