Happy Friday, Broncos fans! ESPN's trio of Mortensen, Schefter and Clayton are reporting that as part of the labor talks, the two sides are considering measures to help teams retain their own players in what will be an abbreviated free agency period. One option is to give each team a right of first refusal on up to three free agents (only this year), allowing them to match contract offers from other franchises. Another idea under consideration is to open a brief window for teams to negotiate exclusively with their own players before free agency truly begins.
Time for our weekly peek into the real lives of the Denver Broncos via their their own words. As always, the tweets have not been edited in any manner and are only meant to show the lighter side of the NFL while helping everyone get to know our favorite players a little better. Enjoy!
Apparently Ryan Harris is not the guy to be lending DVDs to - just ask Ryan Clady about what happens...
Clady: Watching the Wire, wondering where all my seasons are ??? @ryanharris74
Harris: @RyanClady damn u didn't get Em in the mail? I sent it to richMan estates 78 Hollywood dr Beverly hills 90210 Shouldve been there
Clady: @ryanharris74 lol nah man, you got the wrong address. I'm in LA...@ryanharris74 just hold them at your mansion in Cherry Creek
Harris: “@RyanClady: @ryanharris74 just hold them at your mansion in Cherry Creek” maybe, but Youll have to refer me to your mansion finder. Haha
Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his latest mailbag, Woody writes that Tim Tebow was mostly coached last year by Mike McCoy and Adam Gase, and is very happy the two were retained for John Fox's staff. He also says that if Tebow is declared the starter this season and Kyle Orton is still around, that the veteran will demand a trade. interestingly, Woody writes that Fox sent Jake Delhomme packing from Carolina last year for the player's benefit and would like for Delhomme to back up and help mentor Tebow if Orton is indeed dealt away.
Plus, apparently Sam Farmer of the LA Times floated the idea of Pat Bowlen swapping franchises with Rams owner Stan Kroenke and moving the Rams to Los Angeles. But Woody says that's just not happening.
Over the past few years, Denver fans have had to look hard to find things to really cheer about on the Broncos. The media has long stood by the abiding principle that if it bleeds, it leads, and that’s led to seemingly endless negative stories about this player and that one, people who make the news by creating negative incidents. One such problem of Denver’s was shipped to Miami in exchange for a couple of second-round picks, and has been little mourned by Broncos fans. Tim Tebow has been both praised and trashed for his desire to share his religion with others. Then there’s Quinton Carter.
If you’re a Broncos fan, you’ve already heard the basics: While still in college, Carter decided to use the platform of his considerable ‘Q’ - his name recognition - and started a non-profit organization called SOUL - which stands for Serving Others through Unity and Leadership. The 501(c)3 non-profit organization he founded, based in both Carter’s hometown of Las Vegas and in Norman, where he attended the University of Oklahoma, works with inner city youths from the ages of 11 to 14 to provide them with football camp training that gives the youths a chance to see the value of teamwork and sportsmanship. That’s laudable, but Carter takes it a long step further than most programs by adding classroom work and lectures about decision-making, nutrition and the value of education.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Although they were prepared to spend as much as two days ironing out their differences, the NFL's owners spent only five hours yesterday discussing the general framework of the next CBA. Having reached what Jeff Pash characterized as a "consensus within the ownership," the negotiations between the players and the league will reconvene today in a Boston suburb. And while Albert Breer writes that yesterday's meeting was more about general concepts than specific details, and both parties are maintaining the "there's a long way to go" mantra, the brevity of the powwow points to real progress being made.
Meanwhile, Jason Cole reports that the new league year could begin as soon as July 15, with veteran free agency and rookie OTAs first on the docket. Beyond agreeing to a new deal, Cole writes that the two sides would then need to settle the class-action suits filed in concert by active and retired players, followed by recertification of the NFLPA, and finally ratification of the CBA by ownership.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter are reporting that the basis of the next CBA as is presently being negotiated will be a 48% payout of all revenue for the players. This would omit the $1 billion-plus in expense credits that had come off the top before the players got their cut in the previous CBA, and also disinclude the extra $1 billion "haircut" NFL owners had sought earlier on. Apparently, owners will be able to claim expense credits to help pay for new stadiums, but the players' cut would never fall below 46.5 percent of revenue in those instances.
