It’s been rumored that due to some player performances clauses in 2012 (Woodyard and others) Broncos will have around 14,5 M free on 2013 salary cap to spend in the offseason.
This could be just not enough to complete the team in FA leaving around 4 M for the draft (drafted players signing includes signing bonus).
My scenario includes cutting a couple of players, “restructuring” DJ Williams and Joe Mays salary and trust Denver FO when they says (they repeated it for the past 2 years) that they envision the team to be built through the Draft, no FA. On top of it, Denver FO also looked always interested in being one of those teams that get compensatory picks the next year for losing player in FA.
Resting 4 M from it and Denver will remain with a thin 1 M to spend in FA.
What Denver FO could do with this thin pillow?
Cut a couple of players that could be substituted on the roster by practice squads or rookies (I don’t like to give names here….but there are a WR and an OC/OG under contract for 2013 that didn’t see the field that much or at all in 2012). In this case the Broncos would free around 1,5M.
“Restructuring” DJ Williams contract (up in the air in 2014 anyhow) and Joe Mays (up in the air in 2015): Williams is in pace to a 6M salary, how much Denver could rework? How much Denver likes Mays and how much the FO can rework out of his contract? Why these movements are not done yet? Let’s assume that at least 3M more could be added to the money to spend in FA.
Now the Broncos are 5,5 M under the salary cap for 2013.
Re-sign few of his own FAs and keep a couple of millions to add, later in the summer, some veteran players if after OTAs the team understands that there is a need.
And off course, draft well.
So which players from the own free agents would be resigned?
DT Unrein is an ERFA and his signing will count approximately 0,5M against the cap.
CB Carter is the other ERFA which salary will count the same 0,5M against the cap.
P Colquitt would be the only 2013 Broncos RFA which play in 2012 is worth re-signing even if the cost will be slightly more than 1M.
Here we go with only 3,5M to spend.
Which position needs another experienced body the most, taking a look at the roster?
I think it’s easy, is Defensive Tackle.
Can Denver afford to pay a substantial salary raise to Vickerson? No. Should Vickerson seek for his last good payday? Absolutely and it’s the reason why I highly doubt he’ll be back as a Bronco (assuming that Denver won’t free up more cap space).
So what if the Broncos move Wolfe to the Undertackle position (that I supposed, when drafted, was gonna be his position on this team)? Well, I think he could be really good at that, but still the team will be looking like this in the depth chart:
Do we really think that this will be enough?
So, let’s assume that the Broncos FO will draft a DT in one of the first three rounds of the 2013 Draft (because the probability to identify a mid-round prospect that would immediately starts and plays solid pro football from week 1, is, just per say, really low). Which kind of DT you think the Broncos will need most, a nose tackle a la Jesse Williams (Alabama) or an inside rusher a la Sheldon Richardson?
As much as I would love the Broncos to move up in the Draft and grab Richardson (that between all the prospects I have already watched videos, is one of the two I really liked) I guess that being the depth chart the one I forecasted, a plug-in nose tackle it’s the most dire need; Justin Bannan play against the run in 2012 is being really under valuated, IMO.
So what about bringing him back for one more year? It will cost 1M in cap space.
So OK, I’m bringing back DT Bannan.
Now my cap space for FA is 2,5M, and I could draft the kind of DT I really want, not the one that I need.
I’d bring this cap space through the summer to be able to sign one or two veteran players if I see the need after OTAs or during training camp (like Denver did in 2012 with Brooking and Leonhard), so I really can’t sign any other FA in March.
What you think about it, you would be satisfied, as fans, if the Broncos FO would really go this path?