Broncos defense getting makeover; release of Bouye, Casey create salary cap relief

Denver Broncos

The Buffalo Bills offense lines up against the Denver Broncos defense during an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

DENVER (KDVR) — General manager George Paton has been on the job six weeks. He has saved the team nearly $24 million.

The release of cornerback AJ Bouye and defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, both in their 30s and carrying no guaranteed money left on their deals, clears the way for Paton to get to work on the Broncos roster.

After these moves, the Broncos will have roughy $43 million to play with as they enter free agency. That money will come in handy as they work through contracts of players like Shelby Harris, Kareem Jackson, Von Miller, and Justin Simmons.

Harris (DE) – Playing in 11 games, Harris recorded 29 tackles, two and a half sacks and seven pass deflections. Harris, 29, missed time in 2019 due to COVID-19 and a knee injury. He played on a one-year deal for $3 million. 

Jackson (S) – Signed a three-year deal with the Broncos in 2019, Jackson is owed nearly $13 million in 2021. The team has a potential out entering this season. Jackson, 32, played in all 16 games, recording 89 tackles, four pass deflections and one interception.

Miller (LB) – The Broncos need to decide before March 17 if they will exercise the team option, guaranteeing Miller a one-year, $17.5 million contract and his $22 million salary cap hit to play in 2021. The All Pro linebacker missed the 2020 season with a dislocation to the peroneal tendon in his ankle during a non-contact drill in practice. 

Simmons (S) – Eligible to be franchise tagged for a second consecutive season, the Broncos could be looking to re-sign the Pro Bowl safety long term. If they can’t reach a new contract and the Broncos use the franchise tag, Simmons will receive a 20% raise in 2021 – $13.7 million – which is guaranteed if he signs the deal. Both sides have until July 15 to negotiate a long-term contract, even if Simmons signs the tag. If the Broncos decline to use the franchise tag, Simmons will be a free agent – allowing him to sign with any team.

Free agency begins March 17.

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