June 19, 2024

The Denver Broncos will need to plan ahead for if any wide receivers may need to leave before free agency opens in March, having decided not to trade away any of them during the previous season.

“Having to make decisions involving players you’ve coached is never easy,” Broncos coach Sean Payton remarked. That’s part of the process, I believe, of trying to understand this game. One of the issues that you face annually is the salary cap.

Throughout Super Bowl week, Payton compared the Broncos’ choices to a jigsaw box “that you flip over” in a number of interviews.

Russell Wilson, the quarterback, will probably be the first big domino to fall. The Broncos will incur dead money against their salary cap of $85 million over the next two seasons if they decide to dismiss Wilson, as many anticipate after Payton benched him with two games left in the season.

Wilson’s release would cast doubt on the future of a number of the Broncos’ veteran players, particularly wide receivers, even though Payton and general manager George Paton are still outlining a scenario in which Wilson stays. Payton stated multiple times last week in Las Vegas that he and Wilson have a “great relationship.”

Currently ranked sixth, seventh, and ninth among the Broncos’ top nine salary cap charges for the 2024 campaign are Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, and Jerry Jeudy. Additionally, the Broncos anticipate having $9.6 million in dead money and going over the cap by almost $24 million if it is set at $242 million for the upcoming season before they make a decision regarding Wilson.

In the last four seasons, Sutton, Patrick, and Jeudy have only played together for ten games in 2021. In the last seven years, Sutton’s 1,112-yard season in 2019 is the only 1,000-yard season from a player on the team due to the frequent changes at quarterback and on the coaching staff.

Marvin Mims Jr. was selected by the Broncos in April of last year with a second-round pick (number 63 overall). As a returner, Mims was chosen for the Pro Bowl and shown that he was prepared for increased duty the next season.

When asked about possible changes at the end of the season, Jeudy responded, “I don’t think about none of that.” “I just want to continue being consistent and to be more consistent. We’ve won the most games while I’ve been here, so that’s progress, as I mentioned to others, but it also comes down to having the appropriate players to follow the coaches’ instructions.

With a damaged right ACL in 2022 and a torn left Achilles in 2023, Patrick has missed the previous two seasons due to injuries. His contract does not guarantee him a paycheck going forward. With a $15.572 million salary cap charge for the upcoming season, the Broncos may attempt to renegotiate this contract in order to get relief from the salary cap.

According to the Roster Management System, Sutton has a cap charge of $17.325 million. Of his $14.5 million basic pay, $2 million becomes guaranteed on the fifth day of the league season. Last season, Sutton’s 10 touchdowns tied for fourth in the league. The Broncos may wish to address even a guarantee similar to Sutton’s.

League sources claim that at different times during the previous season, including the last hours before the trade deadline, Jeudy attracted the greatest trade interest. He’ll play under the rules of the Broncos’ May acquisition of a fifth-year option, which already guarantees his base pay of $12.987 million.

On Monday, Payton had scheduled roster meetings with his coaching staff, during which decisions regarding the salary cap, depth chart, and possible free agent targets would start to take shape.

As the season came to an end, Sutton remarked, “I still feel like the potential is off the charts if we’re all together.” “Everyone wants to be here and take part in the transformation when it happens. That is all that is within your power to control: the things that are under your control.

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