The Denver Broncos released veteran kicker Matt Prater on Friday after he came off a four-game suspension.
“Parting ways with Matt Prater — the longest-tenured player on our roster — was a very difficult football decision,” general manager John Elway said in a statement. “On behalf of our entire organization, I want to thank Matt for his seven seasons with the Broncos and wish him well going forward.”
Elway added on Twitter: “I want to thank Matt Prater for his many seasons w/the Broncos. He made a lot of big kicks for us & we wish him all the best in the future.”
Prater was suspended four games to open the season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy related to alcohol.
Brandon McManus, who was acquired from the New York Giants when Prater was suspended, keeps the job. He has hit all three of his field-goal attempts and is perfect on eight extra points.
“Brandon McManus has earned the opportunity to continue kicking for our team with how well he’s played to start the season,” Elway said. “He has a very strong leg and we have confidence in him on both field goals and kickoffs.”
Prater, 30, will count $4.1 million against Denver’s cap next season. He was scheduled to make $2.5 million this year, according to ESPN.
Prater has been one of the top kickers in the league, missing just one field goal last year and leading the league in touchbacks.
Prater appeared in 96 regular-season games for Denver from 2007-13, connecting on 141 of 170 (.829) field-goal attempts and 259 of 261 (.992) extra-point attempts for 682 total points. He registered 262 touchbacks on 497 kickoffs (.527) for the Broncos while posting eight special-teams tackles.
Signed by the Broncos from Miami’s practice squad on Dec. 19, 2007, Prater is in his eighth NFL season.