Salary cap space
As of March 17, 2021, the Broncos are projected to have $32,698,008 in cap space for 2021.
The Broncos rolled over $17.8 million in 2020 cap space.
March 10 update: The salary cap has been set at $182.5 million.
The Denver Broncos were among NFL’s bottom 10 in scoring offense and scoring defense and finished the 2020 season with a very representative 5-11 record. They lost their best defensive player, Von Miller, for the entire season due to an ankle injury suffered prior to Week 1. Offensively, the Broncos have a lot of pieces in place to be an entertaining group. The questions still remain, however, of if they have the right quarterback to go with it. Second-year QB Drew Lock tied for the league lead with 15 interceptions despite starting only 13 games.
The Broncos have just shy of $19 million of cap space available. Conversations of who to keep and who to cut will focus on the defensive side of the ball.
The NFL powered through its 2020 season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The league played without fans in most stadiums, and limited fans in a handful of locations. The decrease in gate revenue is going to result in a decrease in money shared between the 32 teams. This in turn means the salary cap has been decreased. The NFL has announced an official salary cap of $182.5 million, which is sure to result in some tough choices for many teams.
All salary cap information below comes courtesy of the NFLPA Public Salary Cap Report.
Before covering the defense’s needs, let’s look at running back, where Phillip Lindsay is slated to be a restricted free agent, and Melvin Gordon III has one year left on his deal. MGIII looks like he is over the hill even though he is only 27. Cutting him would come with a $6.5 million amount of dead money but also save $2.5 million. It would be an easier decision if the Broncos knew they could depend on Lindsay. But the 5-foot-8 back missed five games due to injuries this year and hobbled through a few others. Unless the Broncos address this position in the draft, Gordon is probably back for another year in Denver.
They are some big cap numbers for defensive players at the top of the Broncos’ payroll. Edge rusher Von Miller is scheduled to count a little more than $22 million against the cap. Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey (about $11.8 million) and cornerback A.J. Bouye ($13.375 million) are also coming off of injury-marred seasons. Releasing those three players would save about $43 million. Bouye is the easiest to predict of who will be cut; a late-season PED suspension will carry over through the first two weeks of the 2021 campaign. He’s all but destined to head elsewhere. Both Bouye and Casey have no guaranteed money left on their deals. Miller, who is entering a contract year, carries a bit more than $4 million in dead money if released.
The Broncos could also lessen Miller’s cap number by giving him an extension, basically making the 31-year-old a possible Bronco for life. Although, considering what is swirling around Miller off the field right now, the team should probably hold off on that new contract for a bit.
In terms of in-house free agents, priority No. 1 should be re-signing Justin Simmons. The 27-year-old was a standout safety in 2020.