Broncos release three players to create cap space

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- With some salary-cap concerns in tow, the Denver Broncos officially began Round 2 of their expected post-Super Bowl makeover Tuesday by releasing three veteran players, including former All-Pro Louis Vasquez.

Tight end Owen Daniels and long-snapper Aaron Brewer were the other two players released. Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway said in recent days that "some tough choices'' were on the horizon for the team.

Vasquez, who was signed by the Broncos to a four-year, $23.5 million contract in 2013, played in all 16 games this past season, but knee troubles all season limited his practice time.

The Broncos, who were over the salary cap until quarterback Peyton Manning announced his retirement Monday, made the moves with free agency set to open Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET. Vasquez, who was named a first-team All-Pro in 2013, carried a $6.75 million salary-cap charge.

The Broncos will have $1.25 million worth of dead money charged against their salary cap, but do get $5.5 million of additional room to go with the $19 million worth that came with Manning's retirement.

Daniels played just one season for the Broncos and is a favorite of coach Gary Kubiak. The Broncos' coach is the only play-caller Daniels has played for in his previous 10 NFL seasons. Daniels, too, battled knee troubles that limited his practice time on the way to 46 catches and three touchdowns.

Daniels did have two postseason touchdown catches -- both in the AFC Championship Game win over the New England Patriots. His release gains the Broncos an additional $1 million in cap space because of a $2 million dead money charge.

Brewer has been the Broncos' long-snapper since he made the roster as an undrafted free agent in 2012. The Broncos just signed him to a four-year extension in 2015, and he had an $800,000 base salary for the coming season. The Broncos gain $615,000 worth of cap space with his release.