I hope everyone has enjoyed three weeks of glee with the Broncos as Super Bowl champions. That’s because for next week, from Leap Day through next Sunday, there will be much business and decisions to be made Denver before the lead-up to free agency. These moves will likely contain good and bad news for the Broncos, but nonetheless we should be doubly aware of what’s going on. Thus, I’ve built a cheat sheet beyond the fold to track what needs to be addressed before Monday, March 7, when negotiations with other teams can open up in advance of the official start of free agency on March 9.
As GrizzlyB noted earlier, the 2016 salary cap will be at $155.27 million. ESPN’s Field Yates has also delivered the franchise and transition tags for this year. Follow the link for all of them, but for the franchise tags even remotely relevant to the Broncos, it would be $14.129 million at linebacker (Von Miller), $15.701 million at defensive end (Malik Jackson), and $19.953 million at quarterback (Brock Osweiler). Transition tags at DE and QB are respectively $12.734 million and $17.696 million, of which I suppose you could make a faint argument for Jackson or Osweiler.
And finally, Jason Fitzgerald gives us a calculation for the restricted free agent tenders:
RFA Tenders should now be:
1st rnd- $3.635M
— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) February 27, 2016
The consensus, at least here at Thin Air, is that Brandon Marshall is likely to get a first round tender, and CJ Anderson to receive a second round tender, with it being unlikely that any other pending RFAs would receive any tender.
I’ve put together a few tweets from various Denver Broncos beat reporters who talked to John Elway during an NFL combine presser about the team’s approach to the offseason. They are after the jump and have comments from me about what they really mean.
With Ian Rapoport reporting that the Broncos are working aggressively to get a long-term contract completed for Von Miller, I wanted to examine what this would mean in terms of how the Broncos manage their 2016 cap situation.
The short answer is that, by signing Miller to an extension now, the Broncos can reduce his cap charge for this year by putting more of his first-year salary into a signing bonus, whereas by using the tag on him, they can put more of his first-year salary into the space committed to the tag and keep his signing bonus low.
While keeping a player’s signing bonus as low as possible is ideal for ensuring any dead money hits for cutting a player early are minimal, sometimes you’re OK with giving the player a larger signing bonus if he has proven he is worth committing to for the long term.
Continue reading Why Extending Von Miller Now Makes Sense
But as the NFL gathers in Indianapolis for the annual scouting combine, head coaches and general managers don’t expect the draft to be a quick fix for any teams looking to improve their offensive line.
Most of the best college offensive linemen, including multiple players who will be drafted in the first round, are considered NFL projects.
The college game now is just too different, NFL executives said, and players are entering the league with so much to learn.