Now that the 2016 NFL Draft has concluded, the Denver Broncos are pretty much set on the roster side of things. We can now try to determine how much salary cap space they will have to lock down Von Miller with a long-term contract.
Jeff Legwold from ESPN calculated that the Broncos have just over $7M in cap space with the potential to convert another $9M with Demaryius Thomas' contract.
Given that the Broncos already have $14M committed to Von Miller via the franchise tag, John Elway should have plenty of room to get some deals done over the next few months. Exactly how much room, though, will be dependent on how much is needed to sign the rookie draft class.
Over The Cap has determined that the Broncos actually have $6,278,696 in cap space, so we'll just say give or take on Leggy's numbers above. I consider OTC to have the most reliable data on the subject of cap space, so I will use that number to determine how much will be left over once the rookie draft class is signed.
Rookie salary cap hits
Paxton Lynch, being the Broncos first round pick, will have the most significant impact on cap space with a projected hit of $1,722,965 with a projected contract totaling four years for $9,590,980 with a $5,091,860 signing bonus.
The Broncos will have their next three draft picks counted against their Top 51 as well. According to my estimations, anyway. The total cap hit for those other three players should be $1,873,184. That data comes from OTC's rookie pool projections. Then you take away the current bottom four from the number and we have a reasonably accurate state of the cap.
That means Von Miller's first year will need to be somewhat cap-friendly compared to later years as the most the Broncos could absorb in 2016 is around $18M in cap hits. That number comes from his $14M franchise tag and whatever salary cap space the Broncos have left over.
The good news for Broncos fans is that Elway does not have to use the 'nuclear option' of converting DT's base salary into a signing bonus, which would seriously impact the salary cap in future years.
Given how this year stacked up salary cap-wise, the Broncos came out about as well as one could hope in hindsight. They have yet to hamstring themselves to future years and could just bite the bullet in 2016 and start fresh in 2017.
Hopefully that is what Elway decides to do here. He's already through the worst of it anyway.