Denver Broncos 2018 salary cap situation, possible cap casualties

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 05: Cornerback Aqib Talib
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 05: Cornerback Aqib Talib /
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Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos /

Possible Cap Casualties

And now, for the moment we’ve all been dreading.

Possible cap casualties or trade candidates for the Denver Broncos, depending of course on what this team’s plans are going into the offseason.

Aqib Talib, cornerback

Let me just start this off by saying, that if there is some way to bring Aqib Talib back to the Broncos next season, I would explore it. Heck, whatever the options are short of cutting or trading him outright, I would explore those, but this was a day we knew might be coming back when Talib originally signed his deal back in 2014.

The Broncos have an ‘out’ at the end of this season in Talib’s contract that would get them out of a $12 million cap hit with just $1 million in dead money. That would put $11 million onto their 2018 cap number, but would also strip this team of one of its defensive leaders and one of the most well-liked players in the locker room.

Talib was a major reason for the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 run, and has continued what I believe to be a Hall of Fame career in Denver.

C.J. Anderson, running back

The Denver Broncos’ leading rusher in 2017, Anderson has been a phenomenal find for the Broncos’ scouting department as an undrafted player in 2013, and he was rewarded prior to the 2016 season with a new contract that was actually drawn up by the Miami Dolphins and former Broncos coach Adam Gase.

Gase wanted to snipe Anderson away from the Broncos at the time, so the Dolphins drew up a contract that was front-loaded with guaranteed cash, and Denver shockingly decided to match it.

Anderson’s cap figure is $4.5 million for next season, and if the Broncos release or trade him, there will be no dead money against the cap.

Menelik Watson, offensive tackle

For the second consecutive offseason, the Broncos failed at trying to fill their void at right tackle in free agency. Watson is due just under $7.5 million against the cap in 2018, and the Broncos can release him with a dead money hit of just about $2.7 million.

If the Broncos released these three players, their 2018 cap space would be over $51 million. That is, of course, before they re-sign any of their own players or factor in money for the 2018 draft class, and emergency funds.

If you figure about $15 million for those three things (more than is probably needed, roughly), the Broncos would have about $35-36 million in cap space by only releasing three players.

With more holes to fill than just at quarterback, it would be incredibly interesting to see how they would pursue free agency at that point.

They can still save some more money by trading players as well, or making more surprise cuts. We’ll take a look at some trade/restructure candidates.