Denver Broncos gear up for moves as NFL offseason officially begins

DENVER (KDVR) — Buckle up Broncos Country. Put those trays up and fasten your seat belts.

The 2024 offseason is officially here.

From salary cap gymnastics, cap conversions, cuts, trades, finding playmakers and, of course, the elephant in the room Russell Wilson, Denver’s offseason playbook will be one of the most active and interesting in the NFL.

The Broncos ride into the offseason in the red (around $25 million) in terms salary cap space. Notable free agents include center Lloyd Cushenberry, linebacker Josey Jewel, and safety P.J. Locke.

Here’s a look at five storylines to watch this offseason:

Russell Wilson and the quarterback position

Everything starts with the quarterback position. It’s the biggest and most impactful decision for the Broncos this offseason – will he stay or will he go?

The Broncos can make a decision prior to the fifth day of 2024 league year, March 12, when $37.5 million of Wilson’s contract becomes guaranteed for the 2025 season. A pre-March 17 release for Wilson would create $85 million of dead cap that can be spread over two seasons. Designating him a post-June 1 release means a $35 million hit in 2024 and $50 million dead cap hit for 2025.

If the Broncos choose to stick with Wilson, the team could renegotiate the contract. However, that is easier said than done as tensions built up to a boiling point in 2023 when head coach Sean Payton threatened and then did bench Wilson.

So, who’s up next for the Broncos under center? That will have to wait until Denver makes a final decision on Wilson.

NFL Draft

The Broncos need depth and playmakers at the right price. Look no further than the 2024 NFL draft.

The Broncos own the 12th overall pick, the first time they are slated to make a first-round pick since 2021. Will they stand pat? Trade up or down? The Broncos hold six picks in the draft.

Positions of need include quarterback, running back, wide receiver, defensive line and cornerback. The 2024 NFL draft will be held in Detroit from April 25-27.

Garett Bolles

Playing the blind side, left tackle Bolles bounced back in a big way in 2023. After playing five games in 2022, Bolles fully recovered from a fractured lower leg to be one of the most consistent starters on the offensive line.

Entering the final year of his contract (four years, $68 million), the Broncos are at a crossroad. Bolles has said he wants to be a Bronco for life. If so, the best option would be to extend the 31-year-old former first-round draft pick. If the Broncos choose to go younger and cheaper, options would be to seek a trade and then could draft a left tackle in late April. 

Wide receiver room

The Broncos need to find playmakers and most importantly at the right price. The 2023 wide receiver room was high in price at $34 million (fourth-highest in the NFL), but low in production, averaging 209 yards per game, 24th in the NFL.

Tim Patrick and Jerry Jeudy are entering the final year of their deals. Courtland Sutton has two seasons remaining on his contract (four years, $61 million) carrying a cap hit of $17 million the next two seasons. All options are on the table for the trio: cut, release, cap conversions and/or trades.

Either way, the Broncos need to clear salary cap room and the wide receiver position is where savings could come from. 

Justin Simmons

He’s the heart and soul of the Broncos defense. Look no further than the two games he missed in the 2023 season, Miami and Chicago, in which the Broncos were a mess defensively.

Simmons is entering the final year of his contract (four years, $61 million), carrying a cap hit of $18.25 million this coming season. The Broncos could extent the two-time Pro Bowl safety to lower his cap number or seek out a trade to free up more cap space.

Source: Rocky Mountain News

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