The NFL powered through the 2020 season despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The stadiums were eerie, with limited fans in a few locations and a decrease in gate revenue, ultimately leading to a decline in money shared between the 32 teams.
The cap has risen every year since 2011, except for this year. The NFL official salary cap of $182.5 million for 2021 is an 8% decrease from the $198.2 million cap in 2020.
Denver Broncos have the most cap space heading into the 2021 NFL season
With $42,336,533 in available cap space, the Denver Broncos have flexibility heading into the new NFL season. The Broncos were among the league's bottom 10 in scoring offense and scoring defense, finishing the 2020 season with a 5-11 record.
Denver's released players
The Broncos released cornerback A.J. Bouye, which freed up $13.375 million, and defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, which freed up $11.8 million in salary-cap space. Both players are also coming off of injury-marred seasons.
The Denver Broncos also released tight end, Jordan Leggett, defensive lineman Joel Heath, nose tackle Kyle Peko, wide receiver Fred Brown, safety Alijah Holder, and offensive tackle Darrin Paulo.
Phillip Lindsay has left Denver and signed a one-year deal with the Houston Texans.
Denver's restructured contracts
The Denver Broncos have also made moves to restructure contracts to increase cap relief. The restructuring of defensive tackle Mike Purcell and kicker Brandon McManus contracts created roughly $3.5 million. Denver turned both player's 2021 base salaries into signing bonuses.
Denver's notable contracts
There was considerable public speculation about edge rusher Von Miller and his future with the Broncos after he was out for the entire 2020 season due to an ankle injury he suffered before Week 1.
The franchise has announced that Miller will pick up his contract option to keep him with the orange and blue throughout the 2021 season. He is scheduled to rake in around $18 million.
The Denver Broncos agreed to a four-year contract extension with safety Justin Simmons. They made Simmons the highest-paid safety in the league, and the new deal also gives the team a little salary-cap relief in 2021.
Simmons' contract includes a $15 million signing bonus meted out over four years for salary cap purposes. With a low base salary of $2 million this year and an allocated signing bonus cap hit of $3.75 million, Simmons will have a total cap hit of $5.75 million in 2021.
The Denver Broncos sequentially used some of that cap space to give two-time Pro Bowler cornerback Kyle Fuller a one-year 9.5 million dollar contract.