The Denver Broncos got right tackle Ja’Wuan James for a record deal, but he helped them out on the 2019 salary cap as well.
The Denver Broncos made a couple of big splashes late on the first night of free agency, landing cornerback Kareem Jackson and offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James.
Jackson signed with the Broncos on a three-year deal worth $33 million in total money, $23 million guaranteed. His 2019 cap hit, however, came in at a very Broncos-friendly $6 million.
How about James’ contract? What kind of investment did the Broncos make here?
We already knew the Broncos made James the highest-paid right tackle in football, paying him an average of $12.75 million per season. His four-year, $51 million pact has another team-friendly breakdown, especially against the 2019 salary cap.
Spotrac has the full breakdown of James’ deal, but here are his annual cap hits.
2019: $8 million
2020: $13 million
2021: $14 million
2022: $16 million
In case you didn’t get the chance to see our post on Kareem Jackson (linked above), the Broncos are pushing these cap hits down the road because they have in excess of $80 million in salary cap space in 2020.
When you break things down, the Broncos were able to take their $14 million in savings on the 2019 salary cap from the Case Keenum trade and turn it into the 2019 cap hits for James and Jackson.
That’s pretty astounding work by the Broncos’ front office.
And oh, by the way, they also added a sixth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
What does this mean for the Broncos moving forward?
Well, they aren’t likely to go splurge on the free agent market, but they could look to make a number of 2-3 year deals with players they feel can help implement the rebuild with Vic Fangio and the new coaching staff, pushing some of those cap hits down the line a bit.
They still have plenty of areas to address on the roster despite the additions they’ve made of Flacco, Ja’Wuan James, and Kareem Jackson, but at this point, the Broncos have addressed their top three offseason needs.