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Denver Broncos general manager George Paton during a press conference at UCHealth Training Center in Centennial, CO, January 19, 2021. Photo by Gabriel Christus
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Clayton: Paton, Broncos have done “remarkable” job managing salary cap

Photo by Gabriel Christus/Denver Broncos

One of the remarkable things about George Paton’s first year as general manager is how well the team has managed the salary cap.

They spent big at cornerback, giving Ronald Darby a three-year, $30 million contract and signing Kyle Fuller to a one-year, $9.5 million deal. He traded for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and put him on the books on a one-year, $4.7 million contract. To replace right tackle Ja’Wuan James, he signed Bobbie Massie and Cameron Fleming to combined one-year deals worth $4.170 million.

He added defensive tackle Shamar Stephens for one year, $2 million and a backup running back in Mike Boone at two years, $3.825 million. He re-signed Shelby Harris at $9 million a year and cut and re-signed safety Kareem Jackson to a one-year, $5 million contract.

What’s amazing is how much the team has improved and is sitting with the second most cap room in the league at over $28 million to $31 million, according to Sportrac.com and OverTheCap.com. Jacksonville has the most cap room at $39.5 million. The New York Jets are third at $26.5 million. Those teams combined for three wins last year and were starved for talent.

They currently have the $10 million savings on James. They freed up significant dollars on some deals in the past that didn’t workout — Jurrell Casey, A.J. Bouye, Nick Vannett and Jeff Driskel.

The Broncos should be a playoff contender, particularly with a defense that should be top 10 and one of the better skilled position teams on offense. The cap room has put Paton in position to make a trade for Aaron Rodgers or DeShaun Watson if they become available. To put the Broncos $31 million of remaining cap room, the other three teams in the AFC West have $31.488 million of cap room combined. Pretty amazing.