Pats replace Welker with Amendola; Denver in on Asomugha; Raiders sign Hunter; Seahawks nab Avril

Not exactly a shocker, but New England has replaced Wes Welker with Rams WR Danny Amendola (five years, $31M, $10M guaranteed), who is one of the players who took over for Welker at Texas Tech.

According to Mike Florio, the Broncos are among four teams currently in pursuit of former Eagles and Raiders corner Nnamdi Asomugha. Anyone care to imagine a secondary trio of Champ Bailey, Asomugha, and Chris Harris, with Tony Carter at the dime?

While the Denver media was busy assuming that Jason Hunter would be playing a larger role in the Broncos defense this year, they forgot he was an unrestricted free agent (we didn't). But the Raiders didn't, and they've signed Hunter, along with Bengals DT Pat Sims and Browns LB Kaluka Maiava.

Again, keep checking back - we'll update this page throughout the day and night. We'll largely stick with yesterday's format, but add a timestamp at the end of each team's line when it's updated. Stamping each item would be a bit cumbersome, so perhaps this is a good compromise.

Updated 8:03pm ET

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Broncos’ deal for Knighton almost complete

According to Adam Schefter, the Broncos' deal with free agent defensive tackle Terrance Knighton is virtually done:

Whether the Broncos attempt to keep Justin Bannan at this point remains to be seen (they could still use him in their rotation), but one thing is for sure, Del Rio now has exactly what he likes--over 660 lbs. of nastiness clogging the line of scrimmage on first and second downs.

As our own Ted Bartlett indicated earlier in the night, the Broncos should still draft a DT this year, there's no doubt.  This signing gives them a lot more flexibility as to when they pull the trigger.

PFT: Broncos leading for Mendenhall

According to Mike Florio, the Broncos are the frontrunners to sign Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall, who is scheduled to visit Denver and Arizona, and has reportedly also drawn interest from the LOLJets, Dolphins, and Falcons.

We're a bit skeptical, but that can partly be attributed to all of us being a bit meh on Mendenhall. FWIW, Rashard saw just 104 snaps in 2012 after a torn ACL cut him down in the Steelers' 2011 regular season finale. He's accumulated 941 carries, 4,210 yards, and 31 touchdowns in 57 games.

Gut Reaction: The Broncos re-sign Kevin Vickerson

I'll just start by saying that I'm very happy that the Broncos re-signed Kevin Vickerson.  He did a terrific job for them in 2012 and played a big part in them doing such a good job against the run for most of the season.  Along with Justin Bannan and Derek Wolfe, the Broncos' front-three did a nice job occupying the opposing five offensive linemen in the run game, and allowing the other front-seven players to flow to the ball.

Fundamentally, all things being equal, I always think it's better to re-sign a player than it is to sign a free agent from another team.  With an outsider, you face scheme risk, in the sense that you don't know if a guy translates to what you're going to ask him to do.  The Broncos know that Big Vick can play in multiple alignments, two-gap on base downs, and one-gap some in passing downs.  What they're doing schematically isn't really common, so knowing a guy can do the job is key.

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Dumervil’s agent: Pay cut? Not so much…

The Elvis Dumervil story has taken yet another turn, and it doesn't lend itself to the DE remaining in Denver. As reported by Mike Klis:

Magid sent back a proposal Tuesday that lowered his client's asking price from $12 million in 2013, but then added that reduction onto his contract in the form of guarantees for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Ian Rapoport says on NFLN that the Broncos now stand a better chance of keeping Dumervil around. We hope that's the case, but will believe it if/when that occurs.

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Broncos retain Kevin Vickerson

The Broncos are still scheduled to host 325-pound defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, but he won't be replacing Kevin Vickerson on the team.

According to Adam Schefter, Denver has agreed to terms on a new two-year deal with Vickerson, who had accepted a 46.7% pay cut (from $2.25M to $1.2M) to stay with the team in 2012.

In 17 games, Big Vick tallied a +3.6 grade on 537 snaps according to PFF, with two sacks, four QB hits, nine hurries, and a pass defensed. PFF credited him with 32 total tackles, 26 stops, and charged him with two missed tackles.

Justin Bannan, Denver's other starting defensive tackle, is also an unrestricted free agent.

Dumervil changes tune, willing to take pay cut

According to Ian Rapoport, Elvis Dumervil has had a change of heart, and is now willing to accept a pay cut from the Broncos.

Think the mild contract agreed to by Paul Kruger (five years, $40.5M) has something to do with this?

Gut Reaction: Broncos sign Louis Vasquez

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.

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Broncos agree with former Chargers guard Louis Vasquez

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

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Manning passes physical, triggering guarantee for 2013/2014

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.