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The Broncos restructure Joe Flacco’s contract, creating $13.6 million in cap room

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Looks like Joe Flacco may be the Broncos quarterback for now and later.

NFL: Preseason-San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos
Joe Flacco now has guarantees through 2023.
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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

This story will be updated as we learn more details.