ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos waived Perrish Cox on Saturday, cutting ties with the cornerback who's facing a sexual assault trial later this year.
Broncos general manager Brian Xanders indicated it was Cox's on-field performance, not his legal issues, that led to his departure.
"Everybody coming out of that lockout, it's their job to create their role," Xanders said. "No roster spot is safe. His was based on the four preseason games, the five weeks of training camp. It's unfortunate to make a cut like that when he'd started for you before, but the coaches talked to him about what he needs to improve on for his career. It's unfortunate we let a draft pick go like that."
Cox's agent, Jordan Woy, tweeted Saturday that "any teams looking for a good, young CB should jump. Good starts under his belt."
Cox started nine times as a rookie last year and was the backup to right cornerback Andre' Goodman this summer.
Despite struggling early in camp covering the slot receiver, Cox came on strong over the last couple of weeks, and his roster spot seemed secure after second-year pro Syd'Quan Thompson was lost for the season with a torn Achilles' tendon in Thursday night's preseason finale at Arizona.
Instead, Cox was among two dozen players cut by the Broncos, who placed three others on season-ending injured reserve, including Thompson.
Several Broncos players are expected to testify in Cox's trial, which is scheduled for later this year.
Cox faces one count of sexual assault against a victim who was physically helpless and one count of sexual assault against a victim who was incapable of determining the nature of the conduct. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on $50,000 bail.
If convicted, he could face two years to life in prison.
Cox, a former Oklahoma State standout who was selected in the fifth round last year, expressed confidence several days ago that he would make the team despite his legal issues.
Another notable second-year pro was cut by the Broncos. Defensive back Kyle McCarthy had a spectacular camp coming off major knee surgery, but he didn't play well in the preseason finale and was beaten out by Darcel McBath.
Some players who made it might be gone by Sunday to make room for players claimed off waivers from other teams.
Because of their franchise-worst 4-12 season last year, the Broncos own the second waiver-wire claim behind the Carolina Panthers, who own first dibs on waived players with less than four years' experience in the NFL.
The Broncos, in need of backup linemen and hoping to add depth to both their offensive and defensive backfields, have scouted 900 players they expected to become available.
"We're going to look at everybody," Xanders said. "We're going to look at everybody on the waiver wire. We're excited about that process today. We've been at it for three or four weeks now, and today's the day when you get to realize who's out there."
The Broncos can establish a practice squad of up to eight players Sunday and would like to bring back quarterback Adam Weber, whom they waived Saturday.
The biggest surprise of the day for Denver was wide receiver Demaryius Thomas making the 53-man roster and not going on the physically unable to perform list as expected. He missed all of the offseason after tearing an Achilles' while working out on his own in Atlanta in the spring.
"He's cleared to practice. He's ready to go," Xanders said. "He did a great job rehabbing during the lockout, then he came in and had a great five weeks with us out on the field. The doctors allowed him to work more routes and more explosion exercises."
Also on the 53-man roster is defensive tackle Ty Warren, who's recovering from triceps surgery and out at least until November.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press