Denver Broncos: George Paton using cap space to the fullest

Denver Broncos general manager George Paton. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos general manager George Paton. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos have been making some serious moves at the bye, and General Manager George Paton has earned his due credit as a rookie.

George Paton’s latest move is the signing of seasoned wide receiver Courtland Sutton. The Denver Broncos and Sutton reached a deal that will keep him in Denver for the next four seasons, averaging a salary of about $15 million per season.

Let’s now recap the past couple of days within the Broncos front office.

Denver and Paton have now re-signed arguably the best two receivers in this corps. Tim Patrick is now re-signed for the next three years at $34.5 million, and Sutton is under contract at $60.8 million. These two signings compliment Paton’s work in the offseason, extending Shelby Harris and Justin Simons to long-term deals.

The rookie GM has not only done his due diligence on the contributions of these players but has signed them onto extensions that are not burdensome to the cap.

George Paton has been managing the Denver Broncos salary cap excellently

As I mentioned in my previous article, the Broncos’ trade with Von Miller put them in position to have the most cap space out of the entire NFL next off-season.

Obviously, this is a bit of a different story now.

Breaking down each contract, let’s first take a look at Tim Patrick. The Denver Broncos fourth-year receiver is set to receive $11.3 million annually for the next three seasons. With Courtland Sutton’s new deal, this would be the seventh-highest contract on the Broncos payroll.

While not insane, this is certainly something to keep in mind for going into 2022. Patrick is going to have to play up to that contract in order for it to be 100 percent worth it. Patrick is currently setting at 37 receptions with a total of 523 yards. He is already on pace to go over his 2020 total of 742 yards receiving.

Moving over to Sutton, he is set to be paid $15.2 million annually for the next four seasons. This will be the third-highest contract on the Broncos payroll.

This contract makes a little more sense considering how much talent and success Sutton has had in the Broncos offense. Thus far in 2021, Sutton is sitting at 43 catches for 617 receiving yards. With seven games remaining in the season, Sutton is on pace to potentially have his second 1,000-yard season.

If Sutton continues to produce the way he has been, this contract should be well worth what Denver gave him. The only concern is injuries. Sutton has been injury-prone the past few seasons, including his torn ACL in 2020.

Looking at the grand scheme of things, the Broncos are currently set to have almost $80 million in cap space in 2022, not including whatever the cap hits of Patrick and Sutton will be. This ranks in the top 10 out of all teams for 2022 space. The Broncos may no longer lead the league in available cap space, but they now have two of their best receivers locked up.

What does the future hold for the Denver Broncos?

Looking towards the long-term, the Denver Broncos still have a few players to get under contract. 2019 first-round selection Noah Fant is due for an extension soon, whether or not Denver decides to continue with him. Kyle Fuller and Kareem Jackson are also due for contracts.

Taking everything into consideration, George Paton has had himself a fantastic rookie season in the front office. Rolling into the end of the season, Denver should be set for good things in the 2022 offseason.