The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

Would Osweiler be top-ten pick? Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! CU tight end Nick Kasa caused quite a stir when he said an NFL team had asked him about his sexuality during a combine interview.

To nobody's surprise, Kasa wasn't the only one subjected to such inappropriate questioning. Michigan State running back Le'Veon Bell says he was peppered with the same bizarre queries, prompting the NFLPA to suggest teams be punished for these alleged illegal employment tactics.

According to NFLN's Albert Breer, two team executives admitted that given the opportunity to ask Manti Te'o one question, it would be about whether he's straight or gay. Because, you know...THIS MATTERS.

Meanwhile, the league's most outspoken supporters for gay rights, Ravens LB Brendon Ayanbadejo and Vikings P Chris Kluwe, filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court (as did the Justice Department) in an effort to strike down California's same-sex marriage ban, Proposition 8.

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Drafting well is cap health necessity Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As a fascinating exercise, PFF has been measuring the graded value of players relative to the salaries they earned in 2012. Today, they're covering the Broncos.

Von Miller, Chris Harris, Demaryius Thomas, Rahim Moore, Orlando Franklin, and Eric Decker lead the way among underpaid players, with Wesley Woodyard, Brandon Stokley, Tony Carter, and Zane Beadles rounding out that group.

Elvis Dumervil is seen as having the most bloated salary, but as Ted illustrates so well, it's important to consider Elvis's role within the defense when assessing his play and value.

Chris Kuper, Tracy Porter, Joe Mays, Ty Warren, and D.J. Williams are more obviously overpaid relative to performance, while Champ Bailey, Peyton Manning, Robert Ayers, and Willis McGahee round out the mandatory remaining spots on the ten-player list.

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Piling on Rahim Moore Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mark Kiszla says he can't forgive Rahim Moore his season-costing mistake against Baltimore, and he thinks the Broncos should find a pricey replacement for him in free agency.

The Denver front office likely feels a bit differently, given that the 2011 second-rounder showed vast improvement during his sophomore campaign, which followed his first full offseason (the lockout had shortened his preparation for the 2011 season).

While Moore will stand out for eternity as the most obvious scapegoat for the divisional-round stunner, plenty others deserve blame, including Champ Bailey, Chris Kuper, Matt Prater, Tony Carter, John Fox, and to a degree, Peyton Manning.

We can only hope that one play will neither serve to define Moore's career, nor determine his Denver fate.

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Tom Brady is the real ultimate teammate Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Peyton Manning may be (almost) everyone's ultimate quarterback, but Tom Brady is the ultimate teammate, and he's again proven that with his latest contract extension.

Brady and the Patriots agreed to a three-year deal worth an eye-poppingly low $27M (total, not per year), which will keep him under New England's control through the 2017 season.

The remarkable contract is a reprise of the one Brady signed in 2005, which at the time valued the three-time SB winner at two-thirds of what Indy had given Manning a year earlier ($9.55M vs $14.2M).

Now of course, Brady will get more guaranteed cash out of the deal, else the NFLPA would never allow it be consummated.

But the result for New England is that they'll have substantially more cap room, which they can use to either add more veteran free agents, or potentially retain their own key ones, including Wes Welker.

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Broncos looking at Gronk-free 2013 Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver currently has four players set to become restricted free agents, while two others are exclusive rights free agents who are stuck at the league minimum.

The latter two are Tony Carter and Mitch Unrein, who will definitely be back with Denver, at salaries we believe will be $715K and $480K, respectively, provided our reading of their accrued seasons is correct.

As for the restricted free agents, Mike Klis speculates the team will use a second-round tender on Britton Colquitt, which would be worth a $2.023M salary and a massive raise for the punter (he made $540K in 2012), and compensation of a second-round pick from any team that tries to sign him away, provided Denver opts not to match.

Klis reports the team will likely let fullback Chris Gronkowski walk; Chris was acquired from Indy a year ago in exchange for reserve corner and kick returner Cassius Vaughn. Try not to be confused, but Chris's brother Dan had been acquired by Denver in exchange for reserve corner and draft bust Alphonso Smith; Dan is currently on the Browns.

