"I talked to (head coach) Mike (Shanahan) last week and he basically gave me two options," said the 31-year-old Cadrez. "He said I could take a pay cut and stay with the team or they could release me and I could become a free agent.
"They didn't want to pay me as much as they were going to have to just to be a backup. I wasn't surprised that they released me, I was just surprised by the timing. I thought they would've done it sooner."
While he is now officially an ex-Bronco, he said he holds no ill feelings toward his former team and would still consider Denver an option.
"I have nothing bad to say about Denver. I know that all this is just part of the business. I don't want to close the door to the team," said Cadrez, who played at Central Union High School in El Centro and at the University of Houston. "But I think it's time to move on and see if there's any greener pastures."
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Cadrez played in all 16 games last year (three starts) and had 14 tackles (seven solo) and one pass breakup. For his career, he has played in 139 games (40 starts) with 291 tackles (198 solo), 13 sacks, two interceptions, eight pass breakups, six forced fumbles and five recovered fumbles. He has played in eight post-season games (three starts) with 17 stops (nine solo) and one pass breakup. He started at middle linebacker for Denver in Super Bowl XXXIII and led the team with eight tackles.
His best game with the Broncos was in a Monday-night affair against the Oakland Raiders in November 1999. He finished with a team-high 11 tackles, a career-high three sacks, a pass defensed and a fumble recovery, which earned him AFC defensive player of the week honors.
During the 2000 season, though, when he had been relegated to back-up duties, he said he seriously contemplated retirement at the end of the season.
"I had come off two really good years and I was in my ninth season and I only started three games. I pretty much just took a back-seat role and that weighed on me," said Cadrez. "But at the end of the season I made up my mind that I didn't want to retire. I was ready to keep on playing and further my career. I want to go and roll the dice. I still want to play about two or three more years."
While he will more than likely suit up for another team next year, he said wherever he lands will have to be a place with a front office similar to Denver's.
"Denver is a classy organization, as far as how they run the team and treat the players. It is all first-class," said Cadrez, who began his NFL career playing for dismal New York Jet teams in the early 1990s. "Wherever I go, I want to go to a team that's a first-class organization, something like the Broncos."
Money will play into Cadrez's decision-making. According to a report on ESPN.com, Cadrez was scheduled to make $1.2 million this year with the Broncos.
"I'm pretty specific about where I want to go. And the money is going to weigh in as a big factor," said Cadrez. "I want to go somewhere where I'll be comfortable. At the same time I want to be able to take care of my family. My family is the most important thing right now."
Cadrez will visit two teams this week and could possibly have a deal done by the end of the week. But he said he will not rush the decision.
"Whatever happens, happens. And it's going to be my decision."