Closing the gaps in 2022

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – AUGUST 21: Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson No. 3 and Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller No. 58 greet each other before an NFL preseason game at Lumen Field on August 21 August 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos have already put together the biggest piece with Russell Wilson in a trade. What’s next for George Paton in free agency?

The biggest domino has fallen. Russell Wilson is now the Denver Broncos’ QB1 and everyone should absolutely be Nice To Meet You that we can now build the whole offseason on this movement.

The Broncos paid a high price to get Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks, and that’s understandable. Wilson is a legitimate MVP-caliber quarterback who has earned a reasonable return as a result.

With the trade almost official at this point, what moves can we expect from the Denver Broncos in free agency? What are the needs to be met? How much ceiling space do the Broncos have to work with?

Let’s start with the cap space. According to Overthecap, the Broncos have a little less $24 million in the cap space available after the Russell Wilson trade. That’s more than enough room to make a splash in free agency. Keep in mind – A player’s average annual salary on a contract is not necessarily their reached cap.

The Broncos were apparently able to make all of their moves last offseason — re-signing Justin Simmons and Shelby Harris, signing Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller, etc. – and borderline add to their cap space.

There’s also the factor of a potential Russell Wilson extension that could add a lot more cap space to the 2022 figure.

Either way, it’s important to note that the Broncos have plenty of room to do just about anything they want, and it’s been reported that they’re also in a pretty good position in terms of Treasury.

As for the needs? It’s pretty easy to decipher so far.

Edge, defensive end and right tackle lead the way. The Broncos also need to look at the free agent market as it relates to tight end, linebacker and safety. They could also take shots of the running back and wide receiver if the price is right.

How will these needs be attacked by agency? The Broncos still have nine picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, but I think we’re going to see George Paton continue to be aggressive.

Christy J. Olson