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Broncos reportedly will pursue Shonn Greene Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Coming off a two-win season, and with a new front office running the show, the biggest offseason issues within the AFCW undoubtedly reside in Kansas City.

Of course, the Chiefs' most significant task is finding a starting quarterback.

It's widely presumed that the team, along with the rest of the league doesn't view WVU's Geno Smith as worthy of the first overall pick. To that end, GM John Dorsey suggested he may take A&M's Luke Joeckel there, while also re-signing Branden Albert, even though both are seen as franchise-type left tackles.

Back to who they'd be protecting, word trickled out last week that new head coach Andy Reid was interested in having Nick Foles follow him from Philly, but the Eagles are apparently serious about having Foles compete with Michael Vick for their starting job.

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Smokin’ Jay Cutler, smokin’ Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! While discussing the possible recalibration of the NFL offseason yesterday, we did overlook one potential beef, one which John Clayton says could prevent the plan from happening at all.

From Clayton's perspective, the NFLPA would never go for such a change, as pushing back free agency into April would mean delaying veterans the pay days most of them have have spent their careers waiting for.

The league's idea would not only compress free agency, but it would shorten the time period between the start of free agency and the draft, which Clayton suggests could make teams more willing to wait on signing veterans until after they've added their rookie class.

Functionally, this could potentially serve as a way to keep salaries down, and if that's how the union sees it, then Clayton's right - free agency wouldn't be moved - certainly not a whole month.

Meanwhile, Mike Florio says the NFL wants to create some sort of free agency signing day TV spectacle, but as he points out, there wouldn't be any surprises, as news of most signings leak in advance anyway.

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NFL looking to $tretch offseason Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Like any great business, the NFL is always looking for ways to increase its revenues.

Some ideas, like lengthening the regular season while hypocritically claiming to prioritize player safety, are insulting to the sensibilities of players and fans alike, and draw heaps of criticism. Rule changes, such as eliminating the challenge flag infraction that screwed over the Lions on Thanksgiving, are often at the other end of the spectrum, and are welcomed with open arms.

At first glance, the league's latest significant proposal would appear to be somewhere in the middle, and only upsetting to those who bristle at any and all change.

According to Adam Schefter, the NFL wants to stretch out its offseason calendar a bit, by pushing each event back by a couple or few weeks.

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Ray Lewis to render ESPN an even more painful watch Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Apparently, 2012 free agency for the Broncos consisted of signing Peyton Manning and a bunch of cheap veterans. And apparently, there's nothing in between.

At least, that's Jeff Legwold's version of things, and his argument against the team going after any of the more familiar names to have hit the market recently. The big names are more costly than the minimum, and the Broncos should avoid those guys.

Now, we can come up with a slew of reasons for and against signing someone like Charles Woodson or Richard Seymour, but that's not going to be one of them.

The biggest problem we see here is ignoring Denver's important signings of Mike Adams, Joel Dreessen, and Jacob Tamme. No, their signings weren't as splashy as nabbing Neil Smith and Alfred Williams were, or as adding Woodson or Seymour might be. But all signed for much more than veteran minimum salaries, and stand as a fine reminder that free agency isn't just about huge names and deep bargains.

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Poking and prodding today in Indy Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Today begins the NFL's annual cattle call scouting combine, during which paid professionals will fall in love with a prospect thanks to their bubble butt, at the expense of some dude who can just flat out play.

Some future key NFLers, like Denver's own Chris Harris and Tony Carter before them, won't even get a chance to strut around in their Under Armour for the world to see, because they weren't invited to the festivities.

Prospects lucky enough to be in attendance will be going through batteries of medical exams, interviews, strength tests, and on-field workouts.

But it's not just draft hopefuls with whom NFL teams will be meeting; this also marks the true start of tampering season, when agents for pending free agents will meet with GMs and in some cases even strike deals.

And, it turns out those GMs will apparently have a bit more cap room to work with than previously expected, as the 2013 cap number is now likely to be above $122M per team.

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