## Broncos capology and roster considerations going into free agency, 2022 version

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This post contains basic arithmetic and some potentially educational stuff which some people may find boring and pedantic. As for the arithmetic, for the most part I will be rounding numbers to the nearest \$1000. My primary sources for the numbers and for contract information are OTC and Spotrac. 2022 veteran's minimum salaries are from the CBA of 2020.

Finding my starting point:

Currently OTC shows the Broncos with 51 players under contract, and \$23.539M in cap space. Spotrac shows 48 players under contract, and \$26.193M in cap space. So I set out to track down the discrepancy, and discovered the 3 player difference is 3 ERFA players: Brett Rypien, P.J. Locke, and Jonas Griffith. When I added together the appropriate ERFA tenders for each, and subtracted that sum from the \$26.193M Spotrac number, I ended up with \$23.507M. So I arbitrarily decided to use 51 players and \$23.5M in cap space as my starting point for math and counting.

The missing in action Essang Bassey:

I know for a fact the Broncos claimed Bassey off waivers a couple of days after the Broncos last game, but he doesn't show up on the roster listings for either OTC or Spotrac. OTC does list him as being a RFA. Spotrac doesn't list him at all. Well, he can't be a RFA because he's only been in the NFL for 2 years, so he's almost certainly been signed to a future contract or ERFA tender for a veteran's minimum salary of \$0.895M. Subtracting from \$23.5 gives me \$22.605M, with 52 players on the roster.

Tendering the RFAs I want to bring back for TC:

OTC is projecting/listing a price of a non-guaranteed \$2.433M for an original round tender. A 2nd round tender is just under \$4M, and a 1st round tender is higher still. I decided to tender 3 RFAs at the original round level: Calvin Anderson, Malik Reed, and DeShawn Williams (we're short on DL, I miss Shelby, and I remember watching him bat down a couple of balls at the line, Shelby style). \$2.433M X 3 = \$7.29M. Subtracting that from \$22.605 gives me \$15.306M with 55 players on the roster.

Early dealing with our own UFAs:

I want Josey Jewell back, the Broncos seem to want him back, and he seems to want to be back. So I'm going to hypothetically bring him back on a 3 year deal with a 2022 cap hit of \$4M (Make it so, George). I also want TE Eric Saubert back for something in the range of \$1.5 to \$2.5M for 2022, and would tell him so before he tests free agency if I were George. And I'm interested in bringing back Massie for a 1 year deal comparable to last year's (\$2.5M), and would let him know that before he tests free agency. Anyway, for the short haul, I have Josey back for \$4M, I subtract that from \$15.306M giving me \$11.306M with 56 players on the roster.

Money to sign our draft picks:

Spotrac doesn't list our correct draft picks, and I know from past experience not to put much credence in their projected rookie pool anyway. OTC lists us as having 9 picks (currently correct): numbers 64, 75, 96, 114, 115, 145, 205, 232, and 248. For the 9, the sum of their projected cap hits is \$7.987M. I subtract that from \$11.306M giving me \$3.319M with 65 players on the roster.

Explaining and applying the top 51 rule:

From the beginning of free agency and the new League year in March as all 32 teams are building up to a TC roster of 90, until a few days after the final roster cut to 53, only the top 51 cap hits count against the cap (along with any dead money). After that, EVERYTHING has to fit under the cap, the roster of 53, IR, and practice squad salaries. But I'm currently counting 65. That means the bottom 14 cap hits fall out of the top 51, and I get to add money back to my \$3.319M to get my top 51 cap space. Spotrac shows the 8 lowest cap hits are \$705K each. After that the next 5 lowest are \$825K. And the next few lowest are just a few K more than that. 8 X \$.705 = \$5.64M. I'm just going to use the \$825K number for the other 6. 6 X \$.825 = \$4.95M. So I take my earlier \$3.319M + \$5.64M + \$4.95M = \$13.909M in top 51 cap space. And the only "splash" move I've made in free agency so far is to extend Josey Jewell. Time for...

"Manufacturing" more 2022 cap space:

The way this is done is by converting salary or roster bonus money for 2022 into restructure bonus that will prorate over the remaining life of a contract. We have 4 players with contracts that make a fair amount of sense to restructure: Garrett Bolles, Justin Simmons, Courtland Sutton, and Tim Patrick.

Bolles has a \$17M 2022 base salary with a \$4M prorated signing bonus for a cap hit of \$21M with 3 years remaining on the contract. If I convert \$16M of the salary into bonus and divide it by 3, I get \$5.333M in prorated 2022 restructure bonus. Adding that to the \$1M in remaining salary plus the \$4M signing bonus gives me a new cap hit of \$10.333M. I've decreased his 2022 cap hit by \$10.667M.

Simmons has a \$15.1M 2022 base salary with a prorated \$3.75M signing bonus for a cap hit of \$18.85M with 3 years remaining on the contract. If I convert \$14.1M of the salary into bonus and divide by 3, I get \$4.7M in prorated 2022 restructure bonus. Adding that to the \$1M in remaining salary plus the \$3.75M signing bonus gives me a new cap hit of \$9.45M. I've decreased his 2022 cap hit by \$9.4M.

Sutton has a \$1.5M base salary with a prorated signing bonus of \$1.2M and a \$10.5M roster bonus for a cap hit of \$13.2M with 4 years remaining on the contract. If I convert the \$10.5M roster bonus into restructure bonus and divide by 4, I get \$2.625M in prorated restructure bonus. Adding that to the \$1.5M base salary plus the \$1.2M signing bonus gives me a new cap hit of \$5.325M. I've decreased his cap hit by \$7.875M.

Patrick has a \$1.535M base salary with a prorated signing bonus of \$.75M and a \$6.965 roster bonus for a cap hit of \$9.25M with 3 years remaining on the contract for a cap hit of \$9.25M. If I convert the \$6.965M roster bonus into restructure bonus and divide by 3, I get \$2.322 in prorated restructure bonus. Adding that to the \$1.535M base salary and the \$.75M signing bonus gives me a new cap hit of \$4.607M. I've decreased his cap hit by \$4.643M.

Summing up:

Prior to "manufacturing" more cap space I had 65 players on the roster, and only \$13.909M in top 51 cap space. But I've now added \$10.667M (restructured Bolles) + \$9.4 (restructured Simmons) + \$7.875M (restructured Sutton) + \$4.643M (restructured T. Patrick) for a potential \$46.494M in top 51 cap space, and I haven't cut anybody. I expect a punter competition in TC. We have 2 on the roster now, and we could easily draft another one late or sign one as a CFA, so Sam Martin isn't safe yet. A free agent or drafted DT could also make Mike Purcell expendable when it's time for roster cuts. Anyway, up to \$46M could result in a really nice haul in free agency. I'm expecting to see a few "splashy" free agent signings early, a few more "bargains" later and a large (maybe 20 or so) CFA class. We don't have to worry about fitting any CFAs under the cap because they'll all fall out of the top 51.

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR.