The Denver Broncos made the decision to move on from veteran cornerback AJ Bouye, a trade acquisition in the 2020 offseason.
Moving on from Bouye will ultimately save the Broncos over $13 million in total cap space for 2021, no small figure especially considering the league’s salary cap could drop from just under $200 million to under $181 million because of the impact COVID-19 had in the course of the last year.
Because of the lowered salary cap, the Denver Broncos made the wise move to roll over just under $18 million in cap space from 2020 to 2021, giving them one of the more favorable cap situations in the entire NFL.
According to Overthecap.com, the Broncos have the seventh-most cap space in the league (over $32 million). While more salary cap cuts should be expected, the Broncos might also try to keep the majority of their core intact and try to get players to potentially re-do their contracts to help the team get through this unprecedented decrease in salary cap across the league.
After the Bouye release, there are still some players with huge salary cap numbers for 2021 who have low dead money figures, making them prime cap casualty candidates. Let’s take a look through these names and what the Broncos might try to do with each.
Denver Broncos potential remaining 2021 cap casualties
1. Von Miller, OLB
2021 salary cap number: $22.125 million
2021 dead cap if released: $4.125 million
2021 cap savings if released: $18 million
No player’s situation is more unsettling right now with the Denver Broncos than team legend Von Miller’s.
As much as everyone wants to see Justin Simmons back, Miller is the best defensive player in franchise history, a living legend, and future first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Cutting Von Miller would be a brutal decision for George Paton to have to make in his first year on the job as general manager, and if Miller had played and balled out in the 2020 season, it might be easier for Denver’s new decision-maker to just keep things as they are.
Miller is coming off of a season-ending injury, however, and while no one wants to see him get cut just to save a buck, there needs to be a discussion between Denver and Miller’s camp about potentially renegotiating his deal.
Miller would be a free agent after this season anyway, so with the Broncos not necessarily up against the salary cap, the worst-case scenario should be to free up funds elsewhere to keep Miller for 2021 and kick that can down the road.
The best-case scenario would be Miller signing a new contract to remain in Denver for the next few seasons at a more team-friendly rate. Who knows if Miller would be amenable to that? At this point, nobody does.
Not even the great Sheriff Peyton Manning was exempt from being asked to take a pay cut, however, so Miller is not an exception here.
Cutting Von Miller just seems like a horrendous idea no matter what kind of money it saves on the salary cap. The Broncos should do everything in their power to try and convince Miller to stick around on a contract extension that frees up some 2021 cap space and keeps Miller in orange and blue for the rest of his career.