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Starting Money - The Broncos O-line Investment

My latest research project began with me wondering, just how much teams were spending at certain positions, specifically, the Denver Broncos. It started out as a primer for Free Agency spending, in order to present the Mockers a target area for their Free Agent wish lists. But I took it to the next level and created a Base Salary database for each starting position in the NFL. We are talking about a solid week's worth of gathering here too. The benefit will be to show you a break down of certain salary costs of each team for comparison. This first article takes a look at how much the Broncos spent on their five starting Offensive Linemen; Ryan Clady, Zane Beadles, J.D.Walton, Chris Kuper and Orlando Franklin in comparison to the other 31 teams in the league. Keep in mind that these are mostly the Base Salary figures, however some bonuses are included because of the known contract numbers.

I used Rotoworld, Spotrac and Yahoo to find every available salary, but some eluded me, making some figures incomplete. That said, I chose not to omit those teams because you will be able to see which teams are in the market for these positions. I have the figures for the 2011 season as well as the salary projections for 2012. Notice there are numbers in parentheses in some of the rows. Take for example the Tennessee Titans. In 2011, they had a total of $16.88 Million spent on their Line. However the (4 of 5) designates that those totals are only for four of the five linemen. In 2011, there were some numbers that I could not find, so take that into consideration. In 2012 though, the numbers that are missing, more often than not, show a Free Agent as one of the missing numbers. That team will need to resign a player or replace him. I can fill in certain situations for you if need be, but to list each one of them all right now would be a little much. This should give plenty you plenty of information to work with. However, since it is more relevant, I will break down our opponents in the AFC West.

Team 2011 2012
Tampa Bay Buccaneers $24.83M $23.6M (4 of 5)
San Diego Chargers $17.74M $5.07M (2 of 5)
Tennessee Titans $16.88M (4 of 5) $13.68M (3 of 5)
Carolina Panthers $15.99M $19.58M
Atlanta Falcons $15.5M $10.2M (4 of 5)
New York Giants $13.25M $13.53M (4 of 5)
Detroit Lions $12.69M $8.44M (4 of 5)
New York Jets $12.6M $18.1M
Cleveland Browns $11.75M $17.26M
Baltimore Ravens $11.63M $8.87M (3 of 5)
Washington Redskins $10.74M $13.97M (3 of 5)
Denver Broncos $10M $8.12M
Houston Texans $9.8M.(4 of 5) $8.28M (3 of 5)
Philadelphia Eagles $9.24M $11.7M (4 of 5)
Indianapolis Colts $8.99M $1.7M (3 of 5)
New Orleans Saints $8.93M $8.66M (4 of 5)
Seattle Seahawks $7.86M (4 of 5). $9.66M (4 of 5)
San Francisco 49ers $7.67M $6.56M (4 of 5)
Kansas City Chiefs $7.58M $3.62M (3 of 5)
Arizona Cardinals $7.5M (3 of 5) $13.6M (3 of 5)
New England Patriots $7.4M $8.14M (3 of 5)
Cincinnati Bengals $7.13M $4.3M (2 of 5)
Chicago Bears $6.97M $6.05M
St. Louis Rams $5.89M (4 of 5) $9.06M (4 of 5)
Miami Dolphins $5.63M (3 of 5) $3.73M (2 of 5)
Green Bay Packers $4.74M $2.59M (4 of 5)
Minnesota Vikings $4.69M (4 of 5) $10.17M
Jacksonville Jaguars $4.54M $5.48M (3 of 5)
Oakland Raiders $3.28M (3 of 5) $1M (2 of 5)
Dallas Cowboys $2.76M $9.15M
Pittsburgh Steelers $2.45M $1.13M (2 of 5)
Buffalo Bills $2.39M $2.72M (3 of 5)

The San Diego Chargers have the second highest set of blockers in the league at $17.74 Million. Apparently they place a high priority in the protection of Philip Rivers. Here are the listings I used and their 2011 and 2012 Salary status:

  • LT Brandyn Dombrowski (2011: $480K, 2012: RFA)
  • LG Kris Dielman (2011-2012: $4.5M)
  • C Nick Hardwick (2011: $3.675M, 2012: UFA)
  • RG Louis Vasquez (2011: $480K, 2012: $565K)
  • RT Jeromey Clary (2011: $8.6M, 2012: UFA)

The Chargers have a decision to make on their Center and Right Tackle positions this offseason. As a Restricted Free Agent, Dombrowski will surely be tendered and re-sign with the club. I won't speculate about Clary, but Hardwick is worth another contract.

The Kansas City Chiefs closer to the middle of the pack as far as spending goes, with a total of $7.5 Million. Here is their lineup:

  • LT Branden Albert (2011:$841,250, 2012:$1.03M)
  • LG Ryan Lilja (2011:$2M, 2012:$2.1M)
  • C Casey Wiegmann (2011:$2.5M, 2012:UFA)
  • RG Jon Asamoah (2011:$405K, 2012:$490K)
  • RT Barry Richardson (2011:$1.835M, 2012:UFA)

As you can see, the Chiefs have their starting Guards and Left Tackle under contract, but they have a decision to make on Barry Richardson. Former Bronco Casey Weigmann is very likely to retire, so they will be seeking his replacement, unless they can coax him into one last hurrah, which doesn't seem likely.

The Oakland Raiders have a low salary figure due to incomplete information. Here is what I found:

  • LT Jared Veldheer (2011:$405K, 2012:$490K)
  • LG Stefen Wisniewski (2011:$375K, 2012:$465K)
  • C Samson Satele (2012:UFA)
  • RG Cooper Carlisle (2011:$2.5M, 2012:UFA)
  • RT Khalif Barnes (2012:UFA)

Not many can ascertain what goes on in the minds of the Raiders brain-trust, but since they now have a new Boss, new General Manager and new Head coach, changes are sure to come Velheer and Wisniewski are locks, but the other three could be upgraded significantly.

The Broncos have the second youngest Offensive Line in the league and the team is relatively in good shape with their Salary allotment of $10 Million. The figure drops in 2012 because of Chris Kuper's contract was front loaded as you can see below. Ryan Clady will be up for a new deal as he is a Free Agent at the end of the 2012 season. I will expand on Clady later in the year. Other than that, this Unit is in a stable condition that will allow then to grow together.

  • LT Ryan Clady (2011: $1.105M, 2012: $2.55M)
  • LG Zane Beadles (2011:$405K, 2012:$490K)
  • C J.D. Walton (2011:$405K, 2012:$490K)
  • RG Chris Kuper (2011: $7M, 2012: $3.5M)
  • RT Orlando Franklin (2011-2012:$1,087,500)

I hope this was informative for you. I would like to do one on the Defensive Line and also evaluate the cost of each team's pass rush breakdown. There is time enough for that in the immediate future. Let me know if there are any other projects in this vein that you would like broken down and discussed.