The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

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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Today’s Lard is sponsored by the force of gravity

Good Morning, Broncos fans! We get a lot of complaints when we go "off-topic" here, especially when it concerns the activities of a certain former Bronco (even if prompted by a current Bronco, or the greatest Bronco ever).

Anyway, to quote another former Bronco, we DOOOONNNTTT CAAAAAAARRRRRE. For the record, nothing regarding a current or former Bronco is ever even close to being off-topic, and we never claimed we'd write solely about the Broncos here, anyway, so there's also that.

With that in mind, we're dedicating this space today to highlight the words of one of the great scholars of our time, one Jose Canseco. Granted, Canseco never even played in the NFL, even less for the Broncos. But would anyone doubt that if we were to ask him, Jose would say he could have been an NFL HOFer?

Good enough for us.

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Happy Franchise Tag Day Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The two-week period during which teams may apply their franchise tags commences today and ends at 4pm ET on Monday, March 4.

Of course, we laid out all of the rules of using the tender last week, and John Elway openly acknowledged the team will be employing it to keep Ryan Clady from hitting the open market.

We're still not entirely convinced that Denver should be going the route of the exclusive tag, as the worst-case scenario of choosing the non-exclusive tender means getting another team's next two first-round draft choices.

Even if this wouldn't result in any cap savings, the team could theoritically go after another top young tackle like Branden Albert or Sebastian Vollmer for money similar to what they're willing to give Clady, and pocket the two top picks as an extraordinary bonus. If no team is willing to pay such a hefty price, then Denver hasn't lost a thing - not Clady, nor anything relative to the cap.

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A plan for Denver at kicker Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Who wants to talk kickers?

Continuing an offseason series for PFF, Nathan Jahnke lists the top available free agent kickers, including former Bronco Steven Hauschka, whom we had unrealistically hoped the Broncos might pursue a year ago.

Hauschka was 23 for 23 inside 50 last season, while Matt Prater was just 23 of 28. Prater was better from 50 and out (3/4 versus 1/4 for Hauschka), but he was also paid three times as much as Hauschka. On kickoffs, Hauschka allowed a higher percentage of returns, but Seattle's opponents actually started with a worse starting field position than Prater's kicks produced for Denver.

No, this is not a call for the Broncos to consider swapping out Prater for Hauschka, who will likely command a raise from the $1.26M he was paid last season.

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The lockout really hit the Ginger Hammer in the wallet Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Via the mailbag, a question from Brian:

I've always been curious as to why you don't see NFL players trying to play for the team that they grew up fans of.

Why didn't Brett Favre ever try to become a Cowboy? Why hasn't Aaron Rodgers tried to force a trade to the 49ers?

Now I understand the NFL is BIG business, or maybe the situation won't allow it (there is already an established or marquee player at that position), but as a fan fantasizing, I think I would accept a significant pay cut for the opportunity to play QB for the Broncos.

I've seen/heard/read players being asked this question in the past. Of course, some of them do get to play for the team they rooted for, ie. Terrell Davis fan Mike Bell, and CO native Mitch Unrein.

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Chiefs have long to-do list, will have plenty of space to complete it Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! For the last two years or so, it's been a foregone conclusion that the Chiefs career of wide receiver Dwayne Bowe would end sooner than later.

Bowe's lengthy holdout last summer had figured to be his last contract-related episode in KC, but with Scott Pioli gone, and Andy Reid now running the show, there's apparently a real possibility that Bowe's stint with the team will continue on.

To that end, the Chiefs have reportedly been discussing a long-term deal with Bowe's representatives, and are expected to continue their talks in the coming weeks.

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport also reports that the team is interested in retaining left tackle Branden Albert, and has been negotiating with his agents. The Chiefs are thought to currently have $14M in cap space, most or all of which is from a 2012 carryover.

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