The Denver Broncos have plenty of cap space in the 2020 offseason, but there could still be some surprising cuts in the coming months.
The Denver Broncos will get to work on the 2020 roster shortly after the conclusion of the Super Bowl, and the unfortunate part of the offseason is always when guys lose their jobs and the ugly business side of football rears its head.
The Broncos are already projected to have roughly $62 million in cap space at the start of the new league year and with two expected roster cuts (QB Joe Flacco, OL Ron Leary) the Broncos would reach nearly $80 million in cap space.
With that kind of financial freedom, it doesn’t seem the Broncos would be quick to pull the trigger on any real ‘surprise’ cuts but there are always things that pop up over the course of the offseason that we don’t see coming or, at the very least, deem unlikely.
By cutting Flacco and Leary, the Broncos will wipe two of their top five highest 2020 cap hits off the books with Flacco’s dead cap figure of $13.6 million coming in the form of cash that has already been paid to him. That means that Flacco’s dead cap figure doesn’t mean the Broncos would be actively paying him $13.6 million this season to do nothing for the team. He’s already been paid.
Since Flacco and Leary would represent players who would not be surprise cuts for the Broncos this offseason, who are some players who would be surprise cuts?
Let’s take a look at three.
1. Todd Davis, linebacker
2020 cap figure: $6 million
2020 dead cap: $1 million ($5 million savings)
Although Todd Davis is coming off of a career year in terms of tackles with 134 in just 14 games, he’s also coming off of two seasons where he was below average in coverage. The Broncos can easily afford Davis’ $5 million base salary, but they included this club option for a reason.
It might surprise some to see a guy coming off of a career-high in tackles get sent walking by the team, but the Broncos could trust Josey Jewell to do what Davis is doing in the running game and perhaps look for an upgrade at linebacker in free agency or the draft, specifically targeting someone with athleticism to cover well.
2. Jeff Heuerman, tight end
2020 cap figure: $4.375 million
2020 dead cap: $500,000 ($3.875 million savings)
Prior to Rich Scangarello getting fired, it seemed like Heuerman coming back was a lock.
He’s the Broncos’ best blocking tight end and at $4.375 million, you could probably do a lot worse for depth at the position.
Unfortunately for Heuerman, he hasn’t developed into the receiving threat the Broncos hoped for when he was drafted in 2015, and with just 14 receptions last year and guys like Andrew Beck and Troy Fumagalli on the roster, the Broncos may take the near $4 million in savings and use that on their draft class or somewhere else.
3. Brandon McManus, kicker
2020 cap figure: $4.25 million
2020 dead cap: $1.25 million ($3 million savings)
With a relatively high $1.25 million dead cap figure, the Broncos might be more inclined to keep McManus, who is probably one of the better all-around kickers in the NFL today in terms of being a place kicker and kickoff specialist.
With that said, he’s missed 8-of his last-14 attempts from 50 yards or beyond, and competition could be considered here.
I don’t think the Broncos would be rushed to cut McManus by any means, but they might put him in competition with another big leg and see what happens.