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2016-2017 Contract And Salary Cap Update

Since there’s been interest in an update as to where the Broncos stand financially with roster cutdowns and churning mostly complete, here’s an overview that I can provide now that Jason’s mostly finished with updating things on Over The Cap. (Reference the Broncos’ team page here.)

2016 Salary Cap Space: (likely around) $9,635,881

This number will be subject to two immediate changes that will mostly offset each other.  The first is that OTC has not yet processed the signing of Austin Davis.  With three accrued seasons, Davis is entitled to a veteran minimum of $675,000.  It’s hard to imagine Davis getting much more than that, considering that money was likely a large factor as to why Mark Sanchez was cut.

The second will be the resolution of Shiloh Keo’s removal from the suspended list after Week 2.  When that happens, either Keo or someone else will be cut, and with that will come cap savings of somewhere around Keo’s current suspension-adjusted figure of $529,412.

Being around $9 million is certainly a fine figure to be at for normal regular season contract operations–most of which consist of bringing in low-level reinforcements when players end up on IR.  The average number of players on IR per season is usually around 10-11, so having around $5-6 million is good insurance space to have.  There is also plenty of room to fit in a possible Emmanuel Sanders extension, although that would appear to be unlikely at this point.

2017 Salary Cap Space: $49,997,108 (but with a heavy caveat)

Even after hefty extensions for Von Miller and Brandon Marshall, the Broncos are in fine cap shape for 2017, and should be nowhere near as cramped as they were in the 2016 offseason.  The one caveat, however, is that once again the Broncos are tied for dead last (with the Cardinals) with only 32 players under contract for 2017.  Thus, once the ability to sign players to future contract opens at the end of the 2016 regular season, expect the Broncos to burn about $11 million just to get up to the top 51.  Still, having just under $40 million in cap space will still be among the league’s higher end.

2017 Pending Unrestricted Free Agents

Despite only having 32 players under contract for 2017, the Broncos also only have 12 pending UFAs for that offseason.  I talked about some of them back in May, and since there’s been changes since then (most notably the Miller and Marshall extensions), here’s a brief rundown of the 12, in order of importance:

  1. Emmanuel Sanders: we all know well why he’s #1 on the list.
  2. Darian Stewart: I still am of the opinion that he will be allowed to walk, with Justin Simmons taking his place as starting free safety.
  3. Sylvester Williams: his future will be tied to the development of Darius Kilgo and Kyle Peko–he could go either way.
  4. DeMarcus Ware: this is almost certainly his last year as a Bronco, and maybe the last year of his career.
  5. Kayvon Webster: in being named special teams captain, he is building his value for free agency, and he could be in line to take on the #3 CB position some day as well.  Ideally, it would be nice if he could be had for a deal similar to David Bruton’s second contract with the Broncos, but we’ll have to see what the market says.
  6. Vance Walker: missing 2016 will likely put a damper on his 2017 market.  That may be good news for the Broncos if they want to re-sign him, but bad news for Walker himself.
  7. Dekoda Watson: he will be a fascinating case to watch for 2016, as he displayed flashes of contributing on more than special teams in the preseason.  Keep an eye on his snap count on defense with Ware on a pitch count.
  8. Jordan Norwood: he has been a steady role contributor, but as continues to add accrued seasons the pressure to replace him with a younger player will increase.
  9. Billy Winn: With Walker sidelined and Adam Gotsis still raw, he has an excellent opportunity to prove himself in the rotation at defensive end.
  10. John Phillips: he also has a chance to take advantage of snaps if Virgil Green and Jeff Heuerman struggle at any point.
  11. Shiloh Keo: his suspension doesn’t exactly help his free agent cause.
  12. Garrett Graham: a holdover from Gary Kubiak’s days in Houston.