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Starting Money Along The Broncos Defensive Line

In my previous post, I sorted the Salaries for the Offensive Line not only for the Denver Broncos, but as they compared to the rest of the NFL. Today we will look at the Defensive Line investment for each team and see where the buck stops. The Broncos front foursome had Robert Ayers, Brodrick Bunkley, Marcus Thomas and Elvis Dumervil starting and we all know those two middlemen need to be paid or replaced. Once again, please keep in mind that these are mostly the Base Salary figures. However some bonuses are included because of the known contract numbers and how they were stated from the research sites (Rotoworld, Spotrac and Yahoo). I separated the team that used the 3-4 personnel look from those that use the 4-3 and since it is pertinent, I broke down our opponents in the AFC West for this exercise too.

Teams that use the 4-3 defense (Numerical figures are expressed in Millions)

Team 2011 2012 Free Agents
Oakland Raiders $21.38 $14.56
Atlanta Falcons $17.90 $10.60 John Abraham
Minnesota Vikings $17.42 $21.55
Denver Broncos $16.52 $14.96 Brodrick Bunkley, Marcus Thomas
Indianapolis Colts $15.56 $15.56 Robert Mathis
Chicago Bears $14.52 $10.12 Israel Idonije
Detroit Lions $13.42 $19.20 Cliff Avril
Philadelphia Eagles $10.18 $17.75
New York Giants $9.58 $10.52
Seattle Seahawks $9.36 $10 Red Bryant
St. Louis Rams $8.32 $9.63
Cincinnati Bengals $7.94 $8.43
New Orleans Saints $7.63 $7.46 Aubrayo Franklin
Carolina Panthers $4.78 $5.70 Sione Fua's salary is missing for both years
Cleveland Browns $4.10 $9.24
Tampa Bay Buccaneers $2.66 $8.49
Tennessee Titans $1.85 $1.78 Jason Jones
New England Patriots $1.58 $4.99 Kyle Love (ERFA) Mark Anderson (UFA)
Jacksonville Jaguars $1.28 $1.78 Leger Douzable (RFA) Jeremy Mincey (UFA)

We will look at the 3-4 Teams in their own chart since there is a personnel difference.

Team 2011 2012 Free Agents
Miami Dolphins $17.41 $3.73 Paul Soliai, Kendall Langford
San Francisco 49ers $12.80 $13.68
Houston Texans $10.18 $10.56
Washington Redskins $7.62 $6.65 Adam Carriker
Pittsburgh Steelers $7.54 $8.32
Kansas City Chiefs $7.12 $4.69 Kelly Gregg
Dallas Cowboys $5.62 $8.28
Baltimore Ravens $4.90 $3.40 Cory Redding
Arizona Cardinals $4.86 $5.35 Calais Campbell
Buffalo Bills $4.58 $5.39
Green Bay Packers $4.24 $7.22
New York Jets $3.91 $2.65 Sione Pouha
San Diego Chargers $1.50 $1.06 Antonio Garay

Note: The Buffalo Bills have announced a switch to the 4-3 in 2012. So they will need a DT to play along side Marcell Dareus.

The AFC West breaks down like this:

San Diego Chargers -

  • NT Antonio Garay (2011:$640K, 2012:UFA)
  • DE Corey Liuget (2011: $375K, 2012: $490K)
  • DE Vaughn Martin (2011: $480K, 2012: $565K)
With as much money as they've spent on the protection of Philip Rivers ($17.74M), the Chargers meager budget on the Defensive Line could be part of the reason they were ranked 22nd in points against (23.6) and 20th in Rush Defense (122.2) in 2011. UFA Antonio Garay had 57 Tackles and 2.5 Sacks from the Nose Tackle position and should get a significant raise. Upon closer inspection, the Chargers also lost Luis Castillo to Injured Reserve in 2011. Castillo will make $3.9 million (+ $1 million roster bonus) in 2012. That raises the expense figure from $1.06M to $5.96M and puts them up near the middle of the spending curve. They also picked up Everette Brown who will make $615K next season.

Kansas City Chiefs -

  • NT Kelly Gregg (2011:$3.5M, 2012:UFA)
  • DE Tyson Jackson (2011:$1.79M, 2012:$2.505M)
  • DE Glenn Dorsey (2011:$1,582,250, 2012:$2.181M)
The Chiefs biggest problem is putting points on the scoreboard, but they do need to address their Rush Defense as it was the 26th ranked unit in the league. Having SS Eric Berry back will make a difference, but their top priority on Defense will be re-signing CB Brandon Carr. Nose Tackle Kelly Gregg has seen better days at 35, so the Chiefs could choose see what they have in 1st year NT Jerrell Powe (6-2, 331). Versatile 7th year vet Amon Gordon could be brought back as well.

Oakland Raiders -

  • DT Richard Seymour (2011:$15M, 2012:$7.5M)
  • DT Tommy Kelly (2011:$5.5M, 2012:$6M
  • DE Lamarr Houston (2011:$405K, 2012:$490K)
  • DE Matt Shaughnessy (2011:$480K, 2012:$565K)
The Raiders have the market cornered on the Defensive Line salary expenditures, but that will drop down 5 or 6 spots with Richard Seymour's front-loaded contract. Still, the raiders spent far too much on their Linemen, considering they were 29th in Total Yards and Points Against, 27th defending the Pass and the Run and 15th in the league in Sacks. I will stick with my original premise in the O-Line post:
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.

Denver Broncos -

  • DE Robert Ayers (2011: $880K, 2012: $965K)
  • DT Brodrick Bunkley (2011:$635K, 2012:UFA)
  • DT Marcus Thomas (2011:$1M, 2012:UFA)
  • DE Elvis Dumervil (2011:$14M, 2012:$14M)

As for the Broncos, they are in the upper eschelon of Salary Expenditures for the Defensive Line due to Elvis Dumervil's $14M price tag. Robert Ayers balances that out for now, but the team still must add the Salaries of two Defensive Tackles and bringing back Bunkley and Thomas is going to cost more than the combined $1.635M they earned in 2011. I expect Denver to have one of the top 2 or 3 expenses in the league for their 2012 D-Line (The Minnesota Vikings are at $21.55M).

That's all I have for this topic. I will resume again next week and we will see how many positions can be covered.