Rarely has a team with such high expectations fallen flatter on its face than the 2022 Denver Broncos, who were so epically bad that they fired first-year coach Nathaniel Hackett after 15 games.
It was their only move — the least-worst option of only bad ones. We’ll break it all down in our Denver Broncos offseason preview, listing the team’s free agents, cut candidates, and team needs.
Denver Broncos Offseason Preview: Operation Salvage Russ
Every move the Broncos make this offseason should be seen through this lens: Does this help Russell Wilson remember how to play football?
Because nothing else matters for the foreseeable future. By giving away the farm to trade for and extend Wilson — the Broncos have just three of their original draft picks and only six in all — they’re stuck with him through at least 2025.
That’s three more seasons — which must be better than his first in Denver.
The reclamation project begins with the Broncos — who wasted an excellent defense in 2022 — finding the right head coach. Hackett is the fall guy, and it’s certainly justifiable.
But if Wilson fails again with a different coach, there will be no one else to blame.
Broncos’ 2023 Salary Cap Space
According to Spotrac, the Broncos, as of early January, had $13.3 million in 2023 salary cap space, the 17th-most in the NFL.
That figure includes $1.8 million in dead cap and $8.9 million in rollover space. It’s based on an estimated $225 million NFL salary cap in 2023.
The exact cap figure will not be known until the NFL announces it in early March.
Broncos Free Agents 2023
The following Broncos players are set to hit free agency. (Restricted free agents are noted with the abbreviation RFA; exclusive rights free agents by ERFA.)
- LB Dakota Allen
- OT Calvin Anderson
- CB Essang Bassey (RFA)
- FB Andrew Beck
- LS Jacob Bobenmoyer (RFA)
- RB Mike Boone
- G Tom Compton
- OT Cameron Fleming
- LB Jonas Griffith (ERFA)
- SS Kareem Jackson
- CB Lamar Jackson
- DE Dre’Mont Jones
- S P.J. Locke (RFA)
- RB Marlon Mack
- RB Latavius Murray
- CB Darius Phillips
- G Dalton Risner
- QB Brett Rypien
- TE Eric Saubert
- LB Alex Singleton
- TE Eric Tomlinson
- RT Billy Turner
- P Corliss Waitman (ERFA)
- DE DeShawn Williams
Guard Dalton Risner
Spotrac’s calculated market value: Four years, $38.2 million ($9.5 million AAV)
Overview: Risner is about as dependable as it comes in the trenches. He rarely misses games, and he rarely commits penalties. While it’s true that 2022 might not have been the best season of his four-year career, he certainly has some company in that regard in that huddle.
Defensive End Dre’Mont Jones
Spotrac’s calculated market value: Three years, $21.8 million ($7.3 million AAV)
Overview: The departure of Von Miller meant an increased role for Jones, who played a higher percentage of defensive snaps in 2022 than at any point in his career. With increased opportunities has come increased production. He had career-highs in sacks and tackles for loss in 2022.
Potential Cut Candidates
- G Graham Glasgow ($11 million in salary cap savings)
- RB Chase Edmonds ($6 million)
- WR K.J. Hamler ($1.6 million)
Broncos’ Team Needs Heading Into 2023 Offseason
- Offensive Tackle
- Defensive tackle
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