Ex-Broncos players with the biggest ‘dead money’ salary cap hits in 2021

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The Denver Broncos have a healthy salary cap situation as they approach 2022, but it’s not a perfect cap situation. Denver has more than $26 million worth of “dead money” — funds from players who count against the Broncos’ salary cap despite no longer being on the team.

Here’s a quick look at six ex-Denver players who have the largest dead money cap hits this season, with data courtesy of OverTheCap.com.

1. Von Miller: $21,402,778

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The Broncos agreed to pay most of Miller’s remaining salary when they traded him to the Los Angeles Rams earlier this month. Denver was willing to eat that “dead money” in exchange for second- and third-round picks in the 2022 NFL draft.

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2. Ja'Wuan James: $3,000,000

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The Broncos parted ways with James after he torn his Achilles while working out away from the facility earlier this year. He’s now rehabbing with the Baltimore Ravens, aiming to return to the field in 2022.

3. Nick Vannett: $875,000

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The Broncos cut Vannett in the spring and he later signed with the New Orleans Saints. Denver kept tight ends Noah Fant, Albert Okwuegbunam, Eric Saubert and Andrew Beck after parting ways with Vannett.

4. Jeff Driskel: $750,000

(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Denver cut Driskel earlier this year and he landed with the Houston Texans. The Broncos kept quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater, Drew Lock and Brett Rypien.

5. Kary Vincent: $319,186

(Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

The Broncos traded Vincent to the Philadelphia Eagles two weeks ago in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick. Denver used a seventh-round pick to select Vincent in the NFL draft earlier this year.

6. Royce Freeman: $249,255

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver cut Freeman before the season, opting to go with running backs Melvin Gordon, Javonte Williams and Mike Boone in 2021. Freeman had a brief stint with the Carolina Panthers before eventually landing with the Houston Texans.

Total: $26,596,219

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Those six players account for more than $26.5 million worth of “dead money” this year, with most of it coming from Miller’s contract. If the Broncos use their extra draft picks well in 2022, eating some of their 2021 cap space will be well worth it (this year’s draft class looks great).