Denver hopes to avoid recent mistakes

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

After cutting seven players, including five defensive starters in the past two days, Denver is clearly preparing for free agency where it is has more than $25 million in functional salary-cap room.

Denver will likely try to get multiple defensive starters in free agency.

The new Denver regime, coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Brian Xanders, need to learn from the past several offseasons of the Mike Shanahan era. The Broncos made several major free agent and trade mistakes in the final few years of Shanahan's tenure. If the Broncos, who were 24-24 the past three seasons, are going to turn around their fortunes quickly under McDaniels and Xanders, they need to avoid the mistakes that have been made in recent seasons in Denver.

Here is a list of some of the big-name, little-impact players the Broncos swung and missed on:

Dre' Bly

  • Cornerback

  • Acquired: Trade with Detroit, March 2007

  • Breakup: Bly was cut Tuesday with three years remaining on his contract. The release of Bly cost Denver more than $2 million in salary-cap room. Bly was never the top-flight cornerback Denver hoped he would be.

Travis Henry

  • Running back

  • Acquired: Free agent, March 2007

  • Breakup: He was cut last June after one disastrous season in which he was injured often and embroiled in drug issues with the league. He was cut after he stopped going to work. He is now dealing with a criminal drug case.

Dewayne Robertson

  • Defensive tackle

  • Acquired: Trade with New York Jets, April 2008.

  • Breakup: Robertson was cut Monday in move that saved Denver $16 million in cap room. He made very little impact during his one season in Denver,

Javon Walker

  • Wide receiver

  • Acquired: Trade with Green Bay, April 2006.

  • Breakup: He was cut after the 2007 season in which he was riddled by injury and in which he criticized the franchise. Like Denver's other big-name trade acquisitions in recent years, Walker came in with a brand new, big contract.

Gerard Warren

  • Defensive tackle

  • Acquired: Trade with Cleveland, March 2005

  • Breakup: Warren was traded to Oakland in training camp in 2007 after the team decided he didn't fit in a year after signing a six-year, $30-plus million deal. Warren had been solid in Oakland and the Broncos miss him.