Broncos' Salary Cap in 2021 Could See Team Make Tough Financial Decisions

What is the Broncos' salary cap situation looking ahead to 2021? With revenue certain to drop, this team could be on the brink of some tough personnel decisions.

The NFL is in a tough situation with the ongoing pandemic. The salary cap is projected to fall in 2021 and maybe beyond, but the league and the NFLPA negotiated an agreement to limit the cap floor to $175 million next spring. 

That would represent a $23 million drop-off from the $198.2 million 2020 cap. This could put teams in a pickle, though the Denver Broncos are not in as bad of a spot as some teams.

As things currently stand, with players having opted out, the Broncos stand with over $29 million in cap space for 2020. Don't be shocked if Denver saves most of that to roll over into 2021 to help protect against the expected cap drop and other revenue shortfalls. 

One thing to remember; the two players who opted out will have their contracts resumed in 2021. Ja'Wuan James isn't cheap. 

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Outside of that, Denver sits with just over $167 million in salary cap commitments for 2021. If it drops to $175 million, that would leave the Broncos with just under $8 million in cap space, not counting any potential roll-over. 

Some of that $29 million will get used in 2020, so let's just say the Broncos roll $25 million over. That would give Denver not quite $33 million in cap space.

Sounds great but remember, the players who opted out will count on the books again in 2021, so $13 million of that goes to James but it is already accounted for in the $167M in commitments. And we can't forget setting about the $5-10 million that has to be set aside each year for the rookie draft class, and a nest egg saved for the cap. 

So, the Broncos (in this scenario) could find themselves very plausibly with just $5-10 million of actual, usable cap space in 2021. That's not great.

With this in mind, what are some options the Broncos have to help them massage the salary cap? I explore those options in the video above

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• This article was updated to correct the distinction that Ja'Wuan James' cap hit for 2021 is already factored into the Broncos' 2021 cap commitments.