Ive seen many posts lately where everyone is second guessing the Broncos ability to spend money on key free agents this offseason. Before we start to play "GM for a Day" and assume the Broncos cant afford to sign the likes of Owen Daniels or Mercedes Lewis or think that DeAngelo Williams or Chad Greenway is too expensive, lets first take a look at the Broncos financials.
According to Forbes the Denver Broncos were the 10th most valuable team in the NFL last season. While NFL teams dont publish their finances publicly, Forbes typically does a good job evaluating a franchises net worth.
The Top Ten Teams According to Forbes:
- Dallas Cowboys
- Washington Redskins
- New England Patriots
- New York Giants
- Houston Texans
- New York Jets
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Baltimore Ravens
- Chicago Bears
- Denver Broncos
Assuming that Forbes magazine is accurate, the Broncos have plenty of money to spend this offseason. Why? The Broncos were the in the bottom 10 in payroll.
The Bottom Ten Teams in Payroll:
|NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers Team Salaries||$ 104,329,311|
|NFL Seattle Seahawks Team Salaries||$ 102,985,710|
|NFL Atlanta Falcons Team Salaries||$ 96,391,525|
|NFL Detroit Lions Team Salaries||$ 95,827,117|
|NFL Denver Broncos Team Salaries||$ 95,599,778|
|NFL Green Bay Packers Team Salaries||$ 94,018,300|
|NFL Indianapolis Colts Team Salaries||$ 93,373,915|
|NFL New England Patriots Team Salaries||$ 92,734,120|
|NFL Baltimore Ravens Team Salaries||$ 90,713,965|
|NFL Kansas City Chiefs Team Salaries||$ 83,623,776|
The Broncos Payroll was the 6th lowest in the NFL. This is significant not only because we have money to spend but because this also includes the salaries of Elvis, Champ, two high paid QBs (Tebow and Orton) and DJ Williams (the second highest paid player on the defense). That means the core of the Broncos is already accounted for. In the coming years the Broncos will likely have to open up the checkbook for Ryan Clady and Brandon Lloyd will get a bump in pay but other than that, there is plenty of room to add key free agents.
Pat Bowlen's recent letter to season ticket holders guaranteed the Broncos will return to their winning ways. If he is going to keep his promise, he is going to have to start opening up the bank account. If the Broncos want to return to winning they are going to have to find a balance between finding quality players thru the draft and spend money on quality free agents. If you want to look at teams that made quick turnarounds, look no further to a few teams playing in the Conference Championships this weekend. A few years ago the Chicago Bears the worst team in the NFC North, not named Detroit. After opening up the pocket book for Jay Cutler, Julius Peppers, Chestor Taylor and resigning Lance Briggs, they are now playing for a chance to get into the Super Bowl. Now look over at the AFC Championship. It was only a few years ago the Jets were so bad, they were looking for a new coach. After spending money on Jason Taylor, LT, a pro-bowl O-Line, Bart Scott, Derrell Revis and paying a rookie QB All Pro money, they are now a win away from their ultimate goal.
Lets assume that Bowlen is going to spend like he is a top 10 team. That would put his payroll around $125,000,000 (+/-) or equal to that of the Chicago Bears. With the Broncos currently around $95,000,000 that means they have around $30,000,000 to play with this off-season.
What does this mean? If Bowlen is truly committed to winning. He will do whatever it takes to sign key FA that will help the Broncos win now. Thus, an offseason that includes Chad Greenway at $5-$6MM/yr, DeAngelo WIlliams at $6MM/yr, Owen Daniels at $6-$7MM/yr, Nnamdi Asomugha at $12MM and Charles Johnson at $6MM/yr isnt that far fetched.
If the Cleveland Browns can have a payroll at $132,000,000 and not be in the top 10 in net worth, the Broncos can afford to go after whatever it takes to get back into the playoffs.
Lets hope Bowlen is telling the truth when he says he will return to our winning ways. Going after some instant contributors will go a long way in injecting excitement into the fan-base.