Broncos clearing cap space to make waves in free agency

The Denver Broncos are clearing cap space and preparing for action in NFL Free Agency

Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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The Denver Broncos have been spending the week preparing for NFL Free Agency, and frankly, preparing for a completely new era of Denver Broncos football. The team has moved on from quarterback Russell Wilson as well as defensive captain Justin Simmons, one of the best safeties in Broncos history. They have been working to clear cap space to start making some waves in NFL Free Agency, even if they won't be involved in the "first wave" as GM George Paton has now stated and reiterated on a couple of occasions.

The Broncos have had to work a little harder than we're all used to in order to become salary cap compliant. The Russell Wilson contract kicks in this year, and even though he won't play a single snap of that deal as a Denver Bronco, the Broncos are still feeling the financial ramifications. They will owe him $39 million this season, minus whatever he receives from his next NFL team.

In order to be active in free agency (and the Broncos need to be, they don't have the NFL Draft capital to sit on their hands) the team has been making some roster moves and contract adjustments.

Broncos restructure OT Mike McGlinchey's contract -- Save $11M

When the Broncos signed Mike McGlinchey in 2023 NFL free agency, there was already a plan in motion to be able to convert some of his salary into a bonus, and that's exactly what the Broncos did, saving $11 million on the salary cap in the process.

Broncos sign Tim Patrick to new one-year contract -- Save $8M

Bringing Tim Patrick back into the fold was likely always part of the Denver Broncos' plan, even though Patrick has missed each of the last two seasons due to injury. The Broncos have paid Patrick nearly $25 million over the course of his career, most of which has come in the last two years. He agreed to a completely new deal in 2024 which will pay him $1.25 million in base salary, saving the Broncos $8 million on the salary cap.

Broncos release veteran TE Chris Manhertz -- Save $2M

Veteran tight end Chris Manhertz was brought in last year to be a blocking specialist at the position, but the Broncos are revamping the tight end spot. Manhertz's impact wasn't as substantial as the front office and coaching staff may have hoped for.

Between these three moves, the Broncos moved around $21 million in overall salary cap space. They were about $2.65 million over the salary cap prior to these moves, meaning they are currently around $18.4 million under the salary cap heading into the weekend.

And more moves should be expected. The Broncos have not yet done anything with the contracts of Ben Powers or Zach Allen, which they could. They still have offensive tackle Garett Bolles at a $20 million cap hit and defensive lineman DJ Jones at around $13 million. Courtland Sutton at $17.4 million and Jerry Jeudy at nearly $13 million also take up a big chunk of the salary cap pie.

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Depending on what the team wants to do, the Broncos could still make a bunch of moves to be even more flexible in free agency. Expect the Broncos to be in on smaller, short-term deals for the most part. They need to go "bulk buying" as opposed to big game hunting.

Next. 5 QBs the Broncos need to avoid after Russell Wilson release. 5 QBs the Broncos need to avoid after Russell Wilson release. dark