Sunday July 21st, 2013, is the Denver Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard's 27th birthday. The last twelve months have been good for Woodyard: the way the cards fell with DJ Williams, ultimately leading to a walk-off starting spot for Woodyard, his marriage to a beautiful lady and of course his breakout season.
Now the man, justifiably wants to be paid. Presumably before the 2013 season is wrapped up.
It makes sense on both sides to get a deal done, the Broncos finished 2012 with the second best defense in the NFL. It isn't looking like they got any worse this off season and that probably means that there will be teams looking to chip away at available players on that defense.
So a deal now, preemptively could be a bit cheaper than waiting until Woodyard doubles down and has an even better season than 2012.
Here is the issue, Woodyard is only one of 34 players currently on the Broncos roster that do not have contracts for next season.
Here is a look at players on the roster and their 2014 status:
UFA- Unrestricted Free Agent
ERFA- Exclusive Rights Free Agent
RFA- Restricted Free Agent
There are 11 starters on that list and a potential that some others could carve out a significant role this season.
The good news is Denver is currently only carrying over $500,000 in dead money into 2014, due to cutting Willis McGahee, but cutting a player like Knowshon Moreno, Joe Mays or Chris Kuper and that number could increase.
As it stands the Broncos salary cap is at $117,401,121 for 2014, that's factoring in the entire 90 man roster going into next week's training camp. Now the salary cap is expected to stay pretty flat through the 2014 season, before a possibly 6% increase in 2015, the salary cap could be approximately $123 million for 2014.
Not a lot of wiggle room here for the Broncos right now. With $117 million commitment to 2014 as it stands and a projected salary cap of $123 million for NFL teams in 2014, Denver faces some interesting decisions.