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Who do you think could be a surprise cut ahead of free agency?

The Denver Broncos have some salary cap issues to work out, which means we could see some surprise cuts this offseason.

NFL: New England Patriots at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

According to OverTheCap.com, the Denver Broncos are $23.67 million over the salary cap heading into the offseason. They will face some difficult choices to not only get under that number, but to also get enough room to make some free agent signings and to sign their 2024 NFL Draft class. They are going to lose some starters through this process most likely.

Here’s who we think may face the chopping block as Denver works their way back into the positive on the salary cap side of things.

Scotty Payne: Jarrett Stidham is the only real ‘surprise’ I could think of. He’s due $7 million and $2 million of that is guaranteed, so the Broncos could move on from him and look for a different bridge guy. If he stays at the price, he is likely your bridge QB.

Names like D.J. Jones, Tim Patrick, Samaje Perine, Tremon Smith and a few others fall under the pay cut or be cut list. You did not ask for trade candidates, but Garett Bolles, Justin Simmons. Courtland Sutton, and Jerry Jeudy all could be moved to free up cap space.

Taylor Kothe: CB Tremon Smith. I don’t want to be uncharitable, and I mean no offense, but most of the surprise portion of Smith as a potential cut would come from fans not knowing much about him. A 5th year player on his 5th team with 5 career starts, Smith is primarily a return specialist. That’s a rough spot to be in after Mims came in and dominated the league in that role. He did participate in nearly 85% of our special teams snaps, but that’s something you can pay an UDFA a quarter of what we’re paying Smith to do.

With a dead cap of just $700K vs cap savings of $2.5M, a CB with no role on defense and no specialized role available on special teams is going to have a hard time sticking on this roster.

Ross Allen: CB Fabian Moreau. This may depend on your personal definition of a “surprise cut”, but I wouldn’t complain if Riley Moss is able to take his game to the next level and go from a special teamer to a consistent defensive contributor. And that would mean that you might not have to deal with Fabian Moreau getting torched every game.

Chris Hart: NT D.J. Jones. I wouldn’t really call it a surprise, but there is no way the Broncos are paying Jones ~ $13M next season. The Broncos can save nearly $10M in salary cap space by getting rid of him. It’s a move that will likely be done to get them closer to being cap compliant. I just don’t see how they could bring him back. He is a decent player, but not a difference maker that is worth allocating that much cap space toward.

Tim Lynch: I’m with Chris on this one. Unfortunately, D.J. Jones has a large cap number with little dead money. He turns 29 this year, so perhaps they try to work out some sort of contract extension. As it stands, however, I think the biggest surprise cut could be Jones here this offseason. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they move on from Tim Patrick too. He is 31 and will save roughly the same amount in cap space as Jones, but with double the dead money. Both those guys are in danger of some tough salary cap decisions Denver must make ahead of the league year.

Which Broncos’ player or players do you think could be a surprise cut this offseason? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.