The new deal will reportedly include a new rookie pay scale, but the details of that are still being worked out. Plus, teams will be required to spend to at least 90-93% of the salary cap each year - a stipulation which surely will alarm the smaller market teams like the Bills and Bengals as mentioned in Ted's article earlier today. Among other details, players would reach unrestricted free agency after four seasons and would never be forced to play an 18-game schedule.
UPDATE 7:50PM ET - LJ has an update on the status of the Broncos' potential free agents, and it looks like I erred on Prater and Woodyard - according to LJ, those two players would remain restricted free agents, while Harris and Thomas would be unrestricted. After looking again at each player's profile, I believe Jones' information to be correct and my earlier update to be wrong. Sorry for the confusion, folks.
I have absolutely no sympathy for Ralph Wilson or Mike Brown as the rumors fly that they don’t appreciate the direction that the Brady vs. NFL settlement talks have been taking in putting together a new CBA. Neither man is a quality NFL owner or shows the slightest desire or ability to make his team a consistent winner.
Wilson, who is 92 years old, seems to be playing out the string of his life. He pays lip service to wanting to keep the Bills in Buffalo, but he clearly recognizes that the viability of western New York as an NFL home continues to diminish as its historically blue collar labor environment is marginalized, and the population resultingly diminishes. Buffalo is the worst market in the NFL, and when the team is sold upon Wilson’s death, I’m pretty sure the new owner will be looking to Toronto or Los Angeles.
As for Brown, he’s the son of Paul Brown, who founded the Bengals back when you didn’t have to really be all that wealthy to start an NFL team. Paul was a successful coach of the Browns for many years, and it sure helped to have Hall of Famers like Otto Graham, Marion Motley, Lou Groza, and Jim Brown. Upon founding the Bengals, the Brown magic never returned. Mike Brown is not the football man his father was, and he's also the cheapest owner in the NFL. He hires the assistant coaches - with the Head Coach having little to no say in the matter - and pays them the lowest salaries in the NFL for their peer groups. He also has always maintained the smallest scouting staff in the NFL, and the senior front office people are a bunch of Browns and Blackburns. They’re the only mom and pop team in the NFL, and that’s the biggest reason that they can never establish a consistent winning program.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Some details have finally come out on Jason Hunter's stabbing in April. Apparently, his girlfriend found a bag of cellphones which Hunter claimed belonged to a friend of his, and in the course of their "conversation" she waved a kitchen knife at him before "accidentally" throwing it at Hunter. So, why is Hunter holding a collection of cellphones for his buddy, and why did his girlfriend need to have a knife in hand when she told him to "stay back"? So far, no charges have been filed against the girlfriend, but prosecutors are apparently studying evidence.
Last week, Yahoo's Jason Cole covered an aspect of the lockout that most people haven’t gotten to yet - the issue of the players' health once the lockout ends. The subject matter hasn’t gotten a lot of press so far, but I have spoken with other docs and healthcare providers since early last year about this same issue. The concern revolves around what will happen when a lot of players - veterans and rookies alike - hit the field after an extended layoff. Relatively few of them will be in ‘football shape’. Many won’t even be in shape to get into shape, as it were.
Brett Fischer, the founder of Fischer Sports in Phoenix said, “There’s no light at the end of the tunnel to those guys.”
There actually is a light; the problem is, it appears to be an oncoming train. Probably for the majority of the players, muscle pulls, tears and other soft tissue damage (like torn ligaments and tendons) are going to happen quite a bit more than usual. As far as the rookies go, there's not that much similarity between conditioning on the college and NFL levels, and concerns about this aspect of the issue go back to last season, where a lot of folks on the doc and trainer side saw this one coming.
Hopefully Mike Freeman knows what he's talking about. The bearer of much of the recent positive news surrounding the labor talks has polled his league contacts and found that there are only four owners likely to vote against the new CBA as is being negotiated: Buffalo's Ralph Wilson, Cincy's Mike Brown, Dallas' Jerry Jones and Washington's Daniel Snyder. Naturally, Al Davis falls under the who knows? designation, while Wayne Weaver in Jacksonville is an unknown quantity at this point, as far as Freeman's sources go. A coalition of nine owners would be required to nix any deal, as 24 of 32 votes are necessary for passage; so if Freeman's contacts are correct then things are indeed looking good.
Notice that Freeman writes, "this is how some in football think," rather than the arrogant "most people in the NFL" or "most NFL evaluators" sort of garbage we Broncos fans have been passionately served in recent years...