Because the Denver Broncos are choosing to move away from Russell Wilson, there are lots of salary cap issues to deal with.

Cutting Wilson pre-June 1 will mean $85 million of dead cap over the next two years. But 2024 may not be as bad as some feared. According to Jason of Over the Cap, the Broncos are expected to be about $24 million over the cap this year. But, there are many options to get that number down.

That cap is expected to be $242.5 million, but hasn’t been announced yet. Let’s explore how they can do just that, field a competitive team in 2024 and truly compete for the AFC West.

Russell Wilson’s contract has offset language, could save Broncos money

Russell Wilson has handled his benching like a complete professional. Not only has he said he wants to continue to play for the Broncos, but he was encouraging teammates from the sideline the last two weeks.

Denver’s lucky Wilson is playing the part of good sport because the team has to hope he signs with a new team in 2024 after they cut him.

According to Spotrac, Wilson’s contract has offset language. And however much he signs for will be deducted from what Denver has to pay him this year.

So, that’s the first and most obvious place the Broncos can save some money. If he signs with a new team, even for a one-year deal of say, $20 million, that would reduce Denver’s cap number on him to $15.4M.

And, that move alone would get Denver close to their 2024 cap goal.

But there are many more moves they could made to save money this offseason.

Broncos will likely look to restructure some contracts, cut others

When looking at the Broncos current salary situation, Wilson’s pay is far and away the most for any player.

His, and the next-highest cap numbers are as follows, per Spotrac:

  1. Russell Wilson, $35.4M
  2. Garret Bolles, $20M
  3. Zach Allen, $19M
  4. Mike McGlinchey, $18.5M
  5. Justin Simmons, $18.25M
  6. Courtland Sutton, $17.325M
  7. Tim Patrick, $16.07M
  8. Ben Powers, $15.25M
  9. D.J. Jones, $12.98M
  10. Jerry Jeudy, $12.98M option

Some options are better than others, but most of the players mentioned here could help the Broncos hit that $242.5M salary cap target.

First off, there’s defensive lineman Zach Allen. He signed a huge, 3-year deal for $46M last offseason. The Broncos can’t cut him, but they could ask him to restructure his deal. He played 80.2% of snaps, had only five sacks and one forced fumble.

Next up is right tackle Mike McGlinchey in a similar situation. He underperformed all season long, but the Broncos have him signed through 2027. It seems likely they’ll ask him to restructure and push some of his pay back, but will he play ball?

Now, in terms of players with potential outs this year, superstar safety Justin Simmons, No. 1 wideout Courtland Sutton, and key receiver Tim Patrick all could be cut for relatively low numbers. The Broncos would save $14.5M by cutting Simmons, but that seems incredibly unlikely. He’s the leader of the defense and a huge piece of the community, too.

Denver could save $9.7M by cutting Sutton, but a trade seems more likely. And it’d be a $10M savings to cut Patrick, which is the most likely of the three to see that happen. Patrick is one of the most sure-handed receivers in the NFL, but he also missed all of 2023 with a torn Achilles he suffered in preseason.

And, the Broncos can’t just get rid of all their receivers, right?

The team is at a crossroads with Jerry Jeudy; he has a $12.98M option on the table. Does Denver think it’s worth keeping the underperforming, former first-round pick on the team? It’s also possible the Broncos sign him and then trade him.

Finally from that list is D.J. Jones. Jones has been decent but not great at nose tackle and Denver would pick up $10M toward their cap space if they cut him.

So, it’s relatively easy to see how the Broncos can get under the cap in 2024, however, there are a lot of unknowns. They can’t just barely get under that cap number, they’ll also have to sign many players to fill roster spots.

As it sits right now, they have 44 players signed for 2024. Their draft picks are expected to cost around $3.5M, and there will likely be many free agents joining the roster, too.

This is likely going to be an exciting and extremely challenging offseason for Sean Payton and his GM George Paton, unless the Broncos move to a new GM. Keep in mind, though, the salary cap can be manipulated, as can contracts. Denver will find a way to make it work.