After a tough NFL season in 2020, what are the options for the Denver Broncos when it comes to Drew Lock’s contract situation? Let’s look at his contract, the impact on the Broncos’ salary cap, and their options when it comes to Drew Lock this offseason.
Drew Lock’s contract details and bonuses
After being selected by the Denver Broncos in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Drew Lock signed a four-year contract. The contract’s total value is $7.01 million, with $3.9 million fully guaranteed at signing. Of that, $3.1 million came as a signing bonus, and the 2020 salary was fully guaranteed at signing.
Lock’s contract length is for another two seasons
After playing for the Broncos for two seasons, Drew Lock has two more years remaining on his contract. However, none of his remaining $2.4 million in salary or $175,000 in workout bonuses is guaranteed in the final two years.
What impact does Lock’s deal have on the Broncos’ salary cap?
As a second-round selection, Drew Lock’s contract has minimal impact on the Broncos’ salary cap.
Lock is set to have a cap number of just $1.9 million in 2021, rising to $2.2 million in 2022. As of February 13th, the Broncos are set to have $32 million available in cap space this season. Therefore, the Broncos do not desperately need to look to move on from several players in the coming weeks.
Can the Broncos move on from Drew Lock’s contract this offseason?
Drew Lock’s contract is nicely structured for the Broncos to make whatever moves they wish this offseason. Let’s look at the Broncos’ options with Lock and what they may consider doing in the coming weeks and months.
Releasing Drew Lock would have little impact on the Broncos’ salary cap in 2021
Drew Lock’s contract structure makes it easy for the Broncos to move on from their young quarterback. With no guaranteed money remaining on the deal, all the Broncos have to consider is the prorated signing bonus on his deal. However, the signing bonus was just $3.1 million, limiting the impact of that prorated money.
The signing bonus prorates as a $0.78 million cap hit in each season of Drew Lock’s contract. With two years remaining on the deal, that leaves just $1.56 million. If the Broncos were to release Lock this offseason, that money would accelerate onto the cap as dead money this season. However, with Lock set to count $1.9 million against the cap as it stands, that would save $0.35 million.
What does a trade look like for the Broncos and the team potentially acquiring Drew Lock?
If a team is willing to take a chance on Lock, then a trade is a feasible option. The Broncos would be left with an identical salary cap situation as if they release Lock — they would save $0.35 million, leaving a dead money charge of $1.9 million.
For the team potentially acquiring Lock, they would receive a player earning just $1.06 million in salary and a $75,000 workout bonus in 2021. They would then have the option of keeping Lock on the roster in 2022. Lock is set to earn $1.35 million in salary, with a $100,000 workout bonus in 2022. However, there would be no dead money on the deal as none of that salary is guaranteed. Therefore, the team acquiring Lock could release him following the 2021 season at no cost to themselves.
A restructure or contract extension seems unlikely heading into 2021
The Broncos could consider extending Drew Lock’s contract. However, after a mediocre season in 2020, that seems unlikely. Additionally, with plenty of cap space, and minimal savings from a potential extension ($0.2 million), the risk far outweighs the reward at this stage.
Equally, a restructure of Drew Lock’s contract would only save $0.14 million in cap space. It would also marginally increase the cost of releasing Lock in the 2022 offseason. The Broncos would gain little from restructuring Lock’s deal this offseason.
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