What’s the Broncos’ cap situation after two days?

Let's take a look at where Denver's flurry of activity appears to have left them in terms of the cap.

They've so far added Wes Welker, Louis Vasquez, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Terrance Knighton, and Stewart Bradley.

Kevin Vickerson and David Bruton have been retained, while Ryan Clady, Tony Carter, Britton Colquitt, Mitch Unrein, Chris Clark, and Lance Ball were tendered, and count against the cap no matter whether they've signed (Clady hasn't).

To this point, D.J. Williams and Caleb Hanie were cut.

Where does that put the Broncos?

It's unclear, because the details of several contracts have not yet been publicized, and we wouldn't be surprised to later learn that a veteran has already restructured his deal.

But all appearances are that Denver is currently right up against the cap. They can't be over, so that's not a concern.

We know relief is on its way, in the form of either a restructure or release of Elvis Dumervil by tomorrow night. In the case of a rework, figure about $5M-6M of wiggle room. Cutting him outright would free up $8.754M.

It's been plainly obvious for months now that Joe Mays isn't in the team's plans for 2013, although he's owed $500K in guarantees. If the Broncos cut him, they'll free up around $3,333,333. Reducing his salary to the mininum would probably free $3M in space.

The Vasquez signing tells us that Chris Kuper's days are numbered, unless he takes a substantial cut. Releasing him would provide $2,669,664 in cap relief, although complicating the timing of a move is his rehabilitation from ankle surgery.

Other names to consider are Willis McGahee ($2M in cap relief), Andre Caldwell ($900K), Jacob Hester ($715K), and IAOFM pet Matt Prater ($875K).

About $4M will need to be set aside for the rookie pool, but even while allowing for that, addressing the Dumervil, Mays, and Kuper situations will easy free up enough space for Denver to be comfortably under the cap.

They'll even have room to make more acquisitions in the coming days, and we know an answer is coming with Dumervil by tomorrow night at the latest.

Reworking the deals of Peyton Manning and Champ Bailey would offer more relief, but that's not a recommendable path, and would be a diversion from Denver's responsible handling of their cap.


It's important to note that with the league year having started, team salary caps are now accounted under the Top 51 rule, which means that as one player is removed from the payroll, another one takes his place among the team's 51 most expensive deals (in terms of 2013 cap hit). The Top 51 rule is only in effect during the offseason - during the season, all salaries count toward each team's cap.

Let's take Mays as an example, since Dumervil's situation is a bit murkier today.

If and when Mays is released, that will be a cap savings of $3,333,333, as noted above.

But under Top 51 accounting, that will pull another player onto the cap, likely someone at the 2013 minimum salary of $405K. Let's say it's defensive end Jeremy Beal, who's set to earn just that salary.

Mays goes off the cap, Beal replaces him, and the net cap savings ($3,333,333-$405,000) is $2,928,333.

Once all of the contract information is in, and the Denver cap situation clears up, we'll be using this method to explain how much room each move frees up for the Broncos.

As always, we'll keep you posted.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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