Happy Friday, friends. We’re now a couple days into the free agency and trading period, and the Broncos haven’t done too much yet, except sign their own draft picks, trade Jabar Gaffney, and haggle with the Dolphins about the price for Kyle Orton. I’ve observed some angst about the pace of things in our comment threads and on Twitter, and I wanted to address that today.
I think most of us would agree that Defensive Tackle is the primary need area for the Broncos, and the good news is that not very much has happened there yet. It seems that the market for that position group is waiting for a big deal to pave the way for others to come, but the only two major agreements among the “big defensive linemen” group were with Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen - both going to Washington - and neither was an outlandishly-priced contract for their production. It’s interesting with so many Eric Weddle Specials flying around, how none have hit this cohort.
To start out, I want to talk about “big defensive linemen” briefly, and what I mean by that. Simply, I mean that there are certain players who can play DT in an even front and DE in an odd front (especially one-gap versions) interchangeably. These tend to be guys who are in the 6-2 or 6-3, and 285-300 pound size range. Taller guys tend to specialize as DEs in 2-gap odd fronts, and stouter ones tend to strictly be Nose Tackles.
11:33pm ET - Armando Salguero writes that the Dolphins have not given up on the idea of dealing for Kyle Orton. Of course they haven't. (Thanks, Nick!)
10:20pm ET - FOX 26 Sports in Houston is reporting that Denver is among several teams interested in Texans FB Vonta Leach.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Nothing brewing on the Kyle Orton-to-Miami talk, and Mike Klis says it continues to be a matter of Kyle and the Dolphins trying to work out a new contract. Hopefully Miami GM Jeff Ireland & Co. realize they're dealing with a new reality thanks to the rookie wage scale and eye-popping veteran contracts such as those signed by Kevin Kolb and Eric Weddle, among others.
The Broncos have signed the rest of their 2011 draft choices today. This morning, they agreed to terms with second-rounder OT Orlando Franklin and third-rounder LB Nate Irving. Franklin, who practiced with the first team already, agreed to a four-year deal worth
$4.35M $4.361M including a $1.68M $1.668M signing bonus. Irving's deal was completed just before practice on Friday.
10:19pm ET - Sadly, Arnie Stapleton says the Broncos have been priced out of the competition for Brandon Mebane's services.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Klis says Denver and Miami have been close to a deal for Kyle Orton since Tuesday night, and that Kyle's Denver teammates arrived yesterday expecting him to already have been traded. Now, with no deal imminent (Orton's agent and the Dolphins are apparently still working on a new contract), Orton is due to be at workouts this morning at Dove Valley, and Klis says Kyle will be taking first-team snaps. Hmm. I find this very hard to believe - not that Orton is going to show up, but that the Broncos would let him do more than stand around or risk an injury that would blow up any trade and force them to pay his full salary this year.
At 11:30pm ET John Elway announced the signing of seventh-round draft pick Jeremy Beal.
Elway is really digging the announcements of signings and trades via Twitter. Let's hope he announces some big ones soon.
Denver has signed three of its 2011 draft choices, agreeing to four-year deals with seventh-round pick TE Virgil Green, fourth-rounder TE Julius Thomas and sixth-round pick LB Mike Mohamed. According to Mike Klis, Green's contract includes a
$17,282 $69K signing bonus. The rest of Denver's nine picks should sign in relatively short order, as the new CBA prevents holdouts and places specific guidelines on how much teams can spend on their draft choices. With Green's $2.16M deal, Thomas' $2.592M $2.42M deal ($384K bonus) and Mohamed's $2.2M deal (the latter two figures reported by Lindsay Jones), the Broncos should have $37.698M left to sign the balance of their picks.
According to Aaron Wilson, the Broncos have placed WR Demaryius Thomas on the non-football injury list while the second-year receiver recovers from surgery to repair his torn Achilles tendon. The NFI list differs from the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list in that Thomas will remain an active member of the Broncos' roster and be eligible to return to practice at any point after being cleared via physical. Were he on the PUP list or the reserve/non-football injury list, Thomas would be unable to practice or play until after Week 6 of the regular season. Don't read too much into this though, as Thomas could of course be placed on the PUP list at a later juncture.
On July 18, Loren Landow, sports performance expert for Steadman Hawkins Clinic drew 45 players to his workout for pro ballers. They included Brady Quinn, Robert Ayers, Joe Mays, Richard Quinn, Dan Gronkowski, Lance Ball, Cassius Vaughn, Matt Willis and the regular group of offensive linemen led by Chris Kuper and including Russ Hochstein, J.D. Walton and Zane Beadles, as well as free agent-to-be Ryan Harris. That shows me that there’s still a lot of will and cohesion on the team, despite the problems of the 2010 season. It’s a good start.
"We have all the talent in the world," said Broncos punter Britton Colquitt at the Diamonds in the Rough Charity Golf Classic, Cherry Hills Country Club. "We just didn't have all the X factors to put it all together. Now we've got the coaching, we've got the motivation. Everybody's going to want to come in there and have a great camp."