The Denver Broncos named their (mostly) final roster on Saturday afternoon, parting ways with several high-earning veterans like Ronnie Hillman and Mark Sanchez. John Elway is opting for lower-priced options at both positions. Earlier in the week the team made a similar move when it opted to cut veteran punter Britton Colquitt in favor of keeping seventh-round draft pick Riley Dixon.

Although Elway said in his Saturday press conference following cuts that money was not a factor in every roster decision, the Broncos do have to mind their dollars this year and in the years to come. Big payouts to Von Miller, Demaryius Thomas, Aqib Talib, Chris Harris and DeMarcus Ware account for just under 35 percent (34.77) of the team’s total cap percentage for the year, meaning Elway has to extract extreme value elsewhere on the roster.

Fortunately, Elway has assembled a combination of high-performing late-round draft picks and ERFAs that play major roles on the roster while using up minuscule amounts of that oh-so-vlauable cap space. Players who not only figure to log significant snaps during the season, but do so at a high level at a very low price.

Here’s a look a the top-5 players on Denver’s 2016 53-man roster who offer the best ROI potential in the coming year. Combined, these five players occupy less than two percent of Denver’s total salary cap spending in 2016. This ranking considers salary cost, prior performance, potential and expectations for 2016.

*Salary information courtesy of

Honorable Mention – Bennie Fowler (WR)

Base: $525,000
Cap Percentage: 0.34

An ERFA, Fowler essentially must play for whatever the Broncos offer him (or sit out a year). The Broncos have wisely elected to pay Fowler the minimum for a player with his experience (one year), getting a steal for the man who figures to be their No. 3 wide receiver.

Fowler catapulted himself into that role with a strong showing down the back stretch of the 2015 season and in the divisional round of the playoffs. He actually had his best day of the season in Week 3 last year, pulling in four catches (a career high), but it was his clutch catches late in games that really stood out. Fowler made key catches against New England, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh (playoffs) that showed Gary Kubiak he has the moxie to be the third option behind Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.

His forever claim to fame will be that he caught Peyton Manning‘s final pass attempt – a two-point conversion in Super Bowl 50 – but that was the only reception Fowler had in either the Super Bowl or the AFC Championship Game. He also had five regular season games in which he saw playing time but didn’t register on the stat sheet.

Kubiak will need to make Fowler a bigger part of the game plan (and he’ll have to heal a preseason elbow injury) to maximize the value of his $525,000 salary, but with opposing defenders keying in on Thomas and Sanders that should be no problem.

No. 5 – Todd Davis (ILB)

Base: $600,000
Cap Percentage: 0.39

The Broncos elected to let the team’s top tackler in 2013 and ’15, Danny Trevathan, leave in free agency in part because they have Brandon Marshall, a true sideline-to-sideline ‘backer. They also let Trevathan walk because they believe Davis can be the next in a line of ILBs to go from relative anonymity to big-time tacklers (see Trevathan, Joe Mays, Wesley Woodyard). Playing on front seven that includes Marshall, Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Derek Wolfe, Jared Crick and Sylvester Williams should allow Davis to shine in the same light Trevathan did last year.

At only $600,000 and 0.39 percent of Denver’s cap space, Davis will be an extreme value if he can maintain a trend over the past few years. In those same years Trevathan led the team in tackles, Denver’s other ILB ranked either second or third in total tackles. Given the strength of the line and Marshall’s athleticism, there’s no reason that can’t repeat.

He needs to cut down on his penalties. At one point last year he was the second-most penalized player on the roster on a per-snap basis.

A restricted free agent next year, Davis has extra motivation this year to play well and earn a big payday like Marshall did this offseason.

No. 4 – Brandon McManus (K)

Base: $600,000
Cap Percentage: 0.39

There’s a very good chance that McManus will represent a significant percentage of the Broncos’ offensive output in 2016, so it’s a bonus that he won’t represent a significant cap hit.

McManus made 30 of 35 field goals and missed just one of the new longer point after touchdown kicks during the regular season. Most importantly, he was perfect in the postseason.

