Saturday, November 27, 2021

Broncos’ 2022 salary cap is staggering

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Life as an NFL general manager is a daunting balancing act of keeping a squad for the present while keeping an eye on the future – this is exactly what Denver Broncos’ first year general manager George Paton is trying to master.

And judging by the way he built a competitive roster for 2021 while leaving the cabinet generous for the 2022 salary cap, it shows that the newbie learns masterfully on the fly.

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Paton has the Broncos sitting nicely in 2022 and is ready not only to make some splashes in the free agency, but also to re-sign the team’s upcoming departures.

According to a tweet Over The Cap founder Jason Jones, a salary cap and contract expert, estimates the Broncos at $ 61.6 million in salary caps in 2022.

The new league year – and the free NFL agency – begins on March 16, 2022.

That number is expected to be the second highest total number in the NFL, just behind the Miami Dolphins ($ 64.2 million). Broncos Country will be pleased to know that Denver’s number two is dwarfing AFC West’s three rivals.

The Los Angeles Chargers are valued third in the NFL ($ 59.1 million), but the Las Vegas Raiders ($ 37 million) and the Kansas City Chiefs ($ 12.7 million) must be creative to stay competitive.

The Broncos will likely use some of their cap space to give contract extensions to players already in the roster.

That list of key players who will be on Paton’s radar includes wide receivers Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick, insider linebackers Alexander Johnson and Josey Jewell, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and running back Melvin Gordon III.

Mid-season additions like inside linebacker Kenny Young, cornerback Mike Ford and outside linebacker Stephen Weatherly are also highly regarded. Young came to Denver on the Los Angeles Rams trade in late October 2021. The teams exchanged future late-round picks, with the Rams getting a six-round player in 2024 and the Broncos along with Young a selection for the seventh round in 2024.

There was a need at the time for the Broncos hit by the injury virus in early 2021, with eight linebackers injured and six in the injured reserve – including starters Johnson and Jewell. And while Young wasn’t that excited about being a Bronco at first, now apparently he wants to be in Denver for the long term.

Ford was released from the Detroit Lions on September 1, 2021. It was placed on a short-term IR on October 16, 2021, but recently activated on November 6.

Weatherly was also brought on board in late October through a deal with Paton’s former employer, the Minnesota Vikings. He has made a solid contribution to the injury-ridden defense as he reported a sack on both of his orange and blue appearances.

The list of homegrown pending free agents above is daunting. But out of this group, two players stand out as must-characters – Wideouts Sutton and Patrick.

The former was a 2018 conscript, but since he was selected in the second round, he does not qualify for a fifth year option on his rookie deal, so he will be eligible for the unrestricted free agency after the 2021 season. The latter has a more convoluted story about his unrestricted free agency when he entered the NFL undrafted in 2017.

Patrick initially signed as an undrafted free agent with the Baltimore Ravens in May 2017, but was released in July 2017. The Broncos became his next – and hopefully last – stint when he joined the training roster on October 21, 2017.

He went through a carousel of transactions in Denver when he was then fired on November 8, 2017, re-signed a week later, and then signed a reserve / future contract with the Broncos on January 1, 2018 with a year-long freelance agent tender on April 2020 exclusive rights to the Broncos before Denver on Nov.

This maneuver by Paton helped Patrick stay on the Broncos payroll until the team was able to sign the recipient on a one-year contract for $ 3.384 million in May 2021.

And his excellence has been touted by national publications, such as by a latest tweet from Pro Football Focus.

That perseverance – and achievement – made Patrick popular with his teammates and Broncos Country. Hopefully, Paton will find a way to get his 2022 wideouts back into the mix.

Follow Tony Williams on Twitter: @ TBone8

The former was a 2018 conscript, but since he was selected in the second round, he does not qualify for a fifth year option on his rookie deal, so he will be eligible for the unrestricted free agency after the 2021 season. The latter has a more convoluted story about his unrestricted free agency when he entered the NFL undrafted in 2017.



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