The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

Denver considering Cards corner Toler Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! At time of writing, we're about 31.5 hours away from the beginning of the 2013 league year, and the opening of the trade and free agent markets.

If you're confused by the movement of some veterans (ie. Cullen Jenkins to the Giants), those players were all released by their prior teams, and became available the moment that happened. Players whose contracts are expiring after the 2012 season are not actually available until tomorrow at 4pm ET.

What will Denver be up to?

We already know they're going to trade (LOL) or release D.J. Williams at some point, although the team-imposed deadline to do so was reported by Mike Klis to be April 15. Joe Mays figures to either also be cut, or accept a severe pay cut ($500K of his $4M salary is guaranteed).

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Broncos reportedly in on Revis, Jackson Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! So, is Denver interested in Darrelle Revis, or not? If we're to go by the latest word, from a source of ESPN's Rich Cimini's, the answer is yes.

Back in January, we didn't think it feasible, but the very next day, Denver was the first team Peter King suggested could land the three-time All-Pro. A few days later, we tied Jason La Canfora's talk of Denver potentially cutting Champ Bailey with an acquisition of Revis.

Three days ago, Ted considered the schematic and financial implications of getting the Pitt alum, although I gave him a brutal bum steer relative to Revis's taggability after the 2013 season (he can't be tagged).

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Chiefs add Dunta Robinson, who had visited with Broncos Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's been an especially busy 24 hours for veteran defensive backs around the NFL.

Dawan Landry, Aaron Ross, Chris Gamble, Adrian Wilson, and Atari Bigby were all cut loose yesterday, while Atlanta has agreed to terms with safety William Moore on a new five-year deal.

Denver was tangentially involved in the action, as they visited with former Falcons headhunter Dunta Robinson prior to him signing a three-year deal with the Chiefs. Denver's interest in Robinson gives credence to Mike Klis's report that the team currently views Chris Harris as a nickel corner, and is seeking an outside starter to pair with Champ Bailey.

Again though, we're not surprised by this, because this isn't the kind of leap a beat reporter is going to make on his own. That's coming from Dove Valley.

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Revisiting Denver’s contractual control of Von Miller Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Let's start off with an excellent question from reader Steve Williams:

Peyton Manning aside, Von Miller is clearly the Broncos' most valuable asset, and as Steve suggests, he's eventually going to get a contract which reflects that.

The big questions of course, are how much Von will get, and when he'll get it.

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Broncos will tender Colquitt, Ball, and Clark Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In a surprising development, Mike Klis reports that Denver plans to tender running back Lance Ball and reserve tackle Chris Clark at the Right of First Refusal level, which will provide them with non-guaranteed one-year deals at $1.323M each.

With Ball and Clark qualifying as restricted free agents, the team has until Tuesday at 4pm ET (when the league calendar flips, and free agency and trades officially kick off) to offer them contracts; Denver has already said it won't tender fullback Chris Gronkowski, whose role in 2012 was almost entirely dedicated to special teams.

Ball and Clark will be free to negotiate with other teams, but the Broncos would have an opportunity to match any offer sheet. If either player is unexpectedly signed away, Denver would receive no draft choice compensation.

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Yesterday’s Broncos news, brought to you by AXE™ Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Not to be too cynical, but interesting that Von Miller's SB guarantee came just hours in advance of him making the rounds and visiting with Mark KiszlaMatt UffordPFT Live, and NFLN, all the while promoting AXE™, wouldn't you say?

Granted, it's really cool that Von tied it into the story of his cousin Jeremiah (our thoughts are with you, little buddy), and we appreciate that he answered our question at the 21-minute mark of his livecast with Ufford, but there's no way it was, shall we say, an organic guarantee (not that it really matters).

Of course, there's no telling that to the morons who comment on this stuff.

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PMFM is not a deep thrower? Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mike Klis maintains the Broncos will likely place a second-round tender on Britton Colquitt, which would mean a one-year contract worth $2.023M.

Added to Matt Prater's $2.5M salary and $3,312,500 cap number, that's $4.523M in pay, and $5,335,500 in cap dollars - 4.3% of the cap - for two kickers who are aided by altitude for half of their games.

Pretty ridiculous, although at least Colquitt ranks among the league's better punters (fourth in net average in 2012), whereas Prater is one of its least accurate kickers (27th in 2011, 26th in 2012).

But none of this is anywhere near as incredible as the $8.9M in guarantees (!) paid Britton's older brother Dustin by the Chiefs, as part of a five-year, $18.75M deal (!!).

We just have to hope Britton doesn't have designs on being the highest paid player in his family. Granted, the team's gross overpayment of Prater doesn't exactly provide us much hope..

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Broncos to trade (LOL) or cut D.J. Williams Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! You've read it here countless times, but it's finally confirmed: D.J. Williams is done as a Bronco.

According to Mike Klis, Denver will attempt to trade D.J. and his $6M salary, and if when they're unable to do so, they'll cut him prior to April 15, which is apparently the first day of the offseason conditioning program.

Williams is owed no guarantees, but is set to count for $8,082,500 against Denver's cap this season. Any team that would trade for him would assume the non-guaranteed $6M salary, and the Broncos will be left with $2,082,500 in dead cap space whether they cut or trade him.

At this point, the Broncos are hoping against hope that they'll get a seventh-rounder in the 2030 Draft, if it's even possible to trade a pick that far out (we're not sure).

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Who would replace Clady? Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Now that Denver has gone the non-exclusive route to tag Ryan Clady (as we'd suggested they do), it's time to start considering potential replacements for the unlikely scenario in which another team signs him away.

Denver would receive two first-round picks as compensation, should they choose not to match an offer sheet from another team. At this point, only Washington lacks a first-rounder, so a Shanny and Clady reunion is not a possibility (Shanny could trade for a first-rounder, but he already has a fine tackle in Trent Williams, anyway).

Bengals right tackle Andre Smith will surely reach free agency, as Cincy opted to use its tag on DE Michael Johnson, while New England is not expected to tag right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, whom Ted saw as a left tackle just a couple of years ago.

FWIW, Smith tied Clady for the fourth-best grade among tackles in 2012 according to PFF (+26.9), while Vollmer ranked 13th (+21.5). Both Smith and Vollmer allowed far more sacks and hurries than Clady did, but that can partially be explained by the Manning factor (less so in Vollmer's case, since the guy he blocks for is pretty good)

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Ravens give Flacco biggest deal in NFL history; five players tagged

Now that the combine is over, and the 2013 league year is approaching, the NFL offseason is starting to heat up.

Teams have until 4pm ET on Monday to apply their franchise tags, and eight days later, at 4pm ET on Tuesday, March 12, the league calendar will flip, opening the trade and free agent markets.

At that hour, teams will have to have exercised any options, submitted offers to restricted free agents, and minimum-salary tenders to exclusive rights free agents, and most importantly, be compliant under the Top-51 salary cap figure, which will sit at $123M.

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