The Denver Broncos roster cuts yesterday afternoon featured some of the most surprising releases in the entire NFL. The Broncos deep roster, which has made the 2022 season look extremely promising for them, necessitated some tough decisions from Denver’s front office yesterday.

With star quarterback Russell Wilson under center for the Broncos, the sky appears to be the limit for this team heading into the 2022 season. However, the rest of the roster is going to have to pull their weight as well, which is why roster cuts are such an important piece of the training camp puzzle.

Now that the Broncos roster cuts have been made, their 53-man roster is largely in place. Some of the moves they made caught fans by surprise, though, and it’s worth looking at these moves and exploring why the team made them. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the three most shocking cuts the Broncos made yesterday afternoon.

3. Sam Martin

Sam Martin is one of the better punters in the NFL. He’s now up for grabs for any team in the league after the Broncos surprisingly released him yesterday as part of their roster cuts. It was one of the more surprising moves in the league, as Martin’s roster spot wasn’t really expected to be in jeopardy.

The primary reason why Martin ended up getting cut is because he refused to take a pay cut. By releasing Martin, Denver saved $2.25 million in cap space, which is a pretty big figure considering Martin is a punter. Still, losing Martin will hurt the Broncos pretty significantly this upcoming season, as he was a reliable putner for them over the past two years.

Part of the problem is that the Broncos will turn things over to Corliss Waitman, who has recorded just seven punts throughout his two-year career. Waitman could be solid, but nobody really knows what to expect from him. Chances are the Broncos wouldn’t have cut Sam Martin if they didn’t feel comfortable with Waitman, but this certainly feels like a risky move from the Broncos.

2. Netane Muti

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Netane Muti was competing for a starting guard spot on the Broncos offensive line heading into the 2022 season. Now, he finds himself without a team heading into the season. It was quite a quick turn of events for the young guard who had shown some significant potential early on in his career.

Muti functioned as a sixth lineman for the Broncos last season, and generally did well when he was called upon. As a result, Muti earned himself a chance to compete for a starting spot throughout a training camp. However, a knee injury he suffered during camp provided a significant roadblock on his journey for a starting spot.

It was reasonable to expect Muti to not earn a starting role given his injury, but his release altogether feels a bit premature. Muti was competing for a starting spot for a reason, and it was telling to see much of the Broncos second offensive line unit struggle throughout camp. Muti could have returned and been the team’s top backup again, but they ultimately decided to move on from him and roll with their healthy players for the time being.

1. Kendall Hinton

Kendall Hinton became a household name during the 2020 season when he was unexpectedly forced into playing quarterback for the Broncos due to the fact that they did not have a single quarterback available for the game. Hinton was the team’s emergency quarterback and, well, an emergency happened and Hinton ended up under center.

Hinton’s quarterback career probably isn’t going to go anywhere, as he finished that game completing more passes to the opposing team (two interceptions) than his own team (one completion). The Broncos were OK with that, because Hinton had a lot of upside as a wide receiver instead. He showed his potential in limited playtime last season, and seemed likely to earn a roster spot as a result of his potential and increased role with the team last season.

Yet when cuts came around, Hinton was one of the names on the list. It’s not as if the Broncos have a ton of wide receivers who are better than Hinton, especially given that Tim Patrick is set to miss the entire season after he tore his ACL in training camp.

Kendall Hinton has already proven he can play in the NFL and would have been a solid backup option at wide receiver who could fill a couple of different roles. Denver didn’t feel the same way, and he was unfortunately part of the Broncos roster cuts yesterday afternoon.