Another wild day for Broncos, NFL Lard 3-22-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! What a day for the Broncos and the NFL, and where to start? Suppose we should go in chronological order, because my head is still spinning.

Roger Goodell lowered the boom on the Saints, whose SB 44 win will be forever tarnished by their bounty scandal: the Commish fined the team and took away two second-rounders, suspended Mickey Loomis (eight games), Sean Payton (the entire 2012 season), Gregg Williams (indefinitely), and Joe Vitt (six games); more to come once the league finishes investigating individual players.

Williams issued another apology; Drew Brees is stunned by the developments, but he now has a truckload of leverage in his contract negotiations with the team. NFLN's Warren Sapp unleashed his big, fat mouth fingers on Twitter, accusing Jeremy Shockey of being the "snitch" who blew the whistle on the institutionalized head hunting. Of course, we're still talking about something that's likely always been a part of the league's culture. But this heavy punishment was not just about injuring players - it was Goodell reminding everyone who's boss - and the Saints will be feeling the pain all year long.

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Gut Reaction: End of the Tebow era

In his press conference tonight with the New York media, Tim Tebow once again took the road less traveled.

That's because no one takes the high road any longer.  

He thanked his fans in Denver, spoke highly of his new coaches and teammates, and reaffirmed his commitment to being a team player--even if it meant sitting behind Mark Sanchez and playing in wildcat packages. He also reaffirmed his commitment to working hard and improving as a quarterback. Simply put, he was typically Tim Tebow.

As I listened to Tebow, I couldn't help but remember another former Broncos quarterback that left Denver after only a few seasons: Jay Cutler. Although blessed with twice the talent, Cutler was half the man on his way out of town. Pouting was his brush; sulking his paint; melancholy his work of art. Tebow would have none of this silliness. It's beneath him. He wouldn't waste his energy on such trivial things.

There's another key difference between Cutler and Tebow, and it's this: Tebow will forever be etched in Broncos lore. No matter what happens during his time in the league, he joins a list that we all hold dear.  This list includes Craig Morton, John Elway, Brian Griese, and Jake Plummer. What do they have in common? All of them have taken the Denver Broncos to the playoffs. 

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Broncos took best deal; Tebow had no input; Jets declare Sanchez starter

Contrary to previous reports, the Broncos did what was in their self interest as an organization.

Vic Lombardi reports:

NEWS: I can confirm the Jets offered the better draft picks. The Jags package was less attractive. The Broncos chose the Jets.

Mike Klis confirmed this:

Jags offered same $2.53 million rebate as Jets. No more. Difference was Jets gave 6th to Broncos in return for 7th. A 40-plus move up.

Lombardi also confirmed that neither Tebow nor his brother Robby had any input into the trade.

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Jets to acquire Tebow, split refund with Broncos

Adam Schefter is reporting on ESPN that the Broncos and Jets have again agreed to a deal that will send Tim Tebow and a seventh-rounder from Denver to New Jersey in return for a fourth- and sixth-rounder. The Jets had announced the same trade earlier in the day but had not yet read the details of the quarterback's contract; at issue was the $6,277,500 guarantee Denver had paid Tebow last summer.

$5,036,250 of that figure covered Tebow's 2012-2014 salaries, and as is customary with such advances, any team acquiring Tebow would owe the Broncos a refund on the salary already paid but not yet earned. Instead, the Jets and Broncos have agreed to split the difference, meaning the Jets will be sending Denver about $2.5M to complete the deal.

According to Schefter, the Jaguars had jumped back into the bidding after the initial deal fell through, and were willing to pay most or all of that $5,036,250 figure. Schefter reports that Tebow ended up having some input into where he landed, and he chose the Jets, despite wide assumptions he preferred to go home to Florida.

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Broncos add WR Andre Caldwell

According to Jason Cole, the Broncos have signed former Bengals WR Andre 'Bubba' Caldwell (6-0, 190) to a two-year deal. Caldwell, who was drafted by Cincinnati in the third round of the 2008 Draft, has 124 catches for 1,172 yards and six touchdowns in 51 career games, 14 of them starts; he turns 27 next month.

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Tebow’s Choice: Jags or Jets or whatever works best

Per Vic Lombardi:

Twitter has turned this job into verbal sportstalk radio. I love it. Still waiting on Tebow. Sounds like Jets are trying to make it work.

More to follow.  Not sure if Vic is 95% sure the Jets are trying.

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Tebow trade to Jets hits snag; Jags in the mix; Robby Tebow enters the fray

According to Adam Schefter, there is a chance the Broncos' trade of Tim Tebow to the Jets will fall through due to financial aspects of Tebow's contract that the Jets find unsatisfactory:

Denver and Jets have encountered hangup in language in Tim Tebow's contract that could nullify trade. If the Tebow trade to Jets falls apart, St. Louis could wind up getting back into play. Sides sorting through details. Tim Tebow has $5 million worth of recapture language, meaning Jets would have to pay back money to Denver. Jets might be unwilling. Complex. The same money issues in Tim Tebow's contract caused complications for Jacksonville trying to complete trade. Now Jets facing them.

This is a surprising development, especially since Tebow and Jets coach Rex Ryan share the same agent, Jimmy Sexton.

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Broncos lose Bunkley to Saints

Brodrick Bunkley has spurned the Broncos' efforts to re-sign him, choosing instead to join the coachless Saints; Lindsay Jones says the team had been optimistic last night they would retain the 28-year-old tackle. According to Adam Schefter, Bunkley has agreed to a five-year deal with $9M in guarantees.

Bunkley had helped revitalize Denver's defense in 2011; according to PFF, he was the third-rated defensive tackle in the NFL overall, and the best against the run. The Broncos had acquired Bunkley last summer in exchange for a conditional 2013 draft choice believed to be a sixth- or seventh-rounder.

Goodell drops hammer on Saints

Roger Goodell has delivered his verdict on the Saints' institutionalized bounty system, and the punishment will be severe:

  • Saints HC Sean Payton has been suspended for the season without pay
  • GM Mickey Loomis has been suspended for eight games
  • Rams DC Gregg Williams has been suspended indefinitely
  • Assistant HC Joe Vitt has been suspended for six games
  • New Orleans has been docked $500K and their 2012 and 2013 second-rounders

Player punishments have not yet been determined.

Broncos agree to trade Tebow to Jets

A day after signing Peyton Manning to a five-year deal, the Broncos have agreed to trade Tim Tebow and their seventh-round choice in April's draft to the Jets in return for New Jersey's fourth- and sixth-rounders. However, the deal has encountered a snag, as the Jets are apparently balking at language in Tebow's contract.

As of now, the Broncos now have one pick in each of the first, second, third, fifth, and sixth rounds, plus two in the fourth round. Denver's own fifth-rounder went to Cleveland to complete the Peyton Hillis/Brady Quinn deal, while the team acquired the Rams' fifth-rounder in return for WR Brandon Lloyd. The Broncos' own sixth-rounder went to the Eagles in return for LB Joe Mays, who was re-signed earlier in the week.