The long, slow dance to reunite Brandon Stokley and Peyton Manning in Denver ended today with the Slot Machine agreeing to a one-year deal with the Broncos.
Stokley, who hosted Peyton when he visited the Broncos at Dove Valley to kick off his free agency tour, played with Manning for the Colts from 2003 to 2006 before spending three seasons in Denver and making a home in Colorado.
During an afternoon presser following the start of Denver's offseason workout program, Manning was asked about the possibility of Stokley joining him with the Broncos, to which he responded, "Anytime management wants to add good football players to this team, I'm in favor of it."
According to Mike Klis, the Broncos will release defensive tackle Ryan McBean today. Denver had given McBean an original-round tender (fourth-round) worth $1.26M last month, but the fifth-year player is facing a six-game suspension, which he is fighting, for having allegedly violated the league's PED policy.
PFF had graded McBean at minus-21.6 overall last season (-3.5 run, -14.9 pass rush, +1.0 pass coverage, -4.2 penalty). The most notable moment of his three seasons with the Broncos came during the 2010 season opener, when McBean's two facemask penalties helped the Jaguars along to their game-winning touchdown.
Denver brought back veteran tackle Justin Bannan last week, and speculation continues again this year that the team will draft a DT or two.
The Broncos announced today that they have released cornerback Andre' Goodman after three seasons with the team.
Goodie had been one of the first free-agent acquisitions made by Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders in 2009, when he signed a five-year deal with $9.8M in guarantees. The 11th-year player was due to make $3.42M in 2012 and $3.96M in 2013, the final year of his contract; his original $6M signing bonus should mean he will count for $2.4M against the team's 2012 cap, which would translate to a cap savings of about $2.2M this season and $5.16M in 2013.
We had suggested two days ago that Goodman was a prime candidate for a contract restructuring, and the timing of his release (deep into free agency) tells us he likely turned down a request from the team to rework his contract. That's our
pure speculation educated guess, at least.
Financial terms have not been released yet, but our wildly irresponsible guess is that his salary is fully guaranteed. And as we alluded to this morning, the addition of a solid player like Bannan to the middle of the defense reduces the urgency of overdrafting one in two weeks' time, allowing the team's front office to potentially select for talent over need.
According to Adam Schefter, the Broncos re-signed punter Britton Colquitt, who is entering his third season with the team. Colquitt was an exclusive-rights free agent tendered last month at $540K, so this was a simple formality of Britton signing his tender.
Barring an unlikely extension, the 27-year-old member of the Colquitt family of punters will be a restricted free agent after the 2012 season.
Britton's 101 punts ranked second in the league in 2011, and his average of 47.4 yards per kick was seventh-best.
Nike unveiled the new NFL jerseys for the 2012 season at an event in Brooklyn today. As expected, the Broncos will be switching back to orange as their primary uniform color, and the necklines of their jerseys also received a minor tweak (as did several other teams, it appears). Seattle was the only team whose uniforms underwent a significant overhaul.
Having awarded 32 compensatory picks yesterday, the NFL announced the finalized order for the 2012 Draft, which begins with the first round on Thursday, April 26 at 8 pm ET. The second and third rounds will be held the next night starting at 7 pm, while rounds four through seven will begin at noon that Saturday.
Denver currently has seven picks as follows:
|Round||Pick (Overall)||Note||Round||Pick (Overall)||Note|
|1||25 (25)||4||25 (120)|
|2||25 (57)||5||2 (137)||via STL (Brandon Lloyd)|
|3||25 (87)||6||18 (188)||via NYJ (Tebow)|
|4||13 (108)||via NYJ (Tim Tebow)|
Denver's own 5th-rounder went to Cleveland in the Peyton Hillis/Brady Quinn deal, their 6th-rounder to Philly in the J.J. Arrington/Joe Mays trade, and their 7th-rounder went to the Jets in the Tebow swap.
It appears that our suspicions were right all along--the Broncos sought a cure for Tebowmania sooner than we were told.
According to Tania Gangiuli of the Florida Times-Union, Denver started shopping Tebow during last month's pre-draft Combine:
The Broncos began quietly shopping the quarterback at the NFL scouting combine in February. When the Broncos became the frontrunners to acquire former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. Tebow’s days in Denver seemed numbered.
The narrative that kept the kids nestled comfortably and sleeping peacefully in their beds all over Broncos Country--namely, that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get Peyton Manning and that the Broncos were more than comfortable to go into 2012 with Tebow as their starter--was, apparently, a spoonful of sugar fed to Tebowmaniacs to help the medicine go down.
The aftertaste? Bitter.
A little over a month ago, John Fox said the Broncos would acquire at least two new quarterbacks to the Denver roster this offseason:
Who, what, where, when, what market — it's still way too early how we get those quarterbacks.
Of course, few could have predicted that the first two steps in Denver's QB overhaul would be the acquisition of Peyton Manning and trade of Tim Tebow for a mid-round pick. That changeover is another step closer to completion today, albeit in less dramatic fashion, and involving a far-less heralded player.
The Broncos added former CSU Ram and Chicago Bear Caleb Hanie, who agreed to a two-year deal; Hanie (6-2, 222) spent four seasons in Chicago backing up former Broncos Kyle Orton and Jay Cutler, going winless in four starts last year after Cutler broke his thumb.