Broncos Have Been Underwhelming During Free Agency

By Patrick Knight on March 18, 2020
ENGLEWOOD, CO – JANUARY 12: Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway fields questions from the media during a press conference to introduce Vance Josepf as the new head coach at the Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre on January 12, 2017 in Englewood, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Once upon a time, the Broncos were supposed to have nearly $80 million in salary cap space and John Elway was going to have an open checkbook. As a result, Denver was expected to be an active player in free agency, bringing back memories of their famous 2014 class (Emmanuel Sanders, Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward and DeMarcus Ware).

Fast forward, however, and reality has been very different. Thus far, the Broncos haven’t made much of a splash during free agency; they’ve been a pebble thrown into the ocean.

In part, this is because some of their money was spent before the NFL’s shopping spree began. Denver tied up $13.4 million when they traded for cornerback A.J. Bouye, while allotting another $11.4 million to Justin Simmons when they placed the franchise tag on the safety. So in a way, those two defensive backs are part of the Broncos free-agent class.

In addition, however, they’ve handcuffed themselves by keeping players, and their respective salaries, on the roster. Most expected Denver to free up roughly $10 million in cap space by cutting Joe Flacco; the quarterback is still a member of the team, however. And parting ways with Todd Davis would’ve freed up an additional $4.5 million in cap space; but the linebacker was retained. The same goes for Jeff Heuerman, as releasing the tight end would’ve saved Denver nearly $4 million. Combined, these players account for nearly $20 million that never materialized.


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