Lost amid all of the Antonio Brown madness was news that the Broncos have created 13.6 million in cap room by restructuring Joe Flacco’s contract.
The #Broncos did a simple restructure on QB Joe Flacco’s contract, converting $17 million of his base salary into a signing bonus and adding two voidable years to clear $13.6M in 2019 cap space. Still due $20.25M in 2020 and $24.25M in 2021.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 7, 2019
Joe Flacco’s 2019 cap number is now $4.9 million, according to OvertheCap.
The timing of the move creates a level of intrigue. It’s fair to wonder if John Elway is now looking to enter into the trade market for someone like Washington’s disgruntled left tackle Trent Williams.
Could be 71 reasons for this https://t.co/9uwO22vowQ— Duke Manyweather (@BigDuke50) September 7, 2019
More likely is it creates the front office operating space for 2019. This may give them a little room to extend a player like Justin Simmons or Shelby Harris.
The Broncos converting Flacco salary to bonus provides them the ability to get some other deals/extensions done with guys in contract years. (Shelby Harris, Gotsis, Simmons, Parks, etc.).— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) September 7, 2019
It also looks like a vote of confidence in Flacco. Back when the Broncos acquired him from the Baltimore Ravens last spring reports out of Denver indicated how Elway had no plans to adjust Flacco’s deal. Now after seeing him through an entire preseason in the Rich Scangarello offense, Elway changed his mind.
It’s notable that Over the Cap’s Nick Korte does not believe this prevents Elway from cutting bait if Flacco does not deliver in 2019, however.
Thanks to carryover, I would not get too wrapped up about the potential creation of dead money should Flacco be a one year rental. The Broncos had to take $18M in a cap hit on him for his 2019 services in some way, those cap dollars don't necessarily have to be in 2019.— Nick Korte (@nickkorte) September 7, 2019
What this means is that the Broncos are willing to eat the cap hit they’ll have to pay for Flacco’s 2019 later when they have more cap room. At present the Broncos are slated to have between $54 million and $69.35 million in cap room next year.
If the bottom falls out and Denver moved on from Flacco after this year, he carries a $13.6 million dead cap hit in 2020 according to Spotrac. If he is not cut, he will count for $23,650,000 against the 2020 cap.
In 2021 Flacco will count for $27,650,000 million against the cap, and it would cost the Broncos $10.2 million to cut him.
On the surface, the move also seems to indicate the Broncos coaching staff recognizes Drew Lock is nowhere near ready to play once he’s healthy in 2019.
An anticipated salary-cap bump from the new CBA and expected new TV/streaming rights deals for 2021/2022 and beyond helps make it palatable to kick a can down the road to create more space and flexibility now. https://t.co/GFoSoiDHlK— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) September 7, 2019
This story will be updated as we learn more details.