The Denver Broncos made a surprise move on May 23 by releasing longtime placekicker Brandon McManus. Now, the team may have found a new kicker who is expected to at least compete for the Broncos’ vacant special teams spot.
Fry graduated from South Carolina in 2017 as the then-Gamecocks’ all-time leading scorer but did not immediately receive a shot in the NFL. Instead, Fry’s professional career began as an undrafted free agent.
He initially spent eight weeks with the Orlando Apollos of the now-defunct Alliance of American Football in 2019. After the AAF dissolved, he got his shot in the NFL.
According to CBS Sports’ Tyler Sullivan, Fry had stints with the Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2019-20 before eventually finding his feet on a 53-man roster.
Fry’s first opportunity to kick in an NFL regular-season game was 2020, when he made a 23-yard field goal in his lone appearance with the Atlanta Falcons.
A year later, Fry played a game each for the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs. During that span, he went 4-for-5 on field goal attempts (a 44-yard field goal was his longest make).
Fry’s most recent NFL involvement was with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who released him just before the start of the 2022 season due to injury. Ironically, McManus joined the Jaguars on May 25 following his release from Denver.
Klis tweeted that the Broncos waived running back Tyriek McAllister just after Fry’s signing on May 31. The move was made to free up space for Fry on the Broncos’ roster.
What Led to Elliott Fry Signing in Denver?
New Broncos head coach Sean Payton noted that McManus’ release was a “best interest” move. After McManus left, the Broncos went to work to find a replacement quickly.
Fry first arrived in Denver on May 24 for an initial tryout during organized team activities. The 28-year-old was joined by his South Carolina successor, Parker White, as well as NFL veteran Brett Maher for the workout sessions.
Clearly, Fry did well enough for the Broncos to sign him exactly one week later. What’s interesting, however, is that the Broncos did not bring in any other veterans to compete — especially since Mason Crosby and Robbie Gould (among others) are still free agents.
DenverSports.com’s Andrew Mason tweeted on May 31 that despite Fry signing with the Broncos, his job isn’t necessarily safe.
“Even if the Broncos don’t sign another kicker, Elliott Fry will have competition: literally every other kicker still on the market or who is currently with a team but ends up being expendable after losing a competition,” Mason said. “That’s how the Broncos got Brandon McManus in 2014.”
More Details Regarding Brandon McManus’ Release
As Payton alluded to with the “best interest” decision to release McManus, money likely played a significant role.
After leaving Denver, it didn’t take long for McManus to find a new NFL home in Jacksonville. The eight-year veteran actually took a pay cut, inking a one-year deal worth $2.35 million with the Jaguars, according to The 33rd Team’s Ari Meirov.
But moving to a new team doesn’t change the way McManus feels about Denver. He tweeted that he bought a full-page ad from the May 28 edition of The Denver Post to pen a letter thanking Broncos fans, teammates, coaches and personnel he encountered since 2014.
Moving on from its last Super Bowl 50 player might be a difficult pill to swallow for Broncos fans, but Payton has made his special teams intentions known just a short time into his Denver tenure.