It appears the Denver Broncos are not quite in the salary cap hell that a lot of people think they are. Aside from the $8.9 million in cap space the Broncos could free up by cutting or trading Ryan Clady, they also have the option to convert Demaryius Thomas' $13 million base salary for 2016 into a signing bonus freeing up an additional $9.18 million in cap space to work with.
Yes, you just read that right. Field Yates from ESPN broke it down on Wednesday.
Among the easiest ways for Denver to create a pile of cap space -- up to $9.18 million, to be specific -- is by visiting the contract of star wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. When the team and Thomas agreed to a five-year deal last offseason, it included an automatic conversion clause that entitles Denver to convert any portion of Thomas’ $13M base salary in 2016 into a signing bonus, which would be prorated for cap purposes over the final four years of the deal.
If Denver were to reduce Thomas’ base salary down to the minimum of $760,000 for 2016, the team would create $9.18 million in cap space, a sum that could well be needed as it continues to explore a trade for quarterback Colin Kaepernick and also plans for activity such as signing draft picks and other free agents.
Obviously, this would create additional dead money down the road. It would, however, give the Broncos the ability to walk the contract number up for Kaepernick if that is indeed the guy that John Elway wants to lead this football team in 2016.
So, why haven't the Broncos done this yet?
Simple, there is no need to do that just yet. The Broncos are still under cap and have probably already determined they will be getting rid of Clady at some point. If they do not need an extra $9 million in cap space, then why create the extra dead money in future years?
For now, the Broncos are under the cap and have options. If the time comes, DT's contract could be Elway's ace in the hole that keeps the franchise in position to defend that Super Bowl title.