Offseason Needs: AFC West

Updated: February 28, 2003, 11:13 AM ET
By By Ryan Early
Denver Broncos

Current Salary Cap Situation: $22.4M over (2nd most in the league)
Unrestricted Free Agents (starters in bold): RB Olandis Gary, CB Tyrone Poole, DE Montae Reagor, S Izell Reese
Restricted Free Agents: WR Chris Cole, RB KaRon Coleman, RB Reuben Droughns, QB Jarious Jackson, WR Scottie Montgomery
Possible Veteran Cuts: DT Chester McGlockton, CB Denard Walker, DE Kavika Pittman, QB Brian Griese, RB Terrell Davis, OG Lennie Friedman, DE Keith Washington
First Draft Pick: 20th overall

#1 - Get under the salary cap. Every year the Broncos must scramble to get under the salary by cutting overpriced and underachieving veterans, asking others to restructure their contracts, and using some imaginative ways to sign free agents. This year is a little worse than others because of the need to get several veterans not just to push cap money into future years but actually accept a lower salary. DT Chester McGlockton and CB Denard Walker will probably be released because they are due large roster bonuses before free agency starts and the team is unwilling to pay that money. Also, WR Ed McCaffrey and OT Matt Lepsis will be asked to reduce their salary or risk being let go. The matter is further complicated by the need to find a new quarterback. The team cannot cut Brian Griese until after June 1st in order to push $6.9 million in accelerated signing bonus money into next season. So until then they have to keep his salary on the books, limiting them in free agency.