Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Chris Mortensen
continues to report that a player vote may take place today, is now saying a vote today is unlikely (ed. 11:30AM ET) and that the items still in question are the absence of an opt-out clause and the requirement of recertification as a condition to end the lockout. For some reason, there are also differing opinions on the procedure for recertification, as the owners are suggesting the players do so electronically, while the NFLPA reportedly wants the players to each sign cards once they return to their respective team HQs. To reiterate, the items that Roger Goodell and Jeff Pash said last night would not be changing, specifically player conduct policy, have already been discussed but cannot be collectively bargained or agreed to until the union is recertified and the ratified agreement is submitted to Judge Nelson.
UPDATE 10:33PM ET - Chris Mortensen just stated on ESPN that De Smith and the NFLPA's lawyers are currently looking over the documents sent over by ownership and expect to be able to conduct a vote on approving the deal as soon as tomorrow. Mortensen says one of the potential hangups is the lack of an opt-out from the 10-year agreement perhaps seven or eight years into the deal, and that items like player discipline and drug testing cannot be negotiated until the NFLPA recertifies.
This is the closest we've come to talking about real football news in months now; S Brian Dawkins told Mike Klis today that he expects to end up with a restructured deal with the Broncos which will pay him less than the $6 million he's due in 2011. Dawkins even went so far as to say that he and his agent have expected such a scenario since he first signed his free-agent deal with Denver prior to the 2009 season.
Klis also spoke with WR Eddie Royal and RB Knowshon Moreno today; Royal says he's already fully recovered from the February operation on his hip. Meanwhile, Moreno is apparently down to 200 lbs, around 10 lbs less than his prior playing weight with Denver. Perhaps this weight loss could result in more of the explosiveness we've been waiting to see out of Knowshon since the Broncos selected him 12th overall in the 2009 Draft.
Nate Webster, who played for the Broncos from 2006 to 2008 before retiring, has been indicted by a grand jury in Hamilton County, OH on charges of sexual battery, gross sexual imposition and five counts of unlawful sex with a minor. Webster allegedly had repeated nonconsensual sex with a 15-year-old girl in 2009 and threatened her with a gun to prevent her from telling her own family about the incidents. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters cited "overwhelming evidence of (Webster's) guilt" and says the ex-LB threatened to "kill (the girl) and kill her family."
Fat Man writer TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on
Thursdays whenever the hell he gets around to it. He takes your questions and gets your opinion about the state of the Broncos and the NFL. You wanna tie the room together? Or say what you'd like about the tenets of national socialism? Drop TJ a question: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(NOTE: Marmots were harmed in the writing of this Revue)
Dude, we've been missing your Mail Revue out here in Sin City. Don't tell me you've stopped. It will bring me to tears. At least give us your thoughts on the end to the lockout, won't you?
-- Bambi, Las Vegas, Nevada
Bambi: First, let me say that I'm glad to see that some parents still have the decency to name their children after porn stars.
Like a Raiders fan without a job, I've been sitting in my parents' basement playing Call of Duty: Black Ops.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Woody Paige thinks that once Tim Tebow proves his worth in the preseason, the Broncos will be able to land both a veteran player and conditional pick in return for Kyle Orton from either Arizona, Seattle, Miami or Tennessee. He also seems to backtrack from his earlier claim that Josh McDaniels was convinced by the front office to extend Orton's contract last year rather than trade him. Rather, Paige writes that McDaniels himself realized last August that Tebow was not ready to be the starting QB. Plus, he says that the ex-coach traded for Brady Quinn not to be the backup necessarily, but to compete with Orton for the starting gig (before drafting Tebow or even knowing he'd want/be able to acquire him). Finally, Woody writes that starting Orton for one more year would be the best (if impractical) solution to allow Tebow more time to develop, and that Kyle is unwilling to stick around as Tebow's backup.
With free agency coming soon to a city near you, the Broncos have a couple of major areas to fill, along with some optional areas that they might work on. It’s no shock to anyone that defensive tackle and running back are their top priorities, with OL depth (and a possible starter/backup at RT as a realistic option). It’s also fair to say that the top players are very likely going to move quickly. The players are going to want to see who will give them the best offers, and Denver will have to step up to the financial plate on Day 1 if they want to upgrade the DL, which has to be Job 1A with running back as Job 1B.
Denver may choose to bring on a tackle, in case Orlando Franklin takes some time to get used to NFL play and to guard against potential injuries - I think Franklin will do fine, but he’s got little time to prepare for the season; it would just be good sense to have a second option. Most rookie linemen, with the exception of the rare Ryan Clady’s out there, take a year or so to merge well into the line. A veteran knows a lot of the things that a rookie, even if he’s more talented, will have to figure out and/or be coached in. Denver also wants to add depth on the OL.
UPDATE 6:50PM ET - More from Mark Maske...
The owners still could vote Thursday to approve deal even without a players' vote today, according to people familiar with deliberations. The deal is basically in place. It's the resolution of the lawsuit that remains unfinished, and it must be resolved to finish the CBA. NFL labor committee ended its meeting in Atlanta. Full ownership meeting scheduled to begin Thursday at 10 a.m.
Good Morning, Broncos! Legal teams for the two sides worked yesterday on a settlement document which is expected to be presented before the NFLPA's executive committee and the 32 teams' player reps sometime today. The player reps would then hopefully recommend the settlement to the named plaintiffs in the Brady suit, followed by recertification of the players' union.
The next step would be ratification of the deal tomorrow by the owners, who are meeting in Atlanta. Shortly afterwards, the owners and team executives would be briefed on the details of the agreement including the 2011 NFL calendar, the rookie wage scale and transaction guidelines, in a seminar expected to last into Friday. Meanwhile, the retired players have said they will not stand in the way of a deal, and the agent for Peyton Manning and Drew Brees vehemently disputed reports that the two QBs are making special demands as part of a settlement of the Brady suit.
Happy Tuesday, friends. I have fairly limited writing time today, so I am going to write something that is the length of a standard blog post. There has been some hand-wringing the last couple days about the CBA negotiations, despite the fact that nothing seems to be likely to hold up progress on a deal.
Doug shared a link in today’s Lard indicating that teams are already advising players to show up on Friday and Saturday, which is the surest sign yet that a deal is inevitable, and will happen very soon. Yet, for some reason, on Sirius XM NFL Radio, the topic of the last couple days has relentlessly been something like What If Vincent Jackson/Logan Mankins/Osi Umenyiora blow(s) up the deal for reasons of personal gain?
It’s making some people nervous, along with reports that the players are still trying to get more money from the owners, to wit, the $320 million of foregone benefits from 2010. Given that there are still so many owner fanboys (that article endlessly cracks me up, so I keep linking it) out there, many of whom have a skewed perception of how negotiations work, with the problem being exacerbated by NFL reporters who really are missing and misunderstanding a lot, I decided that I’d address this with a few thoughts.