According to Adam Schefter, the Broncos will use their franchise tag on kicker Matt Prater. The 27-year-old has been Denver's full-time kicker for four seasons and has made 90 of his 112 field goal attempts, a success rate of 80.4%.
Should Prater sign his franchise tender, he will be assured a $2.6M salary and a raise of $800K over his 2011 figure. Last season was an eventful for Prater, who was arrested in August for crashing his truck into a parked car while drunk and after having picked up an employee at area strip club Shotgun Willie's. It took him only months to find redemption, as several game-saving and -winning kicks had none other than JC singing his praises on national television.
The Broncos and Prater will still have until the beginning of the 2012 season to agree to a long-term contract.
Von Miller's dominant season earned him the AP's Defensive Rookie of the Year award in a vote that wasn't nearly as close as expected. Miller took 39 of the 50 votes, while Niners DE Aldon Smith received the other 11 votes. Drafted second overall out of Texas A&M, Miller was credited with 11.5 sacks, 64 tackles, four passes defensed, and two forced fumbles.
But Von wasn't just exceptional relative to his rookie status - PFF rated him the best linebacker in all of football. His 50.3 overall rating nearly doubled the next best 4-3 OLB (Daryl Smith, 27.6) and easily beat the second best overall linebacker (Cameron Wake, 43.4). PFF also credited Miller with 12 sacks, 19 QB hits, 29 pressures, and 41 stops to go with zero missed tackles.
Sometimes these writer voted awards are popularity contests (like the HOF votes which were just announced), but they got this one right. Congratulations, Von!
The Broncos have lost defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to Oakland, where he will take over as their new head coach. Denver will again be searching for someone new to run their defense and will start the 2012 season with their seventh DC in as many seasons. Allen had been an assistant for the Saints under DC Gregg Williams before John Fox made him a coordinator for the first time, and like Williams he showed himself a confident and aggressive coach unafraid to dictate terms to opposing offenses.
There's been some speculation that ex-Jags coach Jack Del Rio is a possibility, and Dave Krieger says current Denver LB coach Richard Smith is another option. Del Rio was the Carolina DC for one season under Fox in 2002 before taking the head job in Jacksonville, while Smith has been a DC in Miami (2005) and Houston (2006-08).
Adam Schefter is reporting that Tim Tebow suffered the following injuries early in the third quarter of Saturday's loss at New England:
Tebow tore cartilage on his first rib where it attaches to his sternum, bruised his lung and had fluid buildup in the plural space of his chest
Three Four reactions:
Per Adam Schefter, the Miami Dolphins plan to interview Mike McCoy a second time. The interview will take place on Thursday in New York. This time, Miami owner Stephen Ross will be sitting in. Why so serious, Miami?
the guy I used to shove into a locker John Clayton, this means McCoy has a great chance of landing the job.
Plus, the Broncos have promoted Matt Russell from director of college scouting to director of player personnel, and they hired former Yale OC/QB coach Brian Stark as their West Coast scout.
According to Jason La Canfora, Oakland has scheduled an interview with Denver OC Mike McCoy for their head coaching vacancy tomorrow. McCoy already met with the Dolphins yesterday regarding their HC opening, and the Bucs are also rumored to have interest in McCoy.
Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie will be in Denver tomorrow to speak with both McCoy and Dennis Allen.
Meanwhile, longtime Denver strength and conditioning coach Rich Tuten has been told he will not be back for the 2012 season. Tuten had been the Broncos strength coach since Mike Shanahan's first year as head coach, 1995.
Former Broncos T Mike Current was found dead this morning at Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, killed by an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Denver selected Current in the third round (58th overall) of the 1967 Draft out of Ohio State; he went on to play in 169 NFL games in 13 seasons, spending nine of those years with the Broncos. He made the Pro Bowl as a Bronco in 1969, and he also played for the Dolphins and Buccaneers.
Current, who was 66, had become an author in his post-playing days, and he wrote a memoir of his career titled Rememberin'...Life in the Trenches. Our thoughts at IAOFM go out to Current's family and friends. (via DP)
Update 7:26am ET 1/18/12: It appears society will not be missing Current - he had been accused recently of sexually assaulting several children.
Former Broncos owner Edgar Kaiser died on Wednesday at the age of 69 while in Toronto. Kaiser originally purchased the team from the Phipps family in 1981 for roughly $30M before selling it to current owner Pat Bowlen in 1984 for $65M. Although Kaiser only owned the Broncos for three years, it was a remarkably impactful tenure; in 1981 he hired Dan Reeves, and in 1983 he pulled off the unthinkable in acquiring John Elway from the Colts.
But in 1999, Kaiser filed a lawsuit against Bowlen in an attempt to repurchase part of the team and claiming the latter had violated the terms of their sale agreement. A jury sided with Kaiser in 2004, but the Colorado Court of Appeals agreed with a Denver district judge's ruling which had sided with Bowlen.
With Lonie Paxton ruled out for tomorrow's game, the Broncos have signed veteran long snapper David Binn, formerly of the Chargers. Binn, who turns 40 next month, spent all of his 17 seasons in San Diego and is the Chargers' all-time leader in games played at 256; San Diego released him prior to the 2011 regular season. To create room for Binn on the roster, Denver waived FB Austin Sylvester, who had been promoted from the practice squad three weeks ago but failed to see action with the team.
It turns out the Broncos will be without LS Lonie Paxton tomorrow for their divisional playoff game against New England. Word had been that despite missing practice this week due to personal reasons, Paxton would be present tomorrow. Denver doesn't list a backup long snapper on its depth chart, but Arnie Stapleton says Russ Hochstein is likely to fill in for Paxton. According to PFW, the Broncos worked out two long snappers yesterday: Jason Kyle and Andrew Schulze.
I was going to insert a spy joke here, but obviously something rather serious is going on in his life. Whatever Lonie's dealing with, our thoughts go out to him and his family.