The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Daily Lard 8-3-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As Andrew Mason points out, Ty Warren has been banged up for much of the past three seasons, even before the hip injury that put him on IR last year. Warren missed three games each in both 2008 and 2009, after having played in 89 of 90 regular season games prior to that. However, Mason also thinks Warren should have more success in Denver than did Jamal Williams, thanks to being five years younger and finding himself part of a deeper rotation at DT.

On the flip side, Denver lost out in its bid to bring back Ryan Harris, who instead signed with the Eagles for less money, and in a not-so-comforting thought, Klis suggests that Chris Clark could actually "push" Orlando Franklin for the starting gig at RT.

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The Daily Lard 8-2-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In an interesting and pleasantly surprising development, Mike Klis says T Ryan Harris is likely to re-sign with the team. Throughout the offseason, it has been almost a foregone conclusion that Harris would leave, perhaps to rejoin Shanny in Washington or head to Houston with Kubes. None of the Broncos' brass ever brought up Harris' name voluntarily when discussing the offensive line this offseason, and they even gave draftee Orlando Franklin his jersey number the other day, so they obviously didn't expect the guy back, either. But bringing Harris back could prove an extremely valuable transaction to the team, perhaps buying Franklin the time to learn his new position gradually, or if Franklin impresses, Harris will instantly become one of the best backup tackles in the league.

Meanwhile, the Broncos will only have to pay new DE Derrick Harvey the $600K minimum, and Brodrick Bunkley will make $685K (the fifth-year minimum has been raised from the $635K figure I cited yesterday). Harvey is expected to back up both Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers, while the pick Denver dealt to Philly for Bunkley is a conditional 2013 choice. In other great financial news, Denver is paying new TEs Daniel Fells and Dante Rosario one-year veteran minimum contracts. To make room for Bunkley and Harvey, the Broncos released S Nick Polk, who had signed a futures contract in January, and CB James Rogers, who was signed as an undrafted rookie last week.

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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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