Case Keenum, QB
2018 cap hit: $21 million
Dead cap (if released): $10 million ($11 million added to cap)
Dead cap (if traded): $3 million ($18 million added to cap)
This may be seeing things with blinders on, but the Broncos spending $21 million of their cap in 2019 on Case Keenum is simply not feasible.
Keenum would be getting paid $1.67 million per touchdown pass if that number stays true.
Call me crazy, but I would rather the Broncos eat $10 million and add $11 million to this year’s available cap by releasing Keenum outright than keeping him and letting him count $21 million against the cap.
That number is just too large for the quality of QB play he’s bringing to the table. Even if you argue he was poorly utilized this past season, you cannot justify spending $21 million on him, even for just this one season.
The Broncos have a chance through free agency and/or trades to upgrade the roster, and an ugly $21 million next to Keenum’s name is far too preventative when it comes to upgrading the roster elsewhere.
The ideal scenario would include the Broncos trading Keenum and saving $18 million but it’s going to be hard to convince a team to use $18 million of their own cap space to take Keenum.
In my mind, there are two likely scenarios. The most likely scenario is the Broncos cutting him outright. Who would agree to take a massive pay cut when you are due $21 million? Another scenario is both parties agreeing to re-structure Keenum’s contract in such a way that the 2019 cap hit goes down significantly without him taking a major loss in guaranteed money.
The Broncos have cap guys more creative than me with those types of things, but it’s important they address this situation right away because they signed Keenum to a deal worth $25 million in guarantees.
He was given $15 million of that in 2018 and is due $3 million of a signing bonus this year along with $7 million of his base salary ($18 million) guaranteed.
The bottom line here is that Keenum can’t be on the Broncos with a cap hit of $21 million, no matter how much John Elway hates having dead money on the books.