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Will the Broncos be big players or patient in Free Agency?

Short on picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos will have to try and fill multiple holes in free agency. But will they be aggressive or play it safe?

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos have a long way to go and a lot to prove before they can be considered Super Bowl contenders.

Short on draft picks, it seems that the best bet to revamp their roster would be by way of free agency. But is an aggressive approach in free agency the best way to go about roster building? Let’s talk about it.

With the releases of Ronald Darby, Graham Glasgow, and Chase Edmonds—Denver freed up a lot of cap space and are sitting at around $32 million to spend. Given those moves and the lack of draft capital, it’s reasonable for fans to expect some big splashes are on the horizon. We will know shortly if that happens or not.

The NFL’s free agency period kicks officially starts on Wednesday at 3:00 PM (EST), but beginning Monday teams will have the opportunity to negotiate with upcoming free agents during the annual legal tampering period.

George Paton could most certainly be aggressive, but in order to land top-tier guys they will have to get into a bidding war for some of the best names available. That being said, I’m not sure going all out is the best option. There are a few reasons for that.

It’s important to keep in mind that the Broncos have a hefty amount of dead money facing them with potential moves after the 2023 campaign. At season’s end, the Broncos are likely to make big decisions involving players like Russell Wilson, Randy Gregory, Garett Bolles, Courtland Sutton (who is on the block now), Tim Patrick, and a handful of others.

In fact, it’s a strong possibility that neither of those players are on the roster for the 2024 season. Moving on from those players would result in over $50 million dollars in dead cap money and an immediate cap savings just a little bit higher than that. Essentially, it’s a wash—and the Broncos will certainly set aside cap savings from their recent cuts to offset and future losses with the contracts above.

Additionally, the Broncos have just 29 players (with the aforementioned in the fold) on the roster for 2024. They are going to need some extra space next year and additional selections in the ‘24 NFL Draft to help finalize their roster. That’s why it makes sense that the team is rumored to be looking to move on from some veteran players and acquire capital in this year’s draft to help combat that.

In my opinion, the safest bet for the Broncos would be signing players who were cut that don’t negatively impact the compensatory formula. Secondly, waiting for second and third wave signings that will be more affordable than the biggest names out there might be wise too.

We will know shortly whether or not the Broncos are big time players or approach this year’s free agency class with caution.