Klis: Broncos, Peyton Manning working on contract restructure

The Broncos and Peyton Manning's agent are working on a restructure of the quarterback's contract, according to Mike Klis. The two sides reportedly hope to have an agreement on a revised deal by sometime next week.

Manning is due to draw a $19M salary and count for $21.5M against the salary cap in each of the next two seasons. For reasons explained here by Joel Corry and Jason Fitzgerald, it's highly unlikely that Peyton would agree to a net pay cut, as he holds all of the leverage in this situation.

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Source: Brandon Marshall is an Exclusive Rights Free Agent, not Restricted FA

Brandon Marshall is scheduled to become an exclusive rights free agent, IAOFM has confirmed through a reliable source. This means that Denver will be able to tender Marshall a one-year deal at a salary of $585K, and the linebacker will not be free to negotiate with any other teams, unless the Broncos inexplicably choose not to tender him.

Obviously, there's no chance of Denver dumping its leading tackler, so for all intents and purposes, Marshall is not going to reach free agency this offseason, and will be a restricted free agent in 2016.

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Legwold: Julius Thomas seeking big guaranteed money

Pending free agent Julius Thomas is seeking a contract with "near record guaranteed money" relative to tight ends, according to Jeff Legwold. What does that mean?

As we all know by now, it's all about whether money is fully guaranteed, guaranteed for injury only, or only conditionally guaranteed, as Thomas's agent characterized Denver's last offer to Julius. And as we can see here, no tight end has gotten more than the $16M in full guarantees that Baltimore's Dennis Pitta and Jared Cook of St. Louis did.

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NFLPA: 2015 salary cap will be at least $143M

According to Tom Pelissero, the NFLPA expects the 2015 salary cap to be at least $143M, fully clear of the NFL's original predicted range of $138.6M-141M.

If the cap is $143M, OTC projects the Broncos to have just under $28.5M in free space, and for Demaryius Thomas's likely franchise tender to be worth $12.797M. Original round tenders for restricted free agents Tony Carter, Steven Johnson, and Aaron Brewer would be $1.539M each, if Denver elects to tender them, but contain no guarantees.

The annual walking up of the NFL’s salary cap estimate has begun

As they seem to do every year, the NFL has started to increase its estimate of the yearly salary cap, this time moving their predicted range of $138.6M-141.8M up to $140M-143M. Last offseason, the NFL's first estimate of a $126M cap was woefully shy of the final $133M figure.

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Who are the Broncos’ likely cap casualties for 2015?

Every offseason, there's at least some caponomic housecleaning to be done. Most of the cuts and renegotiations are quite predictable, based upon a player's cap number and production, but there is the occasional bombshell. Before we look at 2015's likely cuts, let's look back at those from the first four years of John Elway's tenure.

In 2011, Denver's casualties were Daniel Graham, Jamal Williams, Justin Bannan, Correll Buckhalter, Renaldo Hill, and Nate Jones. A year later, Tim Tebow and Andre' Goodman were sent packing. 2013's departures included Elvis Dumervil, D.J. Williams, Willis McGahee, Joe Mays, and Caleb Hanie, while Champ Bailey rode off into the sunset last year.

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NFLPA will provide its own forecast of 2015 salary cap

The NFLPA continues to believe the NFL is lowballing the 2015 salary cap estimate at $138.6M-$141.8M. In response, the players' union plans to release its own estimate next month, ahead of the national combine.

It's a legitimate concern for the players, as the league has consistently underestimated salary cap forecasts in the past. The initial predictions for 2014 had the cap around $126M, but the final number was significiantly higher, at $133M.

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Reducing Ryan Clady’s salary a nice idea, but unlikely

In a recent post, Jeff Legwold suggests the Broncos might try to negotiate Ryan Clady's salary down from the $8.5M figure he's currently due (it's not $8M, as Legwold writes - that was his 2014 salary). It's an interesting idea, but is it doable?

Denver used its franchise tag on their left tackle two years ago, eventually signing him to a five-year, $52.5M deal. Unfortunately, a Lisfranc injury cost him most of that season, and nagging injuries in 2014 kept him from returning to his prior elite level. Still, he's never missed a game outside of that 2013 season.

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Examining the details of the Chris Harris extension

The details (or at least the raw numbers) of Chris Harris's contract extension have been posted over at Over The Cap, and they're pretty interesting. What first jumps out is that the fully guaranteed portion of the deal is only the $10M signing bonus Harris received.

The initial report from Mike Klis said the deal included $24M in guarantees, including $18M over the 2015 and 2016 seasons. To be frank, I should have seen through that before suggesting the full guarantee might be as high as $18M. A look at other cornerback contracts should have made clear that Harris wasn't getting anywhere close to $18M in full guarantees.

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Klis: Expect Broncos to use franchise tag on Demaryius Thomas

According to Mike Klis, the Broncos plan to use their franchise tender on pending unrestricted free agent Demaryius Thomas, with hopes of locking him into a multiyear contract before training camp.

The tender value for wideouts was $12.3M last offseason; how much that figure rises next year will depend upon the overall salary cap increase. Klis puts the 2015 number at $12.7M, but that is likely based upon a conservative $138M-141M cap estimate.

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