Four players the Broncos hosted for tryouts in December signed reserve-future contracts Monday as the team began cobbling together its roster for the coming year.
Wide receivers Jace Davis and DeVier Posey, running back Cyrus Gray and defensive back B.J. Lowery signed their deals with the Broncos. They will not officially join the team’s roster until after Super Bowl 50.
Posey is most notable for being a 3rd round pick of the Texans in 2012 when Gary Kubiak was with the team. He was traded to the Jets in 2015 and failed to make their roster, spending the rest of the year out of football. Gray, who had a standout career at Kubiak’s alma mater (Texas A&M), was a 6th round pick of the Chiefs, also in 2012. Like Posey, Gray also spent 2015 out of football in the wake of recovering from a torn ACL.
One of the first things teams will do upon immediate conclusion of the regular season (playoff bound or not) is to retain low level street free agents in anticipation building next year’s 90 man roster. In the Broncos’ case, this year is important to track futures deals for purposes of the 2016 salary cap. Before the regular season, the Broncos were tied with the Seahawks for the fewest players under contract for 2016, at 32. Remember that the offseason cap is measured as the top 51 players under contract, so the next 19 players the Broncos add will all count, even if they are low-level futures deals. And in the case of Posey and Gray, since they already have three accrued seasons they will cost more than your typical futures signee, even at a likely veteran minimum.
Here’s the total minimum amount that these four players will cost:
Whenever the Broncos’ season ends, expect their entire 10-man practice squad to revert to 2016’s 90-man roster via futures contracts as well. Of those ten, none should have an accrued season, so re-adding those ten against the cap should come out to $4,500,000. That would leave only five more players to add to get to 51, at a minimum of $2,250,000.
In sum, that means that you’ll likely see the Broncos’ 2016 cap space go down about $9 million by around the time their season is over, meaning their current estimate of about $26.5 million (including a $6.2 million carryover from 2015) will go down to about $17.5 million–making things tighter for what will be a challenging offseason ahead for John Elway.