I’ve seen some discussions and people worried about losing either of these guys due to the announcement that the Broncos will not sign either during the season.(which might mean that there will be an announcement of an extension at any point in time, and I’m only half joking).
If the key to real estate is location, location location, the key to salary cap management is structure, structure, structure.
I’m not worried about losing either one unless they are simply asking for too much in the eyes of John Elway. At that point, then they might price themselves out of Denver, but I don’t see that happening.
The last figures I saw on cap space from the NFLPA had the Broncos 13.6 under the current cap.
If the cap increases between a modest 5%, or a more likely 10 % the starting cap space will be have a range of 139 & change to 146 & change. If they can carry over 10 million from this year that moves it to 149-156.
Overthecap.com (the best online cap resource) has 108 million on the books for ‘15 so far, so based on the asssumptions above, that would give 41-48 million to play with.
Von Miller is on the books at 9.7. They could easily sign him to an extension that could reduce his cap hit to the 5-6 range, creating 3-4 more million in space.
If Peyton Manning were to decided that he wanted to play longer than the 2 years he has remaining on his contract, then could find immediate savings by extending him a year or two as well.
Those would be the two easiest sources to create cap space if needed for the 2015 season, but with an estimated 41-48 to play with it might not be needed, though I still find it sound to extend Von Miller after this season.
He’s one of the top receivers in the league and there are some pretty expensive contracts out there like Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald and some questionable deals like Percy Harvin and Mike Wallace. Eyes will also be looking to Dallas to see how/when they extend Dez Bryant. Demaryius has earned his payday and as long as the first year is in the 10-13 range it won’t be a horrible contract for the team. Johnson signed a 7 year deal in 2012, and restructured in ’13. That’s the beauty of these contracts is that more times than not they can be restructured in any given year to create space for a team. Ben Roethlisberger and Larry Fitzgerald are examples of this and unfortunately, when you restructure you’re pushing cap dollars into the future to create space in the current year. It happens. Any guaranteed $ will count at some point.
The current franchise tag for Wide Receivers was 12.3 million so number next year that could be used on D.Thomas would be a bit higher than that. It went up to 12.3 from 10.5 the previous year. So any deal that they can sign where his cap # is lower than or similar to that would be a decent one.
His agent might attempt go the Jimmy Graham route and argue he is more WR than TE, and they will likely analyze where he lined up and how many times he lined up in various spots like they did with Graham in determining that he actually was a tight end. The TE tag in ’14 was $7 million up from $6 million in 13, so tagging one vs. the other would show that JT can be tagged for less than DT. Graham ended up signing a 4 year 40 million dollar deal that gave him a 2014 cap hit of 4 million which was beneficial to his team, so the structure of a JT/DT contract will help dictate what amount of that 41-48 million would be left for Chris Harris, or other players Terrance Knighton, Jacob Tamme, Wes Welker, Brandon Marshall and a host of others.
A team might come along and flash money at a player that the Broncos aren’t willing to spend, and that could happen.
But for the most part, I’m not worried about losing either Thomas, Harris and or Knighton, unless someone grossly overpays for them. If that happens then so be it, you move on and go shopping elsewhere a lot like Eric Decker and Emmanuel Sanders, or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Aqib Talib.
It will be interesting to say the least.
References for those that have more interest in the subject.