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.

Broncos to host Rodgers-Cromartie, Mendenhall, Bradley, Knighton; Raiders cut Huff, DHB

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.

Mike Silver says the Bengals and Dolphins are also interested in Mendenhall.

USAT's Mike Garafolo says the team will also host Cardinals linebacker Stewart Bradley.

Pete Prisco says the team will host Jags DT Terrance Knighton, who has reportedly drawn interest from three teams.

We'll be updating this thread throughout the day, so stay tuned.

Updated 12:12pm ET 3/13/13

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Pre-Free Agency brain dump

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:

No Brainers

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?

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Putting two and two together on Freeney and the Broncos

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.

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Dumervil asks Broncos for earlier release

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.

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Broncos release Williams, Hanie

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.

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Rosterbation: Legal tampering edition

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.

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Seahawks nab Harvin, will pay him; Niners get Boldin; Broncos have shopping list of corners

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

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Broncos retain Bruton with three-year deal

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.

Sun-Sentinel: Broncos pursuing Reggie Bush

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.

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