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A View on How the Broncos Will Deal with the Salary Cap Issues in 2012

Football Outsiders is out and doing Division by Division looks at the salary cap and how it affects each team around the league.

To see about the entire AFC West – click HERE

Here’s the Broncos breakdown, and some of the background on how they think things will play out for the team.

Estimated Cap Space: Around $50 million

Unrestricted Free Agents (18): David Binn, Brodrick Bunkley, Brian Dawkins, Daniel Fells, Mario Haggan, Derrick Harvey, Russ Hochstein, Jason Hunter, Spencer Larsen, Joe Mays, Matt Prater, Brady Quinn, Manny Ramirez, Dante Rosario, Eddie Royal, Marcus Thomas, Jonathan Wilhite, Wesley Woodyard

Restricted Free Agents (2): Ryan McBean, Matt Willis

Ryan McBean started three of 16 games in 2011 and was second among the team’s defensive linemen with four sacks. A fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma State by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007, an “original round” tender for McBean would cost the Broncos $1.26 million in non-guaranteed base salary in 2012.

Franchise Tag Candidate: Brodrick Bunkley adds little in terms of pass rush –- he has just six sacks in 92 career games -– but his acquisition after the lockout played a role in the Broncos improving from 29th in run defense DVOA (5.2 %) in 2010 to 13th and -4.1 % in 2011. The franchise tender for defensive tackles is projected to be worth around $8 million in 2012. The other premium name on the Broncos unrestricted free agent list is kicker Matt Prater, who had seven field goals in either the fourth quarter or overtime in four of the Broncos’ eight wins in 2011. The 27-year-old is 12-of-16 on field goal attempts from beyond 50 yards in his career, wants to remain in Denver (what kicker doesn’t?), and would cost around $2.7 million if franchised. That’s about the same as a “first round” restricted free agent tender. With the amount of cap room at their disposal, using the franchise tag would be an easy decision if a multi-year extension cannot be worked out by March 5.

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