Broncos 2014 Salary Cap: Breaking Down Overall, Position-Specific Cap Space

Cecil LammeyContributor IJanuary 15, 2014

Broncos 2014 Salary Cap: Breaking Down Overall, Position-Specific Cap Space

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    The Denver Broncos' 2014 salary-cap situation is better than most other teams across the league. They have quite a bit of money to spend once free agency is open. However, the Broncos also have key big-money free agents they’ll have to decide whether or not they can afford their services in 2014 (and beyond).

    Here is a position-by-position look at where the Broncos are currently committed to spending their cap space in 2014.

Overall Salary Cap Space

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    According to OverTheCap.com—referenced throughout this article—the Denver Broncos have somewhere in the vicinity of $11.6 million in cap space available to them. They project the Broncos' cap ceiling to be $133.4 million due to some carryover funds from 2013.

    As I mentioned in an earlier Broncos cap breakdown, the Broncos will quickly see that space evaporate with their own free agents. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie might get a long-term deal from the Broncos, but guys like Eric Decker or Knowshon Moreno may be relocating this spring.

Quarterbacks

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    Total 2014 Salary-Cap Figure: $18.9 million

    Highest 2014 Cap Number: $17.5 million (Peyton Manning)

    Most Likely to Be Cut: None

    The Denver Broncos are set at the quarterback position. They have a superstar with Peyton Manning, a quarterback of the future in Brock Osweiler and a developmental quarterback in Zac Dysert.

    They’re most likely to add another quarterback as a camp arm, but their top three are essentially set. Osweiler is seen as the heir apparent to Manning, and the team will continue to build him as their future starter. Dysert is a favorite of Vice President of Football Operations John Elway, and he should stick on the roster even though he showed poorly in limited preseason snaps as a rookie.

Running Backs

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    Total 2014 Salary-Cap Figure: $4.1 million

    Highest 2014 Cap Number: $807,708 (Ronnie Hillman)

    Most Likely to Be Cut: Ronnie Hillman

    The Denver Broncos have a group of inexpensive running backs. They may not have enough money to keep Knowshon Moreno around in 2014. This makes Montee Ball the lead back with Ronnie Hillman as the primary backup.

    Hillman is the most expensive back on the roster in 2014, but he has fallen out of favor with the coaching staff. He spent the 2013 offseason getting around 75 percent of the first-team work, but lost the starting job in the preseason with three fumbles. If he doesn’t earn the trust of the staff with better ball security, the team could choose to let him go.

    C.J. Anderson could be the third-string back if the team keeps Hillman. The Broncos may add another reserve running back to the mix through the draft or free agency.

Wide Receivers

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    Total 2014 Salary-Cap Figure: $11.7 million

    Highest 2014 Cap Number: $8 million (Wes Welker)

    Most Likely to Be Cut: None

    Like the running back position, this cap figure could be different if the Broncos keep a big-money free agent. Eric Decker could command $10 million or more per year as he’s likely the top free-agent receiver in this class.

    Welker is the most expensive wide receiver on the roster in 2014. He's become an integral part of the Broncos' high-powered offense.

    The team will need to sign Demaryius Thomas to a new deal after the 2014 season. This impending contract could cause the team to stay out of the Decker sweepstakes if the price gets too rich.

    They’ll add a small group of wide receivers to compete for a reserve spot in training camp. Gerell Robinson is on the practice squad, but the team has now listed him as a tight end.

Tight Ends

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    Total 2014 Salary-Cap Figure: $8.069 million

    Highest 2014 Cap Number: $3.5 million (Jacob Tamme)

    Most Likely to Be Cut: Jacob Tamme or Joel Dreessen

    The Broncos are going to do some cleanup at this position. As of right now, Jacob Tamme is the most expensive tight end on the roster. His salary is followed closely by Joel Dreessen. Both could be asked to restructure their contract, or both could be cut.

    Julius Thomas is the star here. He made the Pro Bowl in 2013, and he has incredible upside as one of the best young tight ends in the game today. Virgil Green will continue to work as primarily a blocking tight end.

Offensive Line

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    Total 2014 Salary-Cap Figure: $27.6 million

    Highest 2014 Cap Number: $8.6 million (Ryan Clady)

    Most Likely to Be Cut: none

    Ryan Clady signed a big long-term deal in July of last year. In 2013, the team also signed center Manny Ramirez and swing tackle Chris Clark to new contracts as well. Louis Vasquez was a free-agent addition in the 2013 offseason, and he was a key part of the line. Orlando Franklin still has one more year left on his contract.

    The Broncos will have to decide if they want to keep Zane Beadles around. With contracts needed for free agents like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eric Decker, the Broncos may have Beadles at third on their priority list.

Defensive Line

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    Total 2014 Salary-Cap Figure: $10.1 million

    Highest 2014 Cap Number: $2.7 million (Terrance Knighton)

    Most Likely to Be Cut: none

    Terrance Knighton was a great addition in the 2013 offseason. He had a bounce-back season after getting benched by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012.

    Kevin Vickerson is set to make nearly as much ($2.5 million) as Knighton, but age and injury might be catching up with him. “Big Vick” missed most of the 2013 season with a hip injury.

    2013 first-round pick Sylvester Williams had an up-and-down rookie season. He seemed to get better as the season went on, and Williams has incredible upside.

    Young defensive ends like Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson may be asked to do more since the team could lose Robert Ayers in free agency.

Linebackers

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    Total 2014 Salary-Cap Figure: $9.59 million

    Highest 2014 Cap Number: $3.2 million (Von Miller)

    Most Likely to Be Cut: None

    In 2014, Von Miller will be in the final year of his rookie contract. The team has him signed to an affordable price, but he will need to prove himself after durability and a suspension cut his 2013 short.

    Wesley Woodyard may not come back as he’s set to hit free agency. This means Danny Trevathan could have a larger role. Nate Irving will go back to being a reserve player when/if Miller is healthy.

    The Broncos should continue trying to find their starting middle linebacker. They haven’t been the same at the position since losing “Smoke Dog” Al Wilson to a career-ending neck injury.

Secondary

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    Total 2014 Salary-Cap Figure: $15.8 million

    Highest 2014 Cap Number: $10 million (Champ Bailey)

    Most Likely to Be Cut: Champ Bailey

    The Broncos have to make some important decisions here. First, they must decide whether or not they want to sign Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to a lucrative free-agent contract.

    Champ Bailey has a $10 million cap number in 2014, but there is zero guaranteed money left. This means the Broncos could cut him without any sort of cap penalty. Essentially, they cut Bailey and immediately add $10 million to their available salary cap.

    Chris Harris is a restricted free agent, but no other teams may show much interest as he was lost for the season with an ACL injury in the divisional round of the 2013 playoffs. Harris will spend most of the offseason recovering from this injury, and there’s no guarantee that he’ll be ready by the start of training camp.

    The Broncos will have to decide if they want to bring Mike Adams back in 2014. They will also closely monitor the health of Rahim Moore. His season was cut short by a rare lower-leg injury.

Specialists

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    Total 2014 Salary-Cap Figure: $7.7 million

    Highest 2014 Cap Number: $3.8 million (Matt Prater)

    Most Likely to Be Cut: none

    Matt Prater and Britton Colquitt are two of the best in the league at their respective positions. They are valuable assets for the team, and both are worth the money they are paid.

    Long snapper Aaron Brewer gives the team good value at the position.