With the CBA soon to be finished (at least we hope....), the Broncos media has started turning its attention to free agency. Last week, the Denver Post wrote a piece that said the Broncos were going to be about 9 million dollars over the expected cap (120 million).
Now, before I go on, let me just say that I am less then sure the Denver Post is correct. Rodney did some nice investigating and discovered the truth about the cap here.
Regardless of what our starting cap is going to be, we are still going to have to cut salaries, especially if we go after big free agents like DeAngelo Williams and Brandon Mebane. So today, we look at the Broncos with the highest salaries and who could be cut in result. Conrad did a post about this the other day. I am going to go into a little more detail.
Highest Salaries in 2011 per Rotoworld.com. It's hard to nail exact numbers since not all financial details are released, but the rough estimates are enough to be able to guess at what could happen. Let's examine the salaries over 1 million dollars from highest to lowest.
Elvis Dumervil- 14 million
Remember how great this deal was because we were getting a real bargain in 2011 giving little money to Doom. Well, that turned out to be a moot point since he got injured and missed the whole year. Now, he returns and with the highest salary. Still, no chance we cut or restructure the contract.
Champ Bailey - 11 million
We just gave him his contract. No need to talk about it.
Kyle Orton- 8.8 million
If Tebow is deemed the starter, there is no way we keep Orton as a backup. Not with an 8 million dollar salary. We can trade Orton and that will cut the 3rd biggest salary on the roster from our cap. Now, if we trade Orton for a player, we will obviously be taking on cap so keep that in mind.
Chris Kuper- 7 million
I was surprised to see Chris Kuper's 2011 salary was so high. 7 million is awful lot of money to pay to a guard who has never made the pro bowl. However, I found out from Rodney that the reason his salary is so high is because he didn't receive a bonus last year. After this year, his salary goes down to 3.5 in 2012 so that explains the high price this year. The deal only has 13 million guaranteed so it would be interesting if we cut him, resign Ryan Harris and plugged Orlando Franklin in at guard.
Brian Dawkins- 6 million (incentives not included)
Dawkins has a base salary of 6 million, but the Denver Post reports its at 7 million likely due to incentives. Dawkins is the heart of our defense and a great leader. However, he simply is not worth 7 million dollars at his current skill level. He could be a cap casualty and be cut, but I think he might take a pay cut. I have no idea what it would be reduced to, but 2-4 million with incentives sounds reasonable.
DJ Wiliams- 4.9 million (incentives not included)
The Post has DJ's salary at about 6.6 million likely with incentives. It's a semi-steep price, but he is our best linebacker on our roster. We won't cut him, trade him or restructure, this year at least.
Andre Goodman- 2.8 million (incentives not included)
The Post has Goodmans salary at about 4 million likely with incentives. Goodman missed a big chunk of 2010 and was subpar when he was playing due to not being totally healthy. It is a possibility we release or restructure his contract, but there is uncertainty with Perrish Cox and we would have to sign another corner anyway if we released Goodman. We will probably just keep him. When he was healthy in 2009, he was a very good player for us.
Renaldo Hill- 2.4 million
Hill likely faces an up hill battle to remain on the battle. With so many safeties on the roster, Hill is on the wrong side of 30 and he has a 2.4 million dollar salary. With recently drafted safeties Rahim Moore, Quinton Carter and 2009 draftees Darcel McBath and David Bruton, I don't see how we keep Hill and his contract. Cut or trade is likely.
Jabar Gaffney- 2.4 million
Gaffney has been a very good player for us. He had 875 receiving yards last year and with DeMayrius Thomas hurt once again, I don't see us getting rid of Gaffney.
Correll Buckhalter- 1.9 million
Buckhalter's play dropped off immensely last year. He is still a decent 3rd down back who can block better then Moreno, but I don't see him sticking on the roster. Denver will pursue a free agent and Buck will likely get the boot.
Mario Haggan- 1.9 million
I didn't know that Haggan was due this much. Quite frankly, I don't see him as a starter and 1.9 million for a backup DE/OLB is kind of steep, but he is a good locker room guy and a ST stud. Who knows what will happen to him. If things are tight, we will cut him. If we have the money, I think we keep him.
Tim Tebow- 1.6 million (incentives not included)
This is without incentives. With incentives, the amount is 3.1 million according to the Post. If Tim is the starter, this is a bargain. If he is a backup, he's a well paid backup. No chance we cut him/trade him.
Demayrius Thomas- 1.6 million (incentives not included)
With incentives, this is around 3 million but with DeMaryius likely to miss a significant amount of time, I feel confident saying he likely won't reach those incentives. Is it possible we trade him? He's totally unproven and he's hurt, but I could see us trading him if we were offered good value. Not likely, in fact highly unlikely, but possible.
Kevin Vickerson- 1.3 million
We just resigned Big Vick. He's staying.
Brandon Lloyd- 1.3 million
Ryan Clady- 1.1 million (incentives not included)
Knowshon Moreno- 1 million (incentives not included)
If he is diminished to a 3rd down role, his salary likely stays at 1 million. He's probably going to stay here, but if someone were to offer us something of value in return, I could see us trading him.
In total, 17 players are going to at least be making 1 million dollars in 2011 and most of them are going to make much more. This makes it semi easy to get us under the cap. I think the top 5 ways we get under the cap are:
1. Trade Kyle Orton
2. Restructure/Cut Dawkins
3. Cut/Trade Renaldo Hill
4. Cut Correll Buckhalter
5. Cut/Trade Mario Haggan
What players do you think will get released/cut/traded?