Jake Martin’s time with his hometown team didn’t last long.
The Broncos on Wednesday released the outside linebacker, a native of Aurora and graduate of Cherokee Trail High School. Martin was acquired from the New York Jets last November, and appeared in five games with the Broncos. He had six tackles, including a sack.
Martin had $1 million guaranteed on his contract for 2023 but the move saved the Broncos $3.82 million of salary-cap room.
Martin, who played at Temple, was a sixth-round pick by Seattle in 2018. He then played one season for the Seahawks and three for the Texans before starting 2022 with the Jets.
Martin was traded to Denver on Nov. 1, 2022, along with a 2024 fifth-round pick for a 2024 fourth-round pick. He was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 14, ending his season.
Because Martin is a vested veteran, he does not have to go through waivers and became immediately eligible to sign with any team.
The release of Martin leaves the Broncos with 78 players on the roster and the offseason limit is 90. They likely will make more moves to accommodate an expected signing of more than 15 undrafted free agents prior to a rookie minicamp that runs Friday through Sunday.
Martin’s release comes before veteran outside linebacker Trent Harris is scheduled to attend the minicamp as a tryout player after playing in the XFL. Harris is eligible to sign with Denver as soon as Monday.
A CONFIDENT ROOKIE
Second-round pick Marvin Mims Jr. isn’t the only 1,000-yard college receiver from last season heading to the Broncos rookie minicamp.
Undrafted free-agent Taylor Grimes had 83 catches for 1,221 yards and 15 touchdowns last year for Incarnate Word. Grimes also had 87 grabs for 1,145 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Cardinals in 2021.
Mims had 54 catches for 1,083 yards and six touchdowns in 2022, but he played at perennial power Oklahoma. Grimes was at an FCS school in San Antonio and now hopes to turn some heads with the Broncos.
“I’m going to work hard every day to try to get a spot on the team,’’ the 5-foot-11, 188-pound Grimes told The Denver Gazette. “I’m willing to play anywhere on special teams if that’s what it takes to make the roster.’’
While Mims is in line to sign a four-year, $6.07 million contract, Grimes said he will get a $2,000 signing bonus and no other guarantees on a standard rookie deal. Gaines said the Los Angeles Rams also were interested in signing him after he went undrafted.
“I played at the NFL (Collegiate) Bowl in January against Power Five (conference) dudes all week (in practice), and I did really well,’’ said Grimes, referring to the college all-star game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. “I’m going to go (to the Broncos minicamp) with all the confidence in the world and play as hard as I can.”
VERMEIL LAUDS PAYTON
Hall of Fame coach Dick Vermeil can’t think of anyone better to try to turn around quarterback Russell Wilson than first-year Denver coach Sean Payton.
“If he can’t do it, it can’t be done,” Vermeil said of the attempt to resurrect Wilson, who struggled after joining the Broncos in 2022.
Payton coached 15 seasons with New Orleans before taking last season off to work as a Fox NFL studio analyst. He won a Super Bowl with the Saints in February 2010.
“I have tremendous respect for him,” Vermeil said. “To me, he and (Chiefs head coach) Andy Reid are the offensive coaches of the decade.”