NFL leader in dead money is truly a shock … because it’s not the Broncos

You might assume that the Russell Wilson deal and the dead cap that comes with it make the Broncos with the most dead cap. Here's the reality — they are not.

Nov 19, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton (14) catches a pass
Nov 19, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton (14) catches a pass / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
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By now, we are all aware that the Denver Broncos will absorb $85 million in dead salary over the next two years, as a result of releasing QB Russell Wilson.

However, contrary to popular belief, Denver is not the league leader in dead cap money. That's right, it's not the Denver Broncos. That title happens to belong to the Minnesota Vikings. They are the league leader in dead money at $57.3 million. The Packers sit second at $46.5 million while the Seahawks are third at $36 million.

How is that possible? Well, that is due in large part to the departures of Kirk Cousins, Danielle Hunter and Marcus Davenport, all of whom have found new homes in the NFL, while the Vikings are left to pick up the check for the initial investments.

For clarification, dead cap money refers to the money towards the current year's salary cap that is not being used to pay the current player's salaries. In other words, it is cap charges for contracts that are no longer active.

The Minnesota Vikings have the most dead cap space in the NFL right now despite Russell Wilson's massive contract blunder with the Denver Broncos

Some will look to blame former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman and his decision to sign several veterans to hefty deals to reward them for their past performances. That has left a large hole for new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to have to navigate through. The reality is, free agency isn't a sure thing, and sometimes, having a veteran presence on a roster is not a bad idea.

At the same time, relying on such production at a heavy burden is a recipe for disaster. We have seen it with other franchises in the NFL. It may lead to short-term success or a flash of hope, but in the long run, it would be devastating. See what the Broncos and general manager George Paton did with Wilson. The draft picks are gone and the amount of money that was invested ultimately went to waste.

Still, it is a surprising revelation that the Denver Broncos are not the team with the most dead cap in the NFL, and that the Vikings are the ones at the top. Assumptions can be very misleading, and now the Vikings have the sad distinction of being at the top of a category no one wants to be at.

Next. Vikings looks like geniuses after Danielle Hunter deal with Texans. Vikings looks like geniuses after Danielle Hunter deal with Texans. dark