Unable to find a trade partner after having dragged his name through the mud, Tampa Bay finally did the right thing and released quarterback Josh Freeman on Thursday. Freeman will be paid the balance of his $6.2M salary.
Prior to cutting the cord with their former first-rounder, the Bucs had fined Freeman multiple times and may have leaked word of his presence in the league's drug-testing program, a potential breach of confidentiality.
Nowhere has it been suggested that the Broncos face stiff competition within their division or conference. Yet, while Denver is two weeks away from getting back Von Miller, and perhaps Champ Bailey before that, two key foes lost crucial defenders yesterday.
New England nose tackle Vince Wilfork reportedly suffered a torn Achilles tendon on Sunday night, while earlier, San Diego linebacker Dwight Freeney (who had visited Dove Valley in March) reportedly tore his quadriceps tendon.
The NFL's trade deadline is still 4.5 weeks away (4pm ET on Tue, Oct 29), and no team (except for the Browns) is ready to cut bait on 2013.
Of course, trades can occur anytime between now and then, and Robert Mays has a few ideas, including one that would have Denver send a fifth-round pick to Carolina in exchange for left tackle Jordan Gross:
Why the Broncos should pick up the phone: With Ryan Clady done for the year, Denver’s only real weakness appears to be at left tackle. Replacement Chris Clark played very well against Lamarr Houston on Monday night, but Gross is a proven commodity. Denver has the inside track to the Super Bowl right now, and bringing in a proven left tackle as a one-year rental would be a perfect way to keep it. You can replace “Denver” with “Seattle” in that last sentence, and the point stands
There's only one change on the injury report today, as Tony Carter made a limited return to practice.
Champ Bailey and Joel Dreessen remained limited, while Duke Ihenacho and Paris Lenon did not practice.
Once again, nine Broncos are listed on the injury report but were full participants, while for the Eagles, Jason Peters was a full participant, and Patrick Chung did not practice.
According to Mike Silver, the Browns have turned away several calls about the potential availability of left tackle Joe Thomas via trade.
Rumors of a Browns fire sale, coupled with the season-ending injury to Denver LT Ryan Clady, had led some to speculate that the Broncos might call about Thomas.
There's a chance the Broncos will get back one key defender Monday, in Champ Bailey. But Champ's possible return could be offset some by the potential absence of Shaun Phillips, who missed practice Saturday due to back spasms.
Bailey, Phillips, and Joel Dreessen are listed as questionable on Denver's final injury report for the week, while eight others are probable.
It doesn't quite make up for the loss of Ryan Clady for the season, but Denver received welcome news with Thursday's limited return to practice by Champ Bailey (foot) and Joel Dreessen (knee).
Duke Ihenacho (shoulder) was also limited, although he's said he fully expects to play on Monday night against Oakland. Six other Broncos are listed on the injury report but were full participants Thursday.
In a stunning move, the Browns have sent running back Trent Richardson to Indianapolis in exchange for a first-round pick next year.
Cleveland selected Richardson third overall in 2012, when the team was owned by Randy Lerner and led by Mike Holmgren, Tom Heckert, and Pat Shurmur.
As expected, the Broncos have signed Winston Justice (6-6, 317) to take the roster spot of All-Pro Ryan Clady, who was placed on season-ending IR.
Justice, whom Denver hosted for a workout on Tuesday, was a second-round pick by the Eagles in 2006, and in seven NFL seasons has started 43 of the 59 games in which he's played.
Happy Wednesday, friends. I wanted to weigh in briefly on the Ryan Clady news, because it’s obviously of material importance to a Broncos team that’s off to a terrific start this year.
A Lisfranc injury is serious, and it’s definitely the sort of thing that would prevent a LT from performing at a high level, or really, being able to perform at all.
I know what some of you are thinking – did a championship season just go up in smoke with one injury? I’m pretty sure the answer is no. Clady is an excellent player, but he’s not as impactful as several other players on the team. If the defense can survive the loss of both Von Miller and Champ Bailey, the offense can withstand the loss of Clady.