I’m never a really big proponent of signing free agents in the first hour of the proceedings, because you end up having to pay top of the market prices for them. I’m a much bigger fan of waiting a day or two, and letting the suckers get their money out there, and see who’s left.
That said, if you really want to upgrade at offensive guard, you could do worse than signing Louis Vasquez. I think he came into his own as a player in 2012, and was definitely the best offensive lineman on the Chargers. Of course, their line was pitiful, and their number-one priority has to be fixing it. By signing Vasquez, the Broncos just helped themselves, and hurt the second-place team in the division in about the worst way they could be hurt.
According to USA Today's Mike Garafolo, the Broncos have agreed to terms with guard Louis Vasquez, who spent his first four years with the Chargers.
Vasquez will reportedly get $23.5M over four years, with $13M of it fully guaranteed.
The move suggests a possible release of Chris Kuper, which we had discussed earlier in the day.
Updated 6:31pm ET
It's a formality, but for the Broncos, it's bigger than any move theyr'e about to make. Peyton Manning passed his physical, which (for now) guarantees his 2013 and 2014 salaries at $20M per year.
But like the recent Tom Brady and Joe Flacco deals, this is not a full guarantee. Should Manning suffer a reaggravation of his neck injury in 2013, his 2014 salary will no longer be guaranteed.
According to Adam Schefter, the Broncos will be hosting Eagles corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall (on Tuesday), who will also visit Arizona, DRC's old team.
USAT's Mike Garafolo says the team will also host Cardinals linebacker Stewart Bradley.
We'll be updating this thread throughout the day, so stay tuned.
Updated 12:12pm ET 3/13/13
By no means is this meant to be a definitive list, nor does it come with the scheme-aware analysis that Ted, Doc, and TJ can offer. But as we await the opening of free agency, here are a few names potentially worth keeping an eye out for:
Austin Collie - Only played one game last year, and has had notable concussion issues. Still, he thrived with Peyton Manning, so why not sign him to a non-guaranteed contract and have him compete with Brandon Stokley?
Terrance Knighton - He was drafted by, and played under, Jack Del Rio for his first three years in the league. He's currently listed at 330 lbs, and Del Rio made it well known last year that he prefers heavier tackles. Knighton's weight may be what keeps his price down, so isn't this a natural fit?
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