The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

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.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 7-26-11"

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.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 7-24-11"

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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The Daily Lard 7-22-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Chris Mortensen continues to report that a player vote may take place today, is now saying a vote today is unlikely (ed. 11:30AM ET) and that the items still in question are the absence of an opt-out clause and the requirement of recertification as a condition to end the lockout. For some reason, there are also differing opinions on the procedure for recertification, as the owners are suggesting the players do so electronically, while the NFLPA reportedly wants the players to each sign cards once they return to their respective team HQs. To reiterate, the items that Roger Goodell and Jeff Pash said last night would not be changing, specifically player conduct policy, have already been discussed but cannot be collectively bargained or agreed to until the union is recertified and the ratified agreement is submitted to Judge Nelson.

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The Daily Lard 7-21-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Woody Paige thinks that once Tim Tebow proves his worth in the preseason, the Broncos will be able to land both a veteran player and conditional pick in return for Kyle Orton from either Arizona, Seattle, Miami or Tennessee. He also seems to backtrack from his earlier claim that Josh McDaniels was convinced by the front office to extend Orton's contract last year rather than trade him. Rather, Paige writes that McDaniels himself realized last August that Tebow was not ready to be the starting QB. Plus, he says that the ex-coach traded for Brady Quinn not to be the backup necessarily, but to compete with Orton for the starting gig (before drafting Tebow or even knowing he'd want/be able to acquire him). Finally, Woody writes that starting Orton for one more year would be the best (if impractical) solution to allow Tebow more time to develop, and that Kyle is unwilling to stick around as Tebow's backup.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 7-21-11"

The Daily Lard 7-20-11

Good Morning, Broncos! Legal teams for the two sides worked yesterday on a settlement document which is expected to be presented before the NFLPA's executive committee and the 32 teams' player reps sometime today. The player reps would then hopefully recommend the settlement to the named plaintiffs in the Brady suit, followed by recertification of the players' union.

The next step would be ratification of the deal tomorrow by the owners, who are meeting in Atlanta. Shortly afterwards, the owners and team executives would be briefed on the details of the agreement including the 2011 NFL calendar, the rookie wage scale and transaction guidelines, in a seminar expected to last into Friday. Meanwhile, the retired players have said they will not stand in the way of a deal, and the agent for Peyton Manning and Drew Brees vehemently disputed reports that the two QBs are making special demands as part of a settlement of the Brady suit.

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The Daily Lard 7-19-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As Albert Breer reports, lawyers for the two sides met for over eight hours yesterday in NY, while the NFLPA's executive committee is in DC preparing for a meeting tomorrow with the 32 team reps which could result in a recommendation to settle the Brady suit. The owners are hoping to ratify a new deal on Thursday, after which team executives would be briefed on terms of the agreement as it pertains to them. Breer says that although the issue of benefits lost during the uncapped 2010 season is still an unsettled issue, the two sides came to an agreement on retired player benefits.

Meanwhile, Jason La Canfora is hearing the two sides could have a difficult negotiation ahead of them regarding the TV lockout insurance, and that some of the named plaintiffs in the Brady suit are seeking a form of damages - Chargers WR Vincent Jackson and Pats G Logan Mankins want assurance they won't be franchised by their clubs, while DE Osi Umenyiora wants either a new contract from the Giants or to be traded.

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The Daily Lard 7-18-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Revisiting the Steve Wyche/Bucky Brooks podcast from yesterday's Lard, both Brooks and Wyche are convinced that Tim Tebow will be the Broncos' starting QB in 2011. Brooks says that from his time working with John Fox and the Panthers in a scouting capacity, he believes Fox wants a QB who possesses the "It" factor, and that Tebow will be an ideal fit within the more balanced offense Fox prefers. Meanwhile, Wyche says he's spoken with enough people that he's comfortable in stating that the starting gig will be Tebow's to lose, and that he'd have to be a complete flop in training camp or get injured to do so. Wyche also believes that while the Broncos are seeking a second-rounder in return for Kyle Orton, they'd take a third-rounder in exchange for the veteran QB, and that Jake Delhomme is going to land in Denver once Cleveland lets him go.

Wyche also states with great confidence that the Broncos are going to make a major push to sign DeAngelo Williams, although he also puzzlingly suggests the team could be interested in signing another LB in free agency (Brian Xanders has pretty much ruled that out, at least publicly). Brooks thinks defensive tackles Brandon Mebane and Barry Cofield would be excellent fits for Denver, with the aging Pat Williams as a fallback. If you'd like to listen for yourself, the segment where Wyche and Brooks discuss the Broncos begins at the 14-minute mark.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 7-18-11"

The Daily Lard 7-17-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Chris Mortensen writes that the new CBA will be a 10-year deal, and hopes are that a deal will be reached in time for the players to recertify their union and ratify an agreement on Wednesday, with the owners following suit at their meeting the next day. With an agreement nearing, Mort is hearing the players are looking to be compensated for $320 million in benefits that were lost due to the uncapped 2010 season, and to have franchise tags limited to a one-time use for each player. The other remaining issues as reported previously are resolution of the Brady suit and the TV lockout fund, and worker's comp.

Mortensen also writes that going forward, two-a-day practices will be eliminated from training camps, while OTAs would be shortened and start later than they had in prior years. Teams will reportedly have a 72-hour period to re-sign their own free agents, including in the Broncos' case UFAs DT Marcus Thomas and OT Ryan Harris. As Lindsay Jones reported in June, K Matt Prater and LB Wesley Woodyard will be restricted free agents requiring draft-pick compensation to Denver should other teams sign them.

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