There was some big news in Broncos Country tonight. According to Brandon Spano, the Broncos made the decision take advantage of a rule in 2012 allowing teams to roll over any available cap space from 2011 into 2012.
Just got off the phone with Broncos official who has confirmed that the 27 million in last years cap space has been rolled over to 2012— Brandon Spano Show (@BrandonSpano) February 28, 2012
What does that mean? For the Broncos, it means $27 million IN ADDITION to the $23 million they already have under the cap this off season. A whopping $50 MILLION in cap space. Of course, the big question remains - Will the Broncos be big-time spenders this off-season?
They have plenty of their own free agents to worry about - we've spent the past couple of week profiling them - so some of that money is staying right here. What about free agents that will officially become available on March 13? That's the $50 million question.
The Broncos have made a point all off-season of talking about how they spent to "98% of their cash budget" in 2011. That means, like most teams in the NFL, the salary cap, and the cash budget are two very different things. We spoke during the lockout about why it was much more important to the players that they seek an increase in the SALARY FLOOR, not the salary cap, since most teams didn't spend to the cap anyway.
The important number for the Broncos - and for us fans who are hoping they can further improve a roster that led the team back to the NFL Playoffs - isn't how much cap space the team has but what their cash budget for 2012 will be.
Of course, just the fact that the Broncos decided to roll the money over tells us that they plan on dipping into the $27 million, at least somewhat. Flexibility is king and the Broncos have plenty of it. Perhaps, however, the fact that the NFL's Salary Cap number is nothing more that a mythical beast - much Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster - is reason why this news didn't make a bigger splash. I have a pretty big salary cap myself, but that doesn't mean my wife will allow me to 'spend to the cap'
Will Pat Bowlen allow John Elway and Brian Xanders to make a significant move in free agency? Should the Broncos take that chance? We have the next two weeks to try and decide for ourselves before the real fun begins.