As we just noted in the Lard, Mike Florio is hearing that Peyton Manning has made clear to the Broncos that he'd like to them to sign his former Colts teammate Dwight Freeney.
While speculation of Freeney to Denver didn't make a ton of sense last week, it's a more viable option given the latest developments with Elvis Dumervil.
We've noted that Elvis's narrower role in the Broncos defense is likely the biggest reason the team doesn't want to pay him $12M this season.
As we've maintained all along, the latest chapter of Elvis Dumervil's Denver career was likely be the final one, and that's becoming closer to fruition with each bit of news.
According to Mike Klis, Dumervil's agent Marty Magid has asked the Broncos to release the defensive end ahead of Tuesday's 4pm ET opening of free agency.
Given the slim chances of getting a team to trade for Elvis and his $12M salary - which becomes guaranteed on Saturday - letting him go now would seem to be the right thing to do.
The Broncos released linebacker D.J. Williams and third-string quarterback Caleb Hanie on Monday. The pair of moves saves the team $7.25M in cash and leaves $2.2M in dead money on the 2013 cap, thus freeing up just over $5M in cap room.
Williams had been due to draw a $6M salary, while Hanie was set to earn $1.25M; both players fulfilled lesser roles in 2012 than they might have envisioned. Wesley Woodyard established himself as Denver's starting Will linebacker in the absence of Williams, who served nine games' worth of suspensions for a DWAI conviction and PED violation.
Hanie, who had been signed to a two-year deal within days of the addition of Peyton Manning, was relegated to street clothes for the entire season, as second-rounder Brock Osweiler served as Manning's primary backup from the get-go.
Happy Monday, friends. As some of the rumors start to come out about free agency, I have some thoughts on a few of the Broncos-related ones. Let’s rosterbate, shall we?
1. Doug linked to an Omar Kelly report that the Broncos are the leader for Reggie Bush, and he questioned the likely veracity of the rumor, because Bush isn’t bigger or more durable than any of the current Broncos RBs.
I don’t really agree that the Broncos need a big back, because Willis McGahee does fine in that role, and it’s a reasonably safe assumption that he’ll be back to full health in 2013. I wouldn’t call him injury-prone either, over the majority of his career. I do think that McGahee is best in a committee situation, and whether the Broncos acquire another back or not, that that's where he'll find himself in 2013.
The first big reported trade of the offseason included the Niners shipping Alex Smith to the Chiefs for a second-rounder this year and a conditional 2014 pick.
San Francisco's rivals have pulled off the next major deal, as the Seahawks have reportedly acquired WR Percy Harvin from the Vikings in exchange for three draft choices, including Seattle's 2013 first- and seventh-rounders, and a mid-round pick in 2014.
The trade is pending a physical, and like the Smith deal, cannot be finalized until 4pm ET tomorrow, when the league calendar flips.
Updated 10:39pm ET
John Elway announced Monday via Twitter that the Broncos have agreed to terms on a three-year deal to keep backup safety and special teams ace David Bruton in town.
The 2009 fourth-rounder was credited by PFF with three special teams tackles in 2012, and he nabbed his first career interception in the regular season finale against Kansas City. Bruton, who had a partial punt block against Oakland in Week 4, saw just 34 snaps on defense, notching two tackles, a QB hurry, and QB hit.
Via Omar Kelly:
Reggie Bush is competing with a few free agent tailbacks. But he'll pick between Denver, Arizona and Detroit. I hear Denver is the leader...The tailback market is also like a stack of dominoes. Steven Jackson, Bradshaw, Michael Turner, Mendenhall, Green, all impact Reggie Bush. But I'm told Reggie Bush is trying to get with a pass first team so that he can be utilized ideally, playing to his strengths.
This one seems a bit hard to believe. Bush is no bigger than any of Denver's current backs, and for much of his career, he hasn't been any more durable than them, either.
Mike Klis reports that the negotiation between the Broncos and the agent for DE Elvis Dumervil has not progressed this weekend.
Given the circumstances, and the way this story first broke, we're of course not in the least bit surprised.
According to Klis, the two sides exchanged proposals on Thursday and Friday, and there's been radio silence ever since.
Mike Florio's interpretation is that Denver knows how much Elvis is willing to play for, and they're now scouring the DE market to see if they can get better value with someone else, whether it's Dwight Freeney, Osi Umenyiora, John Abraham, or Cliff Avril.
Jeff Legwold and Mike Klis have long maintained that Denver would be looking to upgrade at running back this offseason. According to Klis, one of the players the Broncos have targeted is Pittsburgh's Rashard Mendenhall, who made $1.8M in the final season of his rookie contract.
The 25-year-old back, who is listed at 225 lbs, managed just 244 yards on 60 touches, with three fumbles (!) in six games in 2012; he had suffered a torn ACL in the Steelers' 2011 regular season finale.
Mendenhall has reportedly also drawn interest from Arizona and Miami.
Unsurprisingly, the bloodletting of highly paid veterans is continuing today, first with Pittsburgh's release of former DPOY James Harrison. It remains to be seen which teams will be interested in signing Harrison; Ted had suggested Houston as a possibility, while Khaled Elsayed thinks Indy, Arizona, and Cleveland would be well-served to consider him.
WR Anquan Boldin, who had 22 catches and four touchdowns during Baltimore's postseason run, is likely the next big name to become available, as he has reportedly turned down the Ravens' request for a pay cut.
DE Elvis Dumervil appears likely to join that list, and the Broncos are said to be one of several teams scouring the DE market in advance of that decision.