The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Daily Lard 8-1-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! There's no hotter topic in Dove Valley than the Broncos' tight ends, as Denver is about to have six of them, pending the results of Dante Rosario's physical. Andrew Mason says that rookie Julius Thomas has already been showing rapid progress over the first several days of camp, and that while Virgil Green has also been impressive, it's Thomas who has shown more refinement. Mason figures the signing of Rosario and Daniel Fells could spell trouble for incumbent TEs Richard Quinn and Dan Gronkowski.

Meanwhile, Mike Klis writes that Fells will compete with Quinn for the starting blocking TE job, while Rosario, Gronkowski and perhaps even Thomas will fight to be the starting receiving TE. According to Klis, the Broncos' FO decided to pursue Fells and Rosario only recently - days before the start of training camp.

Plus, Klis says that Ty Warren is expected to decide today where he'll be playing this season.

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The Daily Lard 7-31-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Former Patriots DE Ty Warren met with the Broncos last night (apparently it's okay for Denver to now show interest in ex-Pats), and according to Legwold, Denver is close to re-signing Marcus Thomas. Perhaps not a sexy or exciting move as he's not new, but a wise one following Thomas' emergence last year. And judging by the surprisingly small contracts (relative to expectations) being doled out to DTs like Cullen Jenkins and Brandon Mebane, it shouldn't cost the Broncos a whole lot. Just a WAG, but a four-year deal for around $16M would seem fair. We'll see, though.

Willis McGahee's four-year deal with the Broncos is pending the results of his physical.

Mike Klis offers up a terrific piece on the relationship between Shannon Sharpe and his late grandmother; Shay Shay is headed to the HOF next Saturday.

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The Daily Lard 7-30-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mike Klis writes that Kyle Orton requested a trade following last season after correctly sensing the Broncos were leaning toward going with Tim Tebow. He also says the Dolphins and Orton were close to a renegotiated contract on Tuesday night before Miami got cold feet, and that the Broncos never submitted an offer to Miami as far as draft choice compensation goes. Klis writes that talks between the teams heated up again Wednesday but obviously failed, and he says the Broncos will not release Orton since they already paid him a $1.5M roster bonus and owe him $2.879M of his 2011 salary.

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The Daily Lard 7-29-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Nothing brewing on the Kyle Orton-to-Miami talk, and Mike Klis says it continues to be a matter of Kyle and the Dolphins trying to work out a new contract. Hopefully Miami GM Jeff Ireland & Co. realize they're dealing with a new reality thanks to the rookie wage scale and eye-popping veteran contracts such as those signed by Kevin Kolb and Eric Weddle, among others.

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The Daily Lard 7-28-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Klis says Denver and Miami have been close to a deal for Kyle Orton since Tuesday night, and that Kyle's Denver teammates arrived yesterday expecting him to already have been traded. Now, with no deal imminent (Orton's agent and the Dolphins are apparently still working on a new contract), Orton is due to be at workouts this morning at Dove Valley, and Klis says Kyle will be taking first-team snaps. Hmm. I find this very hard to believe - not that Orton is going to show up, but that the Broncos would let him do more than stand around or risk an injury that would blow up any trade and force them to pay his full salary this year.

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The Daily Lard 7-27-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As far as defensive tackles go, Mike Klis says the Broncos are going after Seattle's Brandon Mebane and Tony McDaniel of Miami. Denver is apparently interested in Cullen Jenkins, but he may prove too expensive, and the Saints' Remi Ayodele is a natural fit due to his familiarity with Dennis Allen, although no word on whether Denver has contacted him. Plus, Legwold says the Broncos are in on Aubrayo Franklin and Derek Landri.

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The Daily Lard 7-26-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! That was quite a busy night, and I won't recap everything here that we already covered a few hours ago - if you missed any of the signings or TJ's late-night UDFA Edition Gut Reactions, just head back to the earlier entries. The biggest news of the morning, if not a surprise, is Mike Klis' report that the Broncos are in fact putting Kyle Orton on the trading block. However, Klis also interestingly writes that if the FO doesn't find an offer to its liking, he thinks Orton will remain the starter in Denver.

Worth repeating here for clarity's sake, Brandon Browning was originally reported as having agreed to terms with the Broncos, but it appears he has ended up with the Rams. Plus, as IAOFM reader Snaggins astutely pointed out, "dead money" from contracts terminated before March 11, 2011 will not count against the salary cap in 2011. I will have more thoughts on this development later on, but this has major implications for the Broncos and puts the release of Justin Bannan in a new perspective.

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The Daily Lard 7-25-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Expectations remain that the NFLPA's executive committee and 32 player reps will vote to approve the CBA, although a pair of emails from Drew Brees to his Saints teammates details a shorter and more chaotic timeline than was reported yesterday. According to Brees, free agency may begin on Tuesday at noon for all parties - meaning no exclusive negotiating period for teams to retain their own UFAs, and with both veterans and undrafted rookies able to sign contracts at that point. Brees also wrote that some teams may aim to open training camps by Thursday, with players reporting the day before to check in and possibly receive their physicals.

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The Daily Lard 7-24-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Adam Schefter is reporting that the players and owners have come to an agreement on all remaining issues, and the NFLPA is planning a major press conference tomorrow. The NFLPA's executive committee reportedly plans to vote on the deal tomorrow, with the 32 team reps to then vote on whether to recommend the deal to the players, who would report to camps on Wednesday and vote whether to recertify and ratify the CBA. Once the NFLPA has enough votes to recertify, teams would be able to renegotiate existing deals and negotiate with their own free agents starting on Wednesday, although no contracts would be signed until Saturday, July 30 at 2PM ET.

The owners have apparently relented on the Friday deadline to negotiate the issues that must be collectively bargained (and thus must wait until the union recertifies) such as player discipline, benefits and safety. According to Schefter, De Smith has promised the Commish that the NFLPA would work to settle those issues before the first scheduled preseason games, and apparently Smith has taken over much of the workload from Jeffrey Kessler as a show of good faith to the owners, who are mistrustful of Kessler.

Really, was that all so bad? Haha just kidding. Obviously, we're excited to be able to move on tomorrow from all this labor stuff and get back to writing about real, actual football. Thanks as always for your readership and support.

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The Daily Lard 7-23-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Beacon of hope Chris Mortensen says there's still a possibility of a vote by the NFLPA sometime this weekend, while it's expected that discussions between the lawyers for the two sides will continue. The players are apparently seeking an opt-out clause (with penalties) for both sides after seven years, although it's described as not being a deal-breaker. Obviously with an agreement still unreached, the calendar set out on Thursday by the Commish which provided for teams to negotiate with their own free agents and draftees starting today (and undrafted players tomorrow) has been delayed.

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