Predicting Broncos’ Roster Moves Leading Into New League Year

We are less than two weeks away from the official start of the new league year in the NFL. It will effectively kick off a whirlwind of roster moves by every team in the league. George Paton, when speaking at the Combine, talked about how the Denver Broncos will be much quieter than they were last year when signing new players, but that doesn’t mean it will be a quiet offseason across the next couple of weeks.

Broncos Twitter is not having it with this team - Mile High Report

Recently Mike Klis tweeted: “Expect Broncos to start housecleaning their roster next week. Contract restructures, conversions, maybe a release or two. Got to get cap straight so they’re ready for Free Agency, that essentially opens on Monday, March 11. Team has many of its own Free Agents it wants to sign back.”

I am not going to quite start guessing when it comes to free agents the Broncos plan to sign this offseason, but when it comes to who Mike Klis is talking about, here is my best guess of what the Broncos hope to accomplish over the next couple of weeks leading up to the start of the new league year.

I think this is the easiest area to guess who the Broncos are cutting, but it is a little tricky to figure out how they are going to divide up, especially the one contract in Russell Wilson.

Russell Wilson: It does seem like the divorce between Wilson and the Broncos is coming sooner rather than later. If they take on all his cap hit this year, then there will need to be more cuts, trades, and restructures done to account for the extra dead money. I am hoping the Broncos just pull off the band-aid and take on the entire contract this year. They can still make other contracts work with them knowing they have plenty of cap space open next year, and can design all contracts to have bigger hits in 2025 and 2026 to keep a competitive team on the field this year and beyond.

DJ Jones: He was brought in with the reputation of being a great run stuffer up the middle but struggled to live up to that this past season. The Broncos can save close to $10 million by cutting him, and I think they can find someone cheaper to accomplish what they expected from him.

Tim Patrick: I have yet to meet a Bronco fan, player, or coach who doesn’t love this guy. The problem is paying a player decent money for his position when he hasn’t played in two years because of injuries. I expect the two sides to still negotiate after he is cut to see if there is a way, they can come up with an incentive-driven contract to keep him around. The Broncos can save $9.5 million against the cap by making this move.

Jarrett Stidham: I know the Broncos tried to talk him up at the end of the season as wanting to see if he is part of their future, but he did not quite do enough to keep him around at his current contract. I think the Broncos can find a decent backup quarterback for cheaper and save around $5 million against the cap.

Tremon Smith: This contract made little sense to me when they signed him, and it makes less sense to me for the Broncos to keep him around for another season. He doesn’t offer much beyond helping on special teams, and even there, I question how much of an impact he made compared to a replacement-level player coming in for him. The Broncos can save another $2.5 million by cutting him.

Contract Restructures/Extension
Courtland Sutton: I expect only one of Sutton or Jerry Jeudy to be back this upcoming season. Sutton proved to be the more valuable of the two, and if the Broncos are bringing in a possible rookie quarterback to start, then I wouldn’t get rid of the one truly reliable receiver on this roster.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Broncos converted most of his base salary this year to a signing bonus, then added an extra year onto his deal to help spread out his cap hit and get some immediate relief. The Broncos could save about $10 million easily by making this move before the new league year.

Garett Bolles: A few weeks ago, it seemed like the Broncos and Bolles were destined to be moving on from one another. Plenty of media were speculating that with the tight cap crunch for the Broncos, they could be looking to move Bolles and hopefully get a bit of draft capital back in return.

That could still happen, but I think in the long run, the two sides decide to work on an extension, and he stays around for a few more years. The last thing the Broncos want to do is bring in a rookie quarterback and have his backside protector an unknown heading into this next season. With an extension, the Broncos could lower Bolles’ cap hit this year by around $12 million.

Wil Lutz: Sean Payton has a soft spot for Lutz, being his kicker wherever he goes. There is a level of trust here (whether it has been truly earned or not is up for discussion), but I cannot see the Broncos letting him walk this offseason. His contract will not cost a ton, so I expect him back in orange and blue.

Michael Burton: I know for many, this move will not get people jumping up for joy, but I would argue that Burton was a nice bright spot on the roster last season. I think there is an argument for him having played as a top-3 fullback in the NFL this past season.

Mike Purcell: One could argue that the defensive line is the second biggest need on the roster behind the quarterback. Purcell played some of his best football of the season down the stretch and will not cost a lot to bring back. I could see the Broncos offering him a non-guaranteed contract and telling him he has to battle for a roster spot with whoever else they bring in to try and fix the defensive line.

Lil’Jordan Humphrey: I could see the Broncos signing back a few end-of-the-roster type guys on non-guaranteed contracts. It helps the Broncos not go into the draft with obvious holes at so many positions but also protects them if a younger player comes in and beats them out. Humphrey played five of his top six games of the season when it comes to snap count to close out the year. Payton seems to stick with players he knows, so I think Humphrey stands a good chance of being back on this roster.

Bottom Line
This is my prediction of the moves taking place over the next two weeks ramping up to the new league year. The Broncos will be busy, especially if they decide to take on the entire $85 million dead money hit of Wilson’s contract.

It will make things tough for this upcoming year, but like I said, the Broncos can design quite a few contracts to make it work and still field a competitive team if they can find someone who can play quarterback at a competent level or higher.

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