The pads, whistles and bull horns will remain silent for a few more weeks at Dove Valley but that doesn’t mean the wheels aren’t turning for the front office. As training camp nears, inevitably some players will find themselves on the hot seat.

The reason for a player’s status with the team can be affected by many reasons but every season some prominent names will be on the cut list when camp winds down and the regular season approaches. Here’s a look at three Broncos who maybe looking for employment elsewhere in August and why.

Andre Caldwell

Andre “Bubba” Caldwell has been a valued part of the Broncos since his arrival in 2012. He served a specific role as the utility wide receiver. He was a veteran receiver who could play multiple positions within Adam Gase’s complicated system and that was vital during the last few seasons as the Broncos groomed their receiver core. However, it appears he is no longer needed and definitely not at his current price tag.

The Broncos new balanced attack coupled with the necessary maturation of Cody Latimer will be the end of Caldwell’s days in orange and blue. His playing time has dwindled in the past two seasons and the current changes at Dove Valley don’t appear to have Bubba in mind. After playing in 298 snaps in the 2013-14 season he only saw the field for 186 last seasons according to Pro Football Focus (PFF). And during those snaps he only caught five passes for 47 yards and returned only 12 kicks for an average of 23.2 yards per PFF. The writing was already on the wall before Gary Kubiak’s arrival.

Secondly, Caldwell has a contract that no longer seems equitable for the franchise. According to he signed a two-year $2.7 million contract that will pay him a base salary of $1.35 million this year. His dead cap money is only at $200,000 and would allow the Broncos to release him without taking a big hit. Caldwell had an important role the last few seasons but it is time for the youth on the roster to prove themselves and the Broncos to clear some cap space in the process.

Antonio Smith

The veteran inside pass rusher has only been with the Broncos a matter of months but his arrival, while understandable at the time, is clearly no longer viable. Smith, a 12-year defensive tackle, was brought onto the team on April 2 to add some experience and knowledge of Wade Phillips defense along the defensive line. What the team didn’t expect was the legal issues that followed No. 94.

Shortly after his arrival it was made known first by TMZ that the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office in Texas was investigating Smith for allegedly sexually abusing a child. The case continues to develop but no charges have been filled and as a result his future with the team remains in limbo.

The Broncos, who were not made aware of the issues during the signing process in April, have excused Smith from voluntary workouts and then mandatory minicamp. They have stated several times that they are taking a “wait and see” approach to his situation but as training camp approaches the team should cut ties with him immediately. The Broncos clearly do not need a scandal to distract them, especially one involving the abuse of a child.

Far less important than his legal troubles is the fact that he may not have been worth the $2 million contract he was signed to anyways. He played in all 16 of the Oakland Raiders’ games in 2014 while remaining a huge liability against the run. However, he was still effective against the pass. He recorded three sacks and was brought to Denver to be a leader in the locker room. Regardless of the outcome of his case it seems that prospect is now gone.

The Broncos would have to eat $500,000 of his contract if they were to release him but may be able to recoup some of that if the NFL decides he violated their personal conduct policies. The decision is clear; Smith who has been with the team only a matter of months is not worth the headache.

Britton Colquitt

The valuable punter that has pinned offenses deep in their territory for years may have booted his last ball at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. Colquitt has been with the Broncos since he joined the team as a college free agent in 2009. Since then he has excelled but last year saw his worst average per punt (44.2).

His performance is far from bad but his contract and the team’s current situation at the kicker specialist positions may dictate that the two parties go their separate ways. First, he is scheduled to make an exorbitant $3.75 million dollars this season, all against the cap, ranking tops in the league at his position. To pay someone that amount of money at any position, he simply must to be far and away the best. While he has been good his play has not warranted that amount of money. The Broncos could save roughly $2.25 million in cap space if they were to release him later this summer.

Secondly, the Broncos have roster decisions to make at field goal kicker, kick off duties and punter. Last year they were forced to retain three players, Conor Barth, Brandon McManus and Colquitt for those duties. The team has already stated this spring they do not intend to do that again. Karl Schmitz may be the “X” factor in all of this. The YouTube sensation signed earlier this year is the only player among the group that can both punt and kick off. If he can make the big transition to the NFL, Colquitt and McManus will be roster causalities in August.

The season is quietly approaching and cuts are an obvious factor in the summer for NFL rosters. It is only a matter of time until the team sheds players on their way to a 53-man roster. The process takes time and careful consideration but these three big names are the obvious spots to start. For far different reasons they have simply worn out their welcome and are necessary cuts in order to improve the team. It is not personal, just business.

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