Denver Broncos | News

Mason's Mailbag: Elway, Broncos still in good cap shape for future

As always, you can tweet questions to me with the hashtag #AskMase or use the submission form to your right (if you're viewing on a standard browser) or at the bottom of the page if you're on the mobile site.

**

With the re-signing of players like Von Miller and Brandon Marshall, how can we re-sign people like Emmanuel Sanders and Darian Stewart with our salary cap being so low?**

-- Caleb Rabon

First, it's not low.

According to overthecap.com, the Broncos have $39.379 million in salary-cap space for 2017 with a projected cap of $166 million (and that includes the commitment if they pick up the option on left tackle Russell Okung). That gives them more cap space than 18 other teams are projected to have right now. So if they want both Sanders and Stewart, there is room.

It will be crucial for the Broncos to hit on as many draft picks and other young acquisitions as possible so they don't need to gobble up what is left of the cap space to fill holes that are not yet projected.

There's every reason to believe that John Elway and his staff can do this. If you look at their potential base package starting lineup at this point, it includes at least 13 players who have never started for another NFL team. (If Paxton Lynch or Trevor Siemian earn the quarterback job and if Shane Ray or Shaquil Barrett start at outside linebacker with DeMarcus Ware assuming a rotational role, that spikes to 15 of 22 starters on offense or defense -- and that doesn't even include Bradley Roby, who plays more than half of the downs.)

If the success of Elway and his scouting staff at finding contributors through all avenues continues, the Broncos should keep winning, should be in good cap position and should become an even more homegrown team than they arena.

But for now, the Broncos are in a very healthy cap spot.

Elway has stated repeatedly that re-signing Sanders is the next priority, and there is plenty of room for that. Other moves could be made to create more cap space, if needed.

**

Do you think it will be detrimental to the Broncos to give Von Miller all he wants on his contract? If he has all the front end loaded guaranties and gets hurt again, won't it adversely impact the Broncos ability to sign other players?**

-- Roger Mackey

No, because you don't have the significant cap figure devoted to the quarterback position that most teams have.

One ancillary benefit of being unable to re-sign Brock Osweiler and eventually draft Paxton Lynch was in the cash and cap savings. From a cash perspective, the Broncos could save $62.5 million over the next four years if both Osweiler and Lynch play out their contracts.

There are 17 quarterbacks in the league whose average annual outlay is at least $18 million. If Lynch or Trevor Siemian ends up seizing the long-term starting job, the Broncos won't have to worry about this sort of commitment for the next three years (and if Lynch becomes the long-term quarterback, their years with a cost-controlled quarterback will extend through 2020 because of the fifth-year option on first-round picks, if the Broncos exercise it).

Miller will have an annual cap figure in the range of the quarterbacks of more than half the teams. And aside from the quarterback, pass rusher is the only position where you can rationalize that sort of outlay, because it will be his job to disrupt those high-salaried quarterbacks. It's something he does exceptionally well, as evidenced by his dominant performances at the expense of Tom Brady and Cam Newton last winter.

**

Do you think the primary sub package (nickel) on defense will feature three safeties; T.J. Ward, Darian Stewart and Justin Simmons with Ward playing in the box, or do you see only two safeties with Corey Nelson or Todd Davis next to Marshall in the box?**

-- Miguel Castillo

The three-safety alignment with Ward in the box worked so well last year that keeping it is the first option. Look for Shiloh Keo to get a look in the role just because of his experience, but if Simmons continues to progress as he did during OTAs, that job could be his.

Simmons' skill set is similar to that of David Bruton Jr.. Like Bruton, Simmons is a smart player who covers a lot of ground and can break quickly on the ball. The similarities extend to his capabilities on special teams. However, Simmons is still a rookie, and needs experience, repetitions and lots of study time to get himself up to speed for a potentially expansive role.

Hey Andrew, I was wondering why the Broncos don't really seem to get the respect they deserve as a team. Last season the Broncos were doubted all throughout the postseason and end of the regular season. They don't seem to be getting much love this offseason either. Why do you think that is?

-- Riley Stringer

Probably because the Broncos won in a way few teams have in this quarterback-centric age: with a dominant defense carrying an offense that struggled at times and with a lot of close wins. Seattle's defense in 2013 was an all-timer, but there wasn't the same doubt in part because Russell Wilson was racking up a 26-to-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio as the Seahawks won by comfortable margins.

As for the lack of love this offseason from some, again, it's back to the era of football we're in, and how it's all about the quarterback -- where the Broncos have a competition, and, thus, a question mark. Few teams have replaced a slam-dunk Hall of Fame quarterback without at least a momentary hiccup.

But the Broncos defied convention with the style in which they won their championship last year. There are always exceptions to overarching trends. Why can't they be an exception again?

**

Now that Mark Sanchez is the new quarterback for the Denver Broncos, what are the chances he gets a nickname called "Mark Franchise" of the Denver Broncos?**

-- Ahmed Chowdhury

If you want to earn a name like that, you've got to play well. If he earns the starting job and has a career year, maybe, but I think that kind of play would merit a more creative nickname than that, especially since he's been referred to as "The Sanchize" by some since the moment he entered the NFL.

Nevertheless, let's see him actually earn the No. 1 job and succeed before we start worrying about nicknames.

Who are the new 2016 Broncos captains?

-- Callen Marks

They'll be announced just before the regular season.

I don't agree with your assessment of the Denver Broncos blue jersey. I think the poll you took was biased. I have been a fan of the Broncos since the early 1980s and I don't feel that the orange jersey is our identity, nor do I feel that it makes us unique. I have disliked the switch from the blue jersey in 2011, and I think the orange jersey is ugly. I would like to see them update their uniforms, or go back to blue. I also know that they are ashamed of this jersey when it comes to Super Bowl appearances.

-- Jeremy Dominguez

Whether it's in politics or sports, I've learned that people tend to say that a poll is "biased" only when it reveals a result with which they don't agree. I'm not going to sit here and claim that a Twitter poll is scientific, but there was no bias, no fudging and no miscreance. "Biased," it was not.

Choosing not to wear a jersey in a specific situation and being "ashamed" of it are not one and the same. Remember, the Panthers had never won a playoff game in black jerseys, which is why they now wear white at home for all postseason games.

And why does orange make the Broncos unique? Because, as I've mentioned many times before, no other NFL team wears orange for its primary jersey. Twelve other teams wear blue for its primary non-white jersey, including seven that wear navy blue similar to that of the Broncos.

And I'm sure you've heard of the "Orange Crush," right?


Submit a question for the next Mailbag!

The analysis, opinion and speculation in this story represents that of the author, gathered through research and reporting, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Denver Broncos organization.

mailbag_1280.jpg

**

Related Content

Advertising