Sean Payton Speaks Out on Why Broncos Cut Brandon McManus

Sean Payton Broncos

Getty Denver Broncos HC Sean Payton speaking to the media at the NFL Combine.

As the Denver Broncos continue their offseason workouts, head coach Sean Payton got up and spoke to the media and mentioned that he’s restricting the media from tweeting during practice. Payton also gave an update as to why the team released kicker, Brandon McManus.

“Ultimately, you’re constantly looking at what’s the best interest for your team. A lot of times money and what your musts are come into it.” Payton added, “You guys know this better than anyone, the transactions continue here from now until training camp and there may be a player or two, we’re still looking to sign. So, we factored a lot of that in and then we made that decision.”

The 31-year-old was set to make $3.75 million this year, which would have ranked him tied for eighth among NFL kickers.

“A source said the Broncos did not offer McManus a pay cut prior to his release,” per Mike Klis of 9News.

McManus spent nine seasons with the Broncos and ranks second all-time behind on Jason Elam in field goals made with 223. Making 81.4 percent of his field goals, McManus ranks in the top-five on field goal percentage in Broncos history.

In fact, no other Broncos kicker has made more field goals from 50 yards or further than the former Temple Owl.

On May 24, the Broncos held tryouts for three kickers, Brett Maher, Elliott Fry, and Parker White.

McManus Recently Struggled

After being a reliable kicker for the Broncos, McManus started to struggle in 2020.

Entering that season, McManus missed just three extra points in his entire career. In 2020, he missed three. McManus also missed six field goal attempts including five from beyond 50 yards.

In 2021, McManus missed another total of six total kicks which was an improvement after the 2020 season.

Last season, the Super Bowl champion had the worst kicking season of his career. Missing a total of 10 kicks in 2022, McManus missed two extra points and eight field goals including the 64-yarder against the Seattle Seahawks to open the season.

It’s worth noting that McManus did have a new holder in Corliss Waitman after having punter Sam Martin hold for two seasons. During the year there were multiple times in which Waitman didn’t place the ball correctly for McManus which caused misses and blocked kicks.

McManus was Clutch During the Super Bowl Run

In 2014, the Broncos moved on from Matt Prater as their franchise kicker after being suspended for four games. McManus became the starter, but struggled by missing four field goals in 11 games.

Denver would then release McManus and sign Connor Barth to be the replacement. After clearing waivers, the Broncos re-signed McManus back to the active roster and used him only as the kickoff specialist.

McManus would then beat out Barth in training camp becoming the leas guy heading into what would soon be a Super Bowl winning season for the Broncos.

In 2015, McManus missed five field goals during the regular season, but had a success rate of 85.7 percent. With there being a little bit of concern heading into the playoffs on special teams and the offense, Denver needed to find points anyway they could.

In the divisional round of the playoffs against the Pittsburgh Steelers, McManus attempted five field goals, because the offense couldn’t punch it into the endzone, and he made all five attempts.

The next game was against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship and once again McManus remained perfect making both of his attempts along with his two extra points.

In Super Bowl 50, McManus would attempt three field goals and he would once again make all three including his one extra point kick late in the game. For a while in that game, there was a real chance that McManus could’ve been named Super Bowl MVP if Von Miller didn’t have a legendary game against Cam Newton.