3) Restructure: WRs Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick, QB Russell Wilson
The Broncos' three biggest restructure candidates for 2024 are a pair of wide receivers: Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick. Sutton has become the most dependable red zone receiver in the NFL, with all eight of his receiving touchdowns coming inside the red zone. . According to PFF, Sutton leads all wide receivers in the NFL in yards, touchdowns, and contested catches in the red zone, and has 12 receptions. Needless to say, Sutton has been a monster this year. On the flip side, Tim Patrick is missing the entire season for the second straight year after tearing his ACL during training camp.
Sutton is set to earn just under $18 million each of the next two years to round out his four year contract with the Broncos. Releasing Sutton after 2023 wouldn't do the Broncos any cap favors, but they would save all of his salary against the cap if they cut him after June 1st, 2025, with no dead-money.
However, Sutton's play is only improving. The 28-year old is playing the best football of his career since he tore up his knee in 2020, and has become a pivotal piece in the Broncos' offense. Restructuring Sutton's contract, to whatever number the Broncos and Sutton decide on, could help keep the wideout here beyond 2024, and allow the Broncos some much needed relief in the short term. According to Over-The-Cap (OTC), restructuring Sutton could open up roughly $6 million for next year. After Sutton comes Patrick, who after earning his huge contract, hasn't done much due to his injuries. Patrick is owed just north of $16 million against the cap next year and ultimately could be a cut candidate more than anything else, which is an incredibly unfortunate turn of events for the persistent wideout with a crazy career.
Finally comes Russell Wilson. Wilson is on the hook for a cap number of $35.4 million next year, an enormous number. But according to OTC, restructuring Wilson could do the Broncos a ton of good. Wilson would save the Broncos over $12 million against the cap next year by restructuring, but could save them almost $27 million against the 2025 cap by restructuring.
The Broncos and Wilson drew up an incredibly unique contract that does not entirely make him cut-able until 2025, so a 2024 restructure would depend on how eager the Broncos are to keep Wilson around long-term. If the Broncos plan on cutting Wilson after 2025, a short-term restructure and then release after June 1st, 2025 would save the Broncos $12 million next year, and then almost $20 million in 2025, and that number only increases as the years go on. Russ is playing a ton better, but almost no on-the-field talent from the 35-year-old quarterback can outweigh the weight of his massive contract.