Things are tight for the Denver Broncos financially.
They enter the offseason $25.3 million over the salary cap, per Spotrac. They also have an expensive decision to make on quarterback Russell Wilson. But they can also offload some other expensive veteran contracts, such as left tackle Garett Bolles.
“Moving on from a player like that is not a decision an organization arrives at lightly,” The Athletic’s Nick Kosmider wrote on January 25. “The estimation here, though, is the Broncos have enough to gain — financially and otherwise — by making the difficult decision to turn the page at left tackle.
“Prediction: The Broncos land late-round compensation for Bolles in a trade near or during the draft.”
The Broncos selected Bolles, 31, with the No. 20 overall pick in 2017.
He bounced back from an injury-shortened 2022 campaign to start all 17 games this past season. But he has been durable in his career, missing just three games before the 2022 season.
Bolles has never earned Pro Bowl honors in seven seasons. But the Associated Press named him to their All-Pro Second Team in 2020.
He is in the final year of a four-year, $68 million contract.
The Broncos stand to save $16 million in cap space if they move on. A trade would also allow them to recoup further assets for Bolles – the No. 9 pass-blocking tackle, per Pro Football Focus – rather than let another team pick him up for nothing.
Beat Writer Predicts Broncos Trade Jerry Jeudy, Cut Tim Patrick
Kosmider also projected that the Broncos would restructure Courtland Sutton’s contract, allowing the 28-year-old to remain with the team. However, Kosmider also sees Denver trading Jerry Jeudy.
“In this scenario, it is Jeudy who is traded for an early Day 3 draft pick,” Kosmider wrote.
Jeudy, 24, had a tumultuous 2023 campaign. He had 758 yards and two scores on 54 receptions.
But the former No. 15 overall pick in 2020 could be part of a positional makeover. Moving on from Jeudy will cost the Broncos $12.9 million, perhaps paving the way for them to reconsider rather than be bombarded with various dead cap penalties.
Tim Patrick could be a different story. He has missed each of the last two seasons with injuries.
“This will all come down to an evaluation of Patrick’s health and the team’s determination as to what he could produce after two years on the sideline,” Kosmider wrote. “Prediction: After keeping Sutton, the Broncos cut Patrick as they seek more youth and speed at wide receiver.”
Russell Wilson Decision Looms Over Broncos
The decision on how to proceed with Wilson looms over a lot of what the Broncos may want to do this offseason. They will absorb an $85 million cap hit by moving on, though they can split that hit over two seasons. Moving on could also put more pressure on Head Coach Sean Payton.
“Payton had a rollercoaster season,” 33rd Team’s Jeff Diamond wrote on January 26. “Wilson rebounded under Payton … until the latter part of the season when he had a three-interception game against Houston and was benched the last two weeks.
“Wilson is now a trade-or-release candidate in the offseason, in which case Payton will be under pressure to find a quality replacement.”
The Broncos are in for an interesting offseason one way or another.
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