ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Just before free agency opened the Denver Broncos were cruising along in good salary-cap standing, with less than $100,000 worth of dead money -- charges for players no long on the roster -- against their 2013 salary cap.
That was just before Elvis Dumervil couldn't find a fax machine and the Broncos had to release him to avoid paying a $12 million salary guarantee. Boom for Doom, and not only was Dumervil gone, but a $4.869 million dead-money charge was on the Broncos' books immediately after his departure.
Then the Broncos released linebacker D.J. Williams, who was already carrying a $500,000 dead-money charge for '13 because of some earlier business. And with that, another $1.832 million in dead money went on the books.
After they released running back Willis McGahee in June -- he remains unsigned -- another $500,000 in dead money was added. The release in July of linebacker Joe Mays created $3.5 million in cap space the Broncos used to help sign Ryan Clady to a long-term deal, but also added a $666,667 dead-money charge.
So, the Broncos went from having less than $100,000 in dead money to deal with on this year's cap, a remarkable piece of work given where things were two years ago, to $7.868 million in dead money. That's still not in the OMG territory some teams are operating in, but it will impact at least a few of the choices the Broncos will soon make.
It also had at least some impact on why the Broncos renegotiated guard Chris Kuper's contract -- his base salary went from $4.5 million to $1.05 million -- at the same time he was set to move off of the physically unable to perform (PUP) list Tuesday to return to practice on a limited basis.
Certainly Williams' release was a given after his off-field issues began to far outweigh his on-field production. The Broncos had significant concerns about McGahee's knee after he stayed away for much of the offseason program. And the Broncos needed cap space to sign Clady and Britton Colquitt even as Mays was going to have a difficult time making the roster when all was said and done.
But Dumervil's flip-flop from no to yes on a renegotiated deal that led to the fax snafu certainly stung when it happened. And it will sting, at least some, once again when the Broncos cut the roster to 53 players next month.