With the NFL-loving world focused on names like Percy Harvin and Anquan Boldin today (by the way, you can check out our post on Boldin’s salary situation from the other day here), it’s a little too easy to miss some of the other transactions that went down. The Broncos were one of the teams engaged in such transactions, quietly releasing OLB D.J. Williams and QB Caleb Hanie to save over $7 million on their 2013 salary cap.
Williams was the Broncos’ first round pick in 2004 out of the University of Miami. Despite making a lot of headlines off the field, Williams was, for the most part, a productive player on it as he was the team’s leading tackler for the majority of his Bronco tenure. His time with the team ends on a sad note as he only played in 7 games last season due to failing a mandatory drug test. After the 2007 season, Williams signed a 6-year extension that was set to expire after this season. His cap hit this year was going to be $8,082,500. However, only $2,082,500 of that is dead money from various prorated bonuses, so the Broncos gain a net cap savings of $6 million from this release. The move makes sense from all angles as the team already has arguably the top pair of 4-3 outside linebackers in the NFL with Von Miller (#1 ranked 4-3 OLB in 2012 on ProFootballFocus) and Wesley Woodyard (#14). Those two players account for $8,977,375 in cap space next year, so the money saved from Williams’ release pays for about 67% of the two much better OLB’s in 2013.
In a much less-heralded release, the Broncos also released QB Caleb Hanie. Perhaps best known for nearly leading a comeback victory for the Bears in the 2010 NFC Championship Game after replacing an injured Jay Cutler, Hanie has wavered in relative obscurity ever since. He did not play well replacing Cutler again in 4 starts during the 2011 season and spent last season as the #3 QB behind Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler in Denver. Hanie’s contract was set to expire after this season in which his $1.25 million base salary and $125,000 signing bonus proration meant a cap hit of $1.375 million. As a result of his release, $125,000 of dead money remains, so the team gains a net cap savings of $1.25 million.
In total, the Broncos save $7.25 million in cap space this year due to these two no-brainer releases.
UPDATE – if the Broncos do end up releasing Dumervil as the latest news suggests, his cap savings of $8.754 would bring the Broncos’ 2013 savings total fo $16.004 million when Williams and Hanie are included.