Broncos Now Rank in Top-6 in Cap Space in Wake of Ja'Wuan James' Opt-Out
The Denver Broncos weren't expecting to have a salary cap windfall of $13-plus million before the 2020 regular season opened but that's what happened when right tackle Ja'Wuan James decided to opt-out citing pandemic concerns.
Due to the newly-amended CBA, the entirety of James' 2020 cap hit falls off the books and is pushed into 2021. So with the regular season now barely more than a month away, where does that leave the Broncos in cap space?
According to Over The Cap, the Broncos have $29,651,259 in cap space. That ranks Denver sixth in the NFL in available cap.
It begs the question; what will the Broncos do with all that newfound cap space? The rookie class is accounted for and all the free-agent acquisitions have been paid.
The answer? The Broncos will peel off a fraction of that money to fill the offensive tackle hole created by James' opt-out. Free-agent OT Demar Dotson will be visiting the Broncos and taking a physical. If everything is up to snuff, he figures to account for at least a couple million dollars.
Even if Dotson commands $5-6M, it'll still leave the Broncos with a nice chunk of change to use in the event of an injury striking the roster elsewhere. However, beyond adding some proven offensive tackle depth, I wouldn't expect GM John Elway to spend much of that cap space.
Denver can roll over whatever remaining cap it has at the end of the season and carry it forward into 2021. Remember, with NFL revenues sure to plummet in 2020 due to fan attendance being curtailed at best and eliminated at worst, teams are having to be a little more cautious and frugal with their money.
The cap can go no lower than $175M next year and if the Broncos roll upwards of $20M into it, it'll give the club some flexibility that not all teams will have. For that reason, don't expect Elway to suddenly go on a spending spree to account for James' $13M coming off the 2020 books.
UPDATE: The Broncos have indeed signed Dotson to a one-year deal worth up to $3M. We don't know the exact details of his deal quite yet but at worst, he'll only account for $3M, leaving the Broncos with plenty of wiggle room on the cap and $26-plus million in space.