The Denver Broncos have plenty of cap space remaining, thanks to how the team structured certain contracts. But chances are, Denver may be done adding free agents until after the draft.
Contract details released for recently-signed OL Graham Glasgow show his 2020 cap hit will be lower than anticipated. He actually received a $12 million signing bonus and a base salary of $2.5M — totaling a 2020 cap hit of $5.9M.
Combine that with the 2020 cap hits for RB Melvin Gordon ($7M), QB Jeff Driskel ($1.75M) and CB De’Vaunte Bausby ($825,000) and the Broncos stand at $21.1M in cap space.
The recent addition of contract details for Sam Martin show a first-year cap hit of $1.5M., per numbers shared by the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson.
Throw in one-year deals for LBs Jeremiah Attaochu and Joseph Jones — which I assume are for the veteran minimum, though details haven’t been shared yet — and the Broncos will have a little more than $19M in cap space. Keep in mind, the top-51 cutoff means not every player counts toward the cap.
While $19M in space is a good chunk to work with, the Broncos may be done adding free agents for this reason; they will have 78 players under contract. That will be reduced by one once they move on from at least one punter (Colby Wadman is certain to be released in the wake of the Martin signing).
But with a 90-player roster limit during the offseason and 10 draft picks stockpiled, the Broncos don’t have a lot of spots left to add players.
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Why not Just Release a Few Players?
For one thing, the Broncos aren’t likely to do that unless the team thinks a veteran is an upgrade over a younger player on a cheap contract. If any veterans get added, that probably happens after the draft.
Another reason is that the Broncos may be keeping certain players in hopes of trading them. Again, this is likely to apply to younger players with smaller cap hits. And although such players might not net a draft pick by themselves, they could be used in a trade package on draft day to move up the board.
If the Broncos are serious about trading up in hopes of landing, say, Alabama WR Henry Ruggs III, a young player or two packaged with a couple of draft picks might be enough to get it done, all while ensuring the Broncos don’t give up too much draft capital.
Don’t Completely Slam Door on More Signings
Of course, the Broncos could change their minds about adding free agents if one comes along at the right price. But now that we are entering the third wave of free agency, with the NFL mandating no team executives or employees can be at team facilities until April 12, players will have to sign on the Broncos’ terms.
There will be questions about the depth, plus questions about whether certain players can stay healthy, and some may wonder if certain players are ready to start in 2020. But I imagine the Broncos are likely stepping out of the free-agent market for now.
Thus, it’s time for Broncos fans to focus on the draft, which is where the team will look to fill the remaining holes on the roster and complete its offseason infusion of talent.