Jump To Contracts

Evaluation Of The 2024 Broncos Offseason Road Map

Now that draft and the bulk of free agency is over, it's time as always to evaluate my offseason road map, and see how well my preferred goals overlapped with the goals that the Broncos set out for themselves.

This season, I broke the road map into two pieces: a first part of moves I recommended in any scenario, and two second parts that were contingent on what the team decided to do with Russell Wilson. Much to my displeasure, they decided to cut him--thus, the second part without Wilson is binding in this evaluation.

Courtland Sutton Seeks A New Contract

Per Tom Pelissero, Courtland Sutton's desire to get his contract changed resulted in him not reporting for voluntary workouts on Monday.

On the one hand, I can understand Sutton's desire for a new contract. When he signed his current extension in 2021, it was very much seen as a team friendly contract. And at only $15M APY and only $13.6 million in cash due for 2024, that view has held up: the APY ranks only 20th, and the cash due in 2024 only ranks 24th.

But on the other hand, how has Sutton's production held up compared to his peers in wide receiver pay? Let's take a look at that in the table below, which adjusts 2023 receptions, yards, and touchdowns if every player who is due at least $13 million in 2024 had played all 17 games:

Brandon Jones and PJ Locke Contract Details

The Broncos took a major change at safety: they cut Justin Simmons, re-signed PJ Locke, and brought in Brandon Jones from the Dolphins. Here's some analysis of the new contracts the Broncos have on the books.

2024 Broncos Offseason Road Map: Part 2, With Russell Wilson

After laying out core moves the Broncos should make no matter what for the 2024 season, there's a fork in the road. That fork is a critical one: whether or not the Broncos decide to keep Russell Wilson on the roster.

I'll lay my cards out on the table and make my opinion clear: the Broncos should indeed keep Russell Wilson.

2024 Broncos Offseason Road Map: Part 1

The performance of the 2023 Broncos has to be described as a disappointment that did not meet expectations. It was a team that should have made the playoffs, but had a few too many inexcusable losses. Improvements must be made to end what is a disgraceful eight year drought from the postseason.

As always, roster changes will be part of achieving that improvement. For this offseason, however, I'll be forking off a couple of different paths for this road map that will come in subsequent articles. This first part will chronicle several goals that I feel should be accomplished no matter what to start off the path.

Whither Russell Wilson?

Yesterday, the Broncos decided to play Jarrett Stidham for their final two games of the regular season. It was easy to see from as soon as the news started to break that Russell Wilson's $37 million injury guarantee for his 2025 salary would be at the heart of this decision, and that indeed came from more details via Jordan Schultz, confirmed by Troy Renck and Dianna Russini. Where does that leave the Broncos and Wilson both now, and toward the upcoming season?

Contract Extension Examination: Garett Bolles & Justin Simmons

Garett Bolles and Justin Simmons are two players on veteran contracts that are not expiring but have only one season remaining. Both players have also continued to play at the high levels they have sustained since signing their veteran contracts. Both players have played integral leadership roles for the Broncos on their respective sides of the football. And both players are set to have high salaries in 2024 ($14 million for Bolles, $14.4 million for Simmons) that would be useful to prorate some of their associated cap dollars into the future.

All of these goals could be attained by securing a pair of short term extensions that keep them in the fold at least one season longer than they are under contract for now.

Contract Extension Examination: Patrick Surtain II

Last week, I addressed the contracts of players that will see their contracts expire after this season. But there are also contracts that are not expiring that the Broncos should also address as well. And in my opinion, no contract looms larger than that of Patrick Surtain II

In 2021, I implored the Broncos to select a great football player, regardless of position, with the 9th overall pick. George Paton answered that imploring by selecting Surtain. He has proven so despite--no, because--his name being not spoken often during a typical NFL broadcast, due to blotting out whoever he is covering. That type of silent coverage, both figuratively by action and literally by word, is reminiscent of the play the Broncos immediately got when they traded for Champ Bailey.

The earliest that a drafted player can have his contract altered is after his third regular season has concluded, per Article 7, Section 3(k)(i) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. For Surtain, that will be January 8, 2024. Once that date comes, work can--and should--be done to extend his contract.

Contract Extension Examination: Wil Lutz

The Broncos made a surprising change at kicker late in the offseason by cutting longtime kicker Brandon McManus. It didn't take them until all the way until just before the regular season started to settle on a replacement by trading a 7th round pick for Wil Lutz, who Sean Payton was familiar with when he was in New Orleans. I was critical of these moves at the time, but so far Lutz has held up well in taking the job. But he'll be a free agent next offseason, so the Broncos will have address the kicker position once again.