Good morning, Broncos Country!
The prevailing thought was that John Elway was saving his salary cap space for Tony Romo.
After the initial wave of moves in free agency a month ago, the Denver Broncos had around $20 million in cap space. Once Elway paid back loans from 2011 and ‘12 that totaled $4.5 million, it dropped to $16 million. The collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFLPA allowed teams to loan up to specific amounts that were due this year.
As it stands, Elway and the Broncos are still at $16 million in cap space. When you add the NFL Draft and rookie contracts, it drops to about $14 million. In 2016, the effective cap cost was around $1.5 million, so it's safe to presume the same will happen in 2017. And now that Romo is retired and moved to the broadcast booth for CBS, that money will not go to him (thanks, John Madden).
So what will Elway do with that extra space?
The Denver Broncos are not done at left tackle. https://t.co/QhZQ1tZEnt— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) March 28, 2017
Most would prefer a left tackle since Denver still doesn’t have one, but a limited market has just about dried up save for King Dunlap and Ryan Clady. Some have thrown out a trade, but as Adam Malnati and I said on the latest Mile High Report Radio Podcast, there isn’t much of a trade market either. At this point with the moves the Cleveland Browns have made, especially on the offensive line, Joe Thomas seems like a far-fetched fantasy.
The other left tackle people throw out is Joe Staley with the San Francisco 49ers. That seems like the most realistic, but how receptive John Lynch would be to that move is a big question. And what would Elway have to deal to get Staley?
The other name I’ve seen is Jason Peters with the Philadelphia Eagles. There are two potholes with that, Peters’ age and his cap hit. He’s 35 and carries a $10.4 million hit when he's traded. As the Over the Cap points out, when a trade happens, any guaranteed money become the liability of the new team. Before a trade happens a restructure of the contract would probably have to happen. What makes this interesting is the Eagles are strapped for cap space and a Peters trade would save them $9.7 million. This Philly Voice story said a trade could come to fruition for a second- or even third-round pick. At this point, that's the most realistic option at left tackle for the Broncos.
Unless a move for Peters or Staley happens, Denver’s extra money more than likely won’t go to a left tackle. So at this point it’s a crap shoot. A veteran running back won’t happen given how deep the draft class is and the likelihood the Broncos add one in the early rounds.
@IanStClair 2018/19 could very easily be why. Cap'll be tight enough then already. Elway could call it good 4 now to make that easier later— Taylor Kothe (@TaylorKothe) March 27, 2017
As MHR community member Taylor Kothe mentioned to me a few weeks back, the most logical avenue for what Elway does with the $10 million extra in cap space is hold onto it.
The closer we get to the draft, the more in focus this will become. At this point, I agree with Taylor that Elway and the Broncos save this extra money for next season.
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