The Denver Broncos are over $20 million in the hole in salary cap heading into free agency next month and depending on what they decided to do with Russell Wilson it could remain the same if he is designated a post-June 1st release or a lot more if they don’t. I would expect a post-June 1st. With Sean Payton, we should probably prepare for this kind of annual offseason event given how the New Orleans Saints history has been with their salary cap.
Get ready Broncos fans, this is your future too. https://t.co/J6urN9rxKO— Frank Schwab (@YahooSchwab) February 2, 2024
Spotrac analyzed the Broncos’ salary cap situation with their current situation and listed all of the cap clearing possibilities they have to get back in the green.
Cap Clearing Options
Here’s what I think would make the most sense, because doing all of these things is probably not likely to happen. I’ll chunk out each ‘cap clearing possibility’ Spotrac listed and give me thoughts on each and whether or not it makes sense.
• Process a full base salary conversion for WR Courtland Sutton, freeing up $9.5M of cap when factoring in 3 void years
I like this move and think Denver should do it. Courtland Sutton came on strong this season and showed he had elite desire and ability to make game-changing plays. I’m pretty sure the Broncos won at least two games based purely on insane clutch catches. You won’t find a guy in the draft or in free agency at the price Denver pays Sutton in salary.
• Release WR Tim Patrick, freeing up $9.5M of cap
Tim Patrick is a massive fan favorite in Broncos Country and of mine, but financially the team probably cannot keep justifying keeping him on board. He is now on the wrong side of 30 and has missed two seasons to injury. Unfortunately, Patrick’s time in Denver may soon be coming to an end.
• Trade WR Jerry Jeudy, freeing up $12.9M of cap (unless some of that salary is retained to facilitate a better trade return)
Jerry Jeudy is a guy who would thrive under a rhythm-based quarterback. Who knows if Denver will find one this year, so I wouldn’t be opposed to finding a trade partner at some point this offseason. I have always liked Jeudy’s potential, but he seems to get frustrated easily and loses concentration when the rare opportunity to make a big play presents itself. And Denver does need more draft capital.
• Release TE Chris Manhertz, freeing up $2.1M of cap
Not a fan of this move. Tight end is a problematic position group for the Broncos and keeping around a sound blocking tight end just makes too much sense for Sean Payton’s offensive scheme.
• Extend OT Garett Bolles, lowering his current $20M cap hit for 2024. Bolles projected toward a 3 year, $48M contract in our system.
Absolutely. Get it done.
• Process a full base salary conversion for OT Mike McGlinchey, freeing up $11.1M of cap when factoring in 1 void year.
Mike McGlinchey will have his 2025 salary fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the league year in March. After what we saw from him last season, do we really want to make his contract stick through 2026 too? Hard pass.
• Process a full base salary conversion for G Ben Powers, freeing up $8.7M of cap when factoring in 2 void years.
Absolutely. Get it done.
• Process a full base salary conversion for DE Zach Allen, freeing up $11.3M of cap when factoring in 3 void years.
I’m on the fence with this one. The interior defensive line was unimpressive overall, so would they want to hamper themselves by locking up Zach Allen for more years on the salary cap side of things? I’d like to see how he plays in 2024 before hamstringing things further than necessary.
• Release DT D.J. Jones, freeing up $10M of cap
I think D.J. Jones has been fine for the Broncos, but I also think they could fill the void left by his departure relatively closely. They may not find someone to match or outperform him, but it’ll be close enough that we wouldn’t notice. So with that in mind, I think this is a move Denver should make.
• Extend S Justin Simmons, lowering his current $18.25M cap hit. Simmons projects toward a 2 year, $22M extension in our system.
Absolutely. Get it done.
• Waive CB Damarri Mathis, freeing up $985,000 of cap
To be honest, I didn’t even have Damarri Mathis on my radar as a cap casualty. Probably because the savings was under $1 million, but given his inconsistent play this is a move that would ultimately make sense. You can draft a guy in the later rounds or pick up an undrafted college free agent and likely get an upgrade.
If my math is correct — and you should know that it may likely not be — processing the moves I agreed with would flip the $23 million salary cap hole the Broncos are in to a $30.5 million surplus. That excludes a possible Jerry Jeudy trade.
After going through this list from Spotrac I realized that the Broncos have plenty of options to deal with whatever salary cap issues we perceive they have. I won’t be losing a minute of sleep over this issue moving forward.