With the release of Champ Bailey, the Broncos saved $10 million in cap space and pushed their overall cap space to nearly $30 million.
They aren’t going to go out and pursue every big name free agent on the market, but you can be sure the Broncos have some big plans in mind to fill the holes they have created by not only letting go of guys like Champ Bailey and creating that cap space, but the holes they need to fill from in-house free agents.
Two players that I fully expect them to pursue (at least one) are the top safeties on the market, Jairus Byrd (Bills) and T.J. Ward (Browns).
Ward was drafted by Tom Heckert in Cleveland, who is now in the Broncos’ front office. Byrd is the best safety–perhaps the best player overall–on the open market.
With the way the salary cap is inflating over the next couple of years, the Broncos could back-load some contracts to big name players to help them win now. Jairus Byrd and T.J. Ward are big name players who are going to want big contracts.
According to some reports, Byrd is seeking over $9 million annually. Currently, the highest paid safety in the league (Kansas City’s Eric Berry) is paid north of $8 million per season in base salary.
With the $10 million the Broncos just saved by letting go of Champ Bailey, they can talk about making such a move a realistic option. With more cuts yet to come, the Broncos should be in good shape financially.
Byrd has stated that playing for the Broncos would be a ‘great opportunity’ and there have been rumors as well that John Elway is not going to sit back and watch free agency happen.
You can expect the Broncos to go after some big names this year, I think.