It's been suggested several times over the past couple of months that Philip Rivers might be headed to Tennessee in return for the #2 pick in the upcoming draft, which San Diego would then use to select Marcus Mariota out of Oregon (provided that Tampa Bay goes with Jameis Winston at #1).
Each time, it would have been perfectly reasonable to dismiss the notion as offseason BS or excessive rosterbation. But the rumors haven't died yet, and now the draft is but two weeks away. Here's what's being written about Rivers' future in San Diego:
Wes Welker is visiting with the Dolphins on Wednesday, according to Ian Rapoport, who notes that it's Welker's first visit of free agency. Greg Jennings met with Miami on Tuesday but left without a deal.
When the Chargers dumped him after just one game in 2004, Welker signed with Miami and proved a jack of all trades. He caught passes, carried the ball, returned punts and kickoffs, and even placekicked. New England threatened to sign Welker to a poison-pill-laden restricted offer sheet in 2007, and the Dolphins sent him northward for two picks, one of which became Samson Satele.
A day after the Broncos agreed to acquire Gino Gradkowski to compete at center, former starter Will Montgomery appears headed to Chicago to join John Fox and Adam Gase, according to the Tribune. Along with signing Montgomery, the Bears are expected to release longtime starter Roberto Garza.
Once Montgomery officially leaves, Denver's only remaining unrestricted free agents will be Quinton Carter and Wes Welker. Demaryius Thomas was tendered at the franchise level, while John Youboty was nontendered as an ERFA.
According to Jeff Legwold, the Broncos are interested in signing defensive lineman Antonio Smith, who was waived by Oakland on Tuesday. The Texans are reportedly also interested in a reunion with the man lauded for his leadership and known as the Ninja Assassin.
Smith (6-3, 290) has played five seasons in Arizona, five in Houston (under current Broncos defensive line coach Bill Kollar), and one in Oakland. He was due to draw $3.2M in salary plus $800K in roster and workout bonuses this season, and his departure saves the Raiders $4M against their cap.
Demaryius Thomas says he won't be joining Peyton Manning at his annual Duke workouts, or participate in the Broncos' offseason workout program. Denver's top wideout tells Jeff Legwold he hopes to secure a long-term deal, adding about his health,
I'm getting getting my body right, still working through a little soreness in my Achilles, but I could run routes
Prior to the start of the new league year, it was reported that the Broncos would aggressively pursue a free agent center, possibly Rodney Hudson or Stefen Wisniewski. But Hudson got a megadeal to replace Wisniewski in Oakland, and Denver hasn't yet made a move at the position.
2014 starter Will Montgomery remains unsigned, while Gary Kubiak has mentioned 2014 sixth-rounder (and practice squadder) Matt Paradis and newly added guard Shelley Smith as options, along with several veteran free agents.
Writes Mike Klis:
It appears the team is hoping to re-sign veteran Will Montgomery, who is a free agent.
Does "appears...hoping" mean the team is actively pursuing a new deal with Montgomery? Honestly, it's anybody's guess. That's some real vague stuff right there.
Here are the details on Darian Stewart's contract with the Broncos, according to Aaron Wilson:
The Broncos may try Bradley Roby at free safety and will sign a veteran free agent center to compete with Matt Paradis, as John Elway tells Mike Klis. Speaking at the annual league meeting in Phoenix, Elway says of Roby,
He can tackle, he's tough, and that safety has to be a cover guy there. There are a lot of different combinations you need to play because the game is changing. Instead of having a strong safety, you want both of them to play center field.
The Broncos had reportedly hoped to re-sign free agents Mitch Unrein and Jacob Tamme, but it now appears that both will be gone. According to ESPN's Vaughn McClure, Tamme has reportedly agreed to a deal with Atlanta, where he was visiting on Wednesday. McClure suggests Denver may still be in the picture, though, and Mike Klis reports that Denver finally made Tamme an offer during his trip.
Tamme, who turned 30 four days ago, has been a teammate of Peyton Manning's for all seven of his NFL seasons. Given that he took a $4M pay cut recently, we imagine Manning would be especially irked for Denver to lose his close friend over perhaps a matter of six figures.