With the Broncos having agreed to terms with T.J. Ward and Aqib Talib, and also considered the favorites to add DeMarcus Ware, remaining cap space is a natural concern.
But it probably shouldn't be, at least not yet.
Not including the retirement of Chris Kuper, Over the Cap estimated that Denver entered the day with nearly $27.5M in cap space. Once we account for Kuper, that would mean the Broncos had $31.5M with which to play.
Obviously, we have no idea how today's deals are structured, and we'll know soon enough (or not soon enough, else we wouldn't be doing this).
For argument's sake, let's just look at the average annual values, based upon what's been reported:
- Andre Caldwell: $1.725M/year max value (for all we know, it's closer to $1.4M without incentives)
- Ward: $5.75M/year
- Talib: $9.5M/year
That's a total of $16.975M theoretically gone, leaving $14.525M free to get Ware and anyone else.
Albert Breer predicts Ware will get somewhere in the neighborhood of $6M-7M/year.
If he's right, and Ware signs with Denver for $7M/year, then they're down to ~$7.5M left to sign rookies and other veterans (wide receiver, running back, and do they still need a middle linebacker if they add Ware?).
Of course, there's still room to be created by cutting Joel Dreessen ($2.5M) and/or Jacob Tamme ($3M), or even Kevin Vickerson ($1.8M).
In other words, they're still fine, although they don't figure to be adding any other big ticket items beyond Ware, if they do sign him.
Now, if you're worried about how the Broncos will re-sign Demaryius and Julius Thomas, Von Miller, Terrance Knighton, and/or Orlando Franklin next offseason, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- The cap is expected to make another significant jump next year - perhaps to the area of $145M, or an additional $12M over this year
- These estimates are based upon AAV, and chances are, the 2014 cap numbers aren't quite as high. Even if Denver doesn't tend to give out large signing bonuses anymore, there figures to be something in each deal that spreads part of the cap hit out.
- As Jason Fitzgerald pointed out the other day, Denver had only $61M in commitments for 2015 prior to today's shopping spree.
- John Elway, Mike Sullivan & Co. have been absolutely masterful at managing Denver's cap situation over the past few years, and there's no reason to think these moves change that.
The biggest elephant in the room, of course, is Peyton Manning and his $21.5M cap number in 2015 and 2016.
Even if we don't want to think about it, the reality is that Manning will be retiring one of these years. And when he does, that will free up a ton of cap space, and Denver's starting quarterback, if it's Brock Osweiler, will count for a tiny fraction of the cap.
For argument's sake, let's say Manning retires after this season (shudder).
Another $19M in cap space will be created, and Osweiler would inherit a team that's no longer financially lopsided toward the offense.
Denver would have no trouble re-signing those pending free agents, and let's not forget that the team currently holds a 2015 option on Miller, even if the Broncos beat writers choose to ignore it.
While Elway is gearing up for another SB run with Peyton, he's also keeping an eye toward Denver's Manning-less future, as he should be.
Tuesday's flurry was not a Jerry Jones- or Dan Snyder-like spate of irresponsibility.
The Broncos are still in fine cap shape, and they will be so for the foreseeable future.