Prior to today's franchise tender deadline, Denver LT Ryan Clady, Cincy DE Michael Johnson, Buffalo S Jairus Byrd, Indy punter Pat McAfee, and Chicago DT Henry Melton were tagged.
The Titans had been likely to tender TE Jared Cook, but expectations that Cook would dispute being tagged as a TE rather than a WR have contributed to Tennessee opting not to tag him.
Kansas City had a flurry of activity, agreeing to new contracts with WR Dwayne Bowe and P Dustin Colquitt, and tagging LT Branden Albert.
As expected, the Broncos have placed their franchise tag on left tacke Ryan Clady. However, the team has wisely opted to apply the non-exclusive tender to their All-Pro, meaning other teams will have the opportunity to sign Clady away, at the cost of two first-round picks to Denver.
It had been speculated that Denver would use an exclusive tag, meaning Clady wouldn't have had the chance to negotiate with other teams. But as we had suggested two weeks ago, there are plenty of solid reasons for the Broncos to go the non-exclusive route.
The NFL has set the 2013 salary cap at $123M per team, which is an increase of $2.4M over the 2012 figure of $120.6M. There's some confusion here, as Chris Mortensen says the figure is actually $123.9M, but given that Albert Breer works for the NFL and acknowledges the discrepancy, we'll trust that he has the correct number at $123M flat.
According to USA Today's salary site Spotrac, this means the Broncos currently have a healthy $17,769,751 in available cap space.
According to Jay Glazer, the not-so-mysterious mystery team said to be acquiring Niners QB Alex Smith is indeed the Chiefs.
Reports on the compensation heading to San Francisco is varying wildly - Tim Kawakami says it's a second-rounder this April and a "similar pick" next year, while Jason La Canfora continues to expect that it's a more modest third- or fourth-rounder.
Like Kawakami, Adam Schefter is hearing the trade will include multiple picks, although he doesn't suggest which rounds they'll be from.
Philadelphia released Cullen Jenkins today rather than pay him a looming $1M roster bonus. Jenkins had been due to earn $5.5M in compensation in 2013, the third season of a five-year, $25M deal signed in 2011.
The 32-year-old defensive tackle had reportedly been a target of the Broncos heading into 2011's post-lockout free agency, but along with Seattle's Brandon Mebane, he priced himself out of Denver's comfort zone.
Cullen's deal with the Eagles (as part of their now defunct self-dubbed Dream Team) was a unique one, scheduling for him to make $12.5M in 2012, when he took a cut down to an $800K salary, along with his $5M roster bonus.
It's one of the biggest questions that's hung over the Broncos' 2012 and 2013 offseasons. Actually, make that two.
How much money does Ryan Clady want, and is Denver willing to pay it?
Last summer, we were told the left tackle was seeking a deal to trump that of Cleveland's Joe Thomas, who got $44M in guarantees as part of a seven-year extension. That deal was agreed upon while Thomas was still under contract for one year with the Browns, and amounted to an eight-year deal worth $80.5M in total.
Denver's response was a reported five-year offer worth $50M, including $28M in guarantees, which would have replaced the $3.5M he ultimately drew last season.
A year ago, the face of the Broncos (no, the real one) did his part to help recruit Peyton Manning to Denver.
Now that Manning has usurped Champ Bailey as the team's unquestioned leader, he's in turn looking to reprise that role as lead locker room pitchman.
During a visit with PFT Live, former Colts pass rusher and one-time AFC DPOY Dwight Freeney said he'd already heard from his former teammate:
The move to make a violent sport safer just took a big step forward:
It is officially time to relearn tackling in college football.
Many programs already have been in the process, trying to break the habit of defensive backs and pass rushers of going high on unprotected receivers and quarterbacks. But now there is new urgency to avoid helmet-to-helmet contact.
The NCAA forced the issue this week by recommending a rule that will eject anyone who is flagged for targeting a defenseless player.
Following the departure of longtime player and special teams assistant Keith Burns to Washington, where he'll coordinate special teams under Mike Shanahan, the Broncos have acted quickly to replace him.
Denver today announced the hiring of Derius Swinton as their new ST assistant under coordinator Jeff Rodgers.
Swinton is entering his seventh season as a coach, and fifth at the NFL level.
Broncos QB Peyton Manning was named the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year and the FedEx Air POY for his 2012 performance, but Vikings RB Adrian Peterson topped Manning in the voting for both league MVP and Offensive Player of the Year.
LB Von Miller received one vote for DPOY and was the only thing standing between Houston's J.J. Watt and a unanimous claim of that well deserved award.