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Here are the players the Broncos likely can’t cut this offseason due to their contracts

Zac Stevens Avatar
February 25, 2021

With a hard salary cap, every year is a challenge for NFL teams to build their roster and stay under the salary cap. This year will be even more difficult with the salary cap going down due to COVID-19.

In order to keep Denver below the expected $180 million salary cap, tough decisions will need to be made on many of the Broncos’ current players. George Paton has already made two of those decisions by moving on from A.J. Bouye earlier in the month and Jurrell Casey on Thursday. However, there are a handful of players that are safe thanks to their contracts.

Here are the players Paton and the Broncos can’t cut to save cap space.

Ja’Wuan James

Cap hit in 2021: $13 million

Dead cap: $19 million

Change to cap if cut: $6 million loss

Since becoming the highest-paid right tackle in NFL history in the 2019 offseason, Ja’Wuan James has played 63 total snaps for the Broncos. Despite that, James won’t be going anywhere based on his contract.

Once James opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, his $13 million cap hit and $19 million in dead money were pushed to the 2021 season. With the salary cap already tight this upcoming season, it wouldn’t make sense to move on from James at an additional $6 million.

However, after 2021, the Broncos could easily move on from James with his dead cap dropping to just $6 million in 2022.

Graham Glasgow

Cap hit in 2021: $12 million

Dead cap: $17.4 million

Change to cap if cut: $5.4 million loss

Denver’s highest-paid free agent in 2019 didn’t live up to the high expectations he had with his four-year, $44 million contract, but he was certainly good enough to stay around another year regardless of his contract. Glasgow’s contract guarantees he’ll get another year.

Much like James, if Paton wanted to move on from Glasgow, next year would be the time. Additionally, much like James again, his dead cap drops from over $17 million this year to just $6 million next year.

The right side of Denver’s offensive line isn’t going anywhere this year. But a lot is on the line for James and Glasgow in 2021 to prove they should stay around for the future.

Brandon McManus

Cap hit in 2021: $4.5 million

Dead cap: $6 million

Change to cap if cut: $1.5 million loss

Brandon McManus had an up-and-down season in 2020 after signing a four-year, $17.2 million contract extension three days before the start of the season.

On one hand, McManus tied the NFL record for hitting 10 field goals of more than 50 yards. On the other hand, however, McManus’ nine missed field goals and extra points were the most he’s missed in a single year in his career.

Saying that, there will be no penny pinching when it comes to Denver’s kicker as McManus will be back in 2021.

Garett Bolles

Cap hit in 2021: $5 million

Dead cap: $17 million

Change to cap if cut: $12 million loss

Less than a year ago, the Broncos declined Garett Bolles’ fifth-year option, turning down an opportunity to keep Bolles on the roster for the 2021 season.

After a remarkable turnaround to his career, the Broncos don’t have any choice on if their franchise left tackle will be on the roster in 2021 after signing Bolles to a four-year, $68 million contract extension near the end of the season.

Of course, the Broncos don’t want to move on from Bolles. They want to keep him to the tune of $17 million per year.

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