Not each deal will be successful in the NFL business. Every transaction—including trades, free agent signings, and coaching hires—has the potential to go wrong. Large sums of money are frequently still due after that.
Like all of the other 31 teams in the league, the Denver Broncos have some players who are no longer on the team but are still receiving salary from the organisation. Based on its salary limit, the league refers to this situation as “dead money”.
The teams with the worst salary cap situations are frequently the ones with the most dead money on their books. According to Over the cap, the Broncos now have around $12 million in dead money on their books.
Here, we’ll take a closer look at the five players who will have the biggest impact on the team’s 2023 dead-money issue.
1. Wide Receiver K.J. Hamler: $687,661
K.J. Hamler was released by the Broncos this offseason after it was learned that the former second-round pick already had a cardiac problem.
Even though it was suggested at the time that Hamler might return in the future, the team is still obligated to pay him for this season. Hamler will end his career in Denver with just 42 receptions with 620 yards and three touchdowns, despite having been a high draft pick there.
At some time in the middle of this season, Hamler will probably try to get back into football shape before seeing if he can join a squad. If not, he might make a bid to rejoin the league in 2024.
He had enough talent right out of college, particularly his speed, that made him a top pick at just 24 years old. If he wants to continue playing, there will be some interest.
2. Defensive end Jacob Martin: $1 million
Last November, the Broncos acquired Jacob Martin through a trade, and the front staff made a mistake.
The Broncos gave the New York Jets a fourth-round pick in the same draught in exchange for Martin and a fifth-round pick in 2024. Martin, an Aurora native, appeared in only five games for the Broncos and recorded one sack.
He was released by the Broncos over the offseason, and a few weeks later, he signed with the Houston Texans. His second stay in Houston was at the time.
The Texans made the decision to release Martin as they reduced their roster to 53 players. He was still signed by the Indianapolis Colts two days later. This season, he will represent them while also receiving another $1 million from Denver.
3. Kicker Brandon McManus: $1.2 million
Brandon McManus was released by the Broncos this offseason, and it appears that more than just money was a factor in that decision.
Elliott Fry and Brett Maher were both tried out by the team as kickers, but neither one was chosen, therefore Wil Lutz was acquired from the New Orleans Saints in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2024. Because it is still paying McManus just over $1 million for this season, the organisation is hoping that Lutz will be a reliable replacement at that position.
Given how many clubs recycle through kickers in today’s league, McManus, who is No. 2 on the team’s all-time scoring list, has been the kicker since 2014.
Riley Patterson was immediately released by the Jacksonville Jaguars in retaliation to McManus’ signing two days after his release from Denver.
If Lutz falters, the Broncos made a bad choice because McManus, while having a difficult 2022 season, is still one of the league’s best kickers and still has one of the strongest legs.
4. Cornerback Ronald Darby, $3 million
The fact that Ronald Darby was a terrible free-agent contracting for the Broncos doesn’t diminish the reality that he may have had some successful years in the league.
The majority of that was due to injuries he had during his two seasons with the organisation, but even when healthy, he didn’t justify the three-year, $30 million contract he agreed to before the season in 2021.
He only played 16 games for the team in all, but he made 67 tackles and forced a fumble. There were none. The organisation will be paying $3 million in dead money on that contract this season even though he didn’t really do anything noteworthy.
Darby, who is currently 29 years old, has signed a contract with the Baltimore Ravens and will be a backup cornerback for that squad.
5. Offensive lineman Graham Glasgow: $3 million
The Broncos’ Graham Glasgow wasn’t a poor player, but it became apparent throughout the offseason that the team needed to reduce his pay in order to free up money under the quota. The team invested heavily on the offensive line this offseason, giving both Mike McGlinchey and Ben Powers enormous salaries.
McGlinchey and Powers match Sean Payton’s preferred power-running style, so even though the Broncos will fork out $3 million to Glasgow, they’re probably delighted to accept the move.
Prior to the 2020 season, Glasgow signed with the Broncos as a free agent. During his time in Denver, he did experience some injuries, and in 2021, he only played seven games. In 2022, he really improved by having a strong season for the team.
But it was evident that a change was necessary when the team hired a new head coach and took a different course. Glasgow signed with the Detroit Lions, the team that selected him, a week after the Broncos released him.
This year, Glasgow will start at guard for the Lions.
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