Against Pittsburgh in the Divisional round McManus scored 15 of Denver’s 23 points, nearly outscoring the Steelers on his own. The fact he was perfect on PATs and field goals (and Stephen Gostkowski wasn’t) against the Patriots proved to be the difference in the AFC Championship Game. His three field goals in the Super Bowl kept the point tally moving forward when the offense wasn’t moving the ball.

In 2015, McManus’ field goals and the Denver defense accounted for a full 33 percent of Denver’s total scoring during the regular season. McManus alone scored 125 of Denver’s 355 points, field goals and extra points combined.

McManus struggled in camp and during the preseason – perhaps a result of having both a new long snapper and a new placeholder. His leg is as good as anyone in the league. The real question is whether he can adjust to the new bodies around him. That will be the real key to McManus continuing to provide huge value on his contract.

No. 3 – Shaq Barrett (OLB)

Base: $525,000
Cap Percentage: 0.34

The third-year outside linebacker from Colorado State played all 16 games (6 starts) and all three postseason contests in 2015, registering 41 tackles (28 solo), 5.5 sacks (39 yds.), four passes defensed, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and nine special-teams stops. Not bad productivity for a guy who made less than half-a-million dollars last year.

Barrett’s salary will jump up slightly in 2016, again staying at the veteran minimum for a guy at his experience level (he spent just two weeks on the active roster in 2014), but he’s still an absolute steal. Last year Barrett played 45.35 percent of Denver’s defensive snaps, a number that will only increase as Kubiak and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will use DeMarcus Ware even more sparingly this year.

As mentioned, Barrett also contributes on special teams, adding another degree of value to his game. Last year he saw action on 65.6 percent of special teams snaps. That number might decline this year as he takes on a bigger role in Ware’s absence, but not enough to shift the value on his ERFA contract, which the team has in its pocket for 2017 as well.

No. 2 – Trevor Siemian (QB)

Base: $538,195
Cap Percentage: 0.35

Siemian’s value at this point comes only by default and expectations. As the only quarterback to ever start for a defending Super Bowl champion without having an NFL pass attempt to his name, Siemian is no doubt a speculative value.

Not only is Siemian the lowest-paid starting quarterback in the league (although Dak Prescott isn’t far off), he’s one of the overall lowest paid signal callers in the game altogether. He’s making one-third of what his backup, Paxton Lynch, makes. As soon as the contract details for the new No. 3 QB, Austin Davis, come out, there’s a good chance Siemian will make less than half of that amount as well.

Siemian won’t have to raise the bar too high to improve on last year’s quarterback play – between Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler the Broncos ranked 31st in the league in passer rating in 2015. However, Siemian ultimately will be judged by one stat alone, wins and losses.

The young quarterback has the confidence of the locker room, namely veterans like Sanders, who says he has the arm to make all the throws necessary. Whether or not he has the field vision and leadership skills required to deliver wins in the NFL will ultimately determine the true value of his very team-friendly contract.

As starting quarterback, Siemian has the potential to deliver the biggest ROI on the Broncos roster; he could also be a “pay for what you get” solution at the most important position in sports.

No. 1 – Matt Paradis (C)

Base: $525,000
Cap Percentage: 0.34

If Siemian is the ultimate “boom-or-bust” investment in 2016, Paradis is about as close to a “sure thing” as you’ll find – not just on the Broncos roster, but on any NFL roster.

The second-year center was the team’s ultimate iron man last year. Paradis played every single offensive snap, the only player on the roster to do so. He cashed the league’s biggest performance bonus check in history as a result (not to mention a sizable Super Bowl check), but his base salary was still at the league minimum as it will be again this year. As a second-year ERFA, it can remain that way through next year if the Broncos so choose.

The Broncos might want to consider locking up Paradis on a longer-term deal, however. Not only did he prove to be incredibly durable, the Boise State product appears fast on his way to being a Pro Bowl-caliber player. In 2015 he was the top-rated center in the league over the final three weeks of the season. His play has drawn comparisons to former Broncos center Tom Nalen, a three-time All-Pro and the anchor of two Super Bowl-winning offensive lines.

With a full year of NFL experience in Gary Kubiak‘s offense under his belt (and hopefully a more stable cast around him), Paradis figures to be even more effective in 2016. All at the lowest possible price to the Broncos.