For a few weeks, following Kansas City's acquisition of Alex Smith, the AFCW has been home to three number-one-overall pick quarterbacks (Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer) and a fourth-overall choice QB (Philip Rivers) who was acquired in return for another one who had been taken first overall (Eli Manning).
That division-wide lofty pedigree is about to be downgraded a bit though, as the Raiders are reportedly nearing a deal to acquire one-time seventh-rounder Matt Flynn from Seattle to replace Palmer. Flynn had been the Seahawks' booby prize of last year's free agency, after the team's brass had flown to Colorado, only to be rebuffed by Peyton Manning.
According to Mike Klis's original article, the Broncos will turn their attention to signing former Falcons DE John Abraham, who has been a rumored target of Denver's for much of his career. Ex-Colts DE/LB Dwight Freeney would reportedly be the fallback plan beyond Abraham; both players visited Dove Valley on Thursday.
NFLN's Michelle Beisner cites a source who says the Broncos are "making a hard push for Freeney."
Updated 7:00pm ET
With the Broncos set to host aging vets John Abraham and Dwight Freeney tomorrow as potential replacements for Elvis Dumervil, another decorated thirtysomething defender is in the news tonight.
Ed Reed will reportedly bid Baltimore adieu and head to Houston on what is expected to be a three-year deal worth around $4M/year. If true, he'll be accepting a salary far below the $7M figure he was said to be seeking.
There's been some speculation that losing Reed would prompt the Ravens to up their offer to Dumervil, but landing the defensive end wouldn't solve their vacancies at safety. Baltimore had previously cut Bernard Pollard loose, and they will reportedly meet soon with ex-Raiders safety Michael Huff, who has drawn interest from Green Bay, Dallas, and Tennessee.
According to ESPN's Ed Werder and Adam Schefter, the Broncos are set to host Colts DE Dwight Freeney and Falcons DE John Abraham on Thursday.
Abraham has been characterized in recent days as Denver's fallback to re-signing Elvis Dumervil, with Freeney the next contingency.
John Elway announced yesterday that the team had presented an offer to Dumervil, but as we'd expected, it was apparently a lesser proposal than the one verbally agreed to by the two sides on Friday.
Updated 4:22pm ET
Just interviewed John Elway, he said "we've made an offer to Elvis." Will post video to the site soon.— Chris Hall (@BroncosTV) March 19, 2013
Here's the corresponding video mentioned by Hall. We've transcribed what Elway says in the clip:
Updated 2:52pm ET
The Broncos and Elvis Dumervil's new agent, Tom Condon, recently appealed to the league office to have the defensive end's reworked three-year, $30M contract recognized. As anyone familiar with how the Ginger Hammer operates might expect, the NFL turned down the request.
But as Mike Klis suggests, honoring the verbal agreement between Denver and Dumervil would set a precedent the league would like end up regretting.
Klis says the Ravens - whose linebackers coach is Don Martindale, the former Broncos LB coach (2009) and DC (2010) - have already been discussing contract parameters with Condon for Dumervil's services.
Updated 6:29pm ET
Following the stunning news that a fax snafu had resulted in the release of Elvis Dumervil after he'd agreed to a pay cut, both the Broncos and Marty Magid, Dumervil's agent, have shared their versions of events.
This drama has the potential to join Jay Cutler's alleged phone snub of owner Pat Bowlen, and Tim Tebow's claim that the Broncos didn't give him a choice between trade destinations, in the annals of Broncos communication breakdowns.
As usual, the truth likely lies somewhere between Magid's retelling, which he shared with USA Today's Mike Garafolo, and John Elway's, as told to Mike Klis of the Denver Post. Let's line them up to compare:
Updated 9:28pm ET
A few days ago, we suggested that cutting Elvis Dumervil before the start of free agency would be the right thing to do, and the proper sendoff to a player who'd given seven years to the team.
Turns out, waiting was the best course of action.
According to Adam Schefter, Dumervil has agreed to a pay cut, and will remain with the Broncos for the 2013 season.
Elvis Dumervil landed $43.156M in guarantees in 2010. More recently, Tom Brady got $57M guaranteed, while Joe Flacco got $52M. Staggering figures, and big news, right?
Sure, except for the part about the guarantees.
Here at IAOFM, we've long taken pride in focusing on the guaranteed portions of player contracts. The advertised length and total value of deals tend to be farces, which only serve to make players seem better paid than they really are, and for their agents to prop up their own reputations.
Originally reported as a one-year deal for $5M, it turns out Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie got a two-year contract, with a voidable second year.
According to Aaron Wilson, DRC's deal is worth $10M over two seasons, with a $4.2M signing bonus, $800K salary in 2013, and voidable $5M salary for 2014. Jason La Canfora reports that the second year voids as long as Rodgers-Cromartie is on Denver's roster five days after the next Super Bowl.
Adding a voidable year, which is essentially a phantom extension of a one-year contract, is done solely for the purposes of spreading a cap hit.