The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

NFL greats speak out against illegal guns Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! If you read but one football article today in its entirety (you know, aside from this one), we cannot recommend the following one highly enough.

Former longtime AJC reporter Drew Jubera published a book last year about the storied Valdosta High football program, and in a column for the Times, he explains why his long-held resentment toward football coaches was turned completely around by his experience at Valdosta:

The team’s all-American tight end is the son of a former N.F.L. player whose career was cut short by drug addiction. The father later was shot in the head while he was trying to rip off a street dealer for $5 worth of crack. He survived, put his life back together, and showed up to watch practice every day, cane in one hand, determined that his son would not repeat his mistakes.

Those kinds of stories have become a regular part of the human interest features churned out during the buildup to national championship games and Super Bowls.

But for high school coaches in places like Valdosta, where it all begins, those stories are called Monday.

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Peterson suffered sports hernia in Week 10 Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In all honesty, I found it difficult, if not impossible, to muster any outrage at Adrian Peterson having beaten out Peyton Manning for league MVP last weekend.

Of course, I agree with TJ's point that even the worst quarterback is roughly equivalent in value to the best running back. In those terms, Peterson over Manning is similar to Miguel Cabrera over Mike Trout in MLB, and I thought that decision was ludicrous.

Perhaps it's because I'm still too busy feeling bitter about Denver's loss to Baltimore and blown opportunity at a Lombardi Trophy.

Whatever the cause, and even if you are upset about the MVP voting, there's some news regarding Peterson that casts his performance as even more incredible than we already knew.

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Broncos down to $14.1M in cap room Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! A week ago, we speculated that Denver's cap space had slipped to around $15M after allowing for incentives and escalators triggered during the 2012 season.

Turns out our number was a bit optimistic, as according to PFT, the Broncos currently have $14.1M in available room, which is down from the $18.5M they had just a month ago.

To be crystal clear, this is a 2013 figure, meaning anyone schedule for unrestricted or restricted free agency is not included on the Denver payroll. Re-signing any or all of Brandon Stokley, Tony Carter, Britton Colquitt, Mitch Unrein, Justin Bannan, Kevin Vickerson, David Bruton, Dan Koppen, and Jason Hunter will eat away at that $14.1M figure.

Re-signing Ryan Clady or applying the franchise tender to him (very likely to occur) would swallow the majority of it.

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Broncos may still move Franklin inside Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As we dive into the 2013 offseason, it's always helpful to be reminded of some of the procedural rules coming into play.

First up is the waiver rule, and this is relevant because almost every article about Detroit's dumping of Titus Young inaccurately describes the move as a release or cut. The problem with that wording is it suggests Young is a free agent who could sign with any team, and that just isn't the case.

As a player with less than four years' service time, Young instead had to be placed through waivers. This is why the Seahawks won't be able to cut Russell Wilson and give him a raise, as some had suggested could happen. He'd have to be waived, and obviously, that would result in him becoming the Chiefs' next starting quarterback.

In Young's case, the Rams were the only team to put in a claim, and he's now their property, rookie contract and all.

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Look for Dumervil to stick around at current pay Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! One of our readers emailed us a fine question yesterday about Denver's offseason strategy as it pertains to Elvis Dumervil. Writes Isaac:

Should the Broncos actively look to move Elvis Dumervil this offseason? Don't get me wrong - I love Elvis. I love having him on this team. However, I do not feel that he is currently worth the amount he is getting paid. I am open to this line of thought based on two factors:

1) His production has not improved to where we hoped it would after his string of injuries and his play does not merit the salary he is due to make.

2) The Broncos need all the help they can get money wise if we are going to keep this team contending for a championship for the next 2-3 seasons.

I do believe we have a servicable replacement already waiting in Robert Ayers, and more help can be brought in via draft/free agency. If we can move his salary AND get draft picks or a good player in return, it is a win/win for the Broncos. Is it time for the Broncos to pursue this move? Should they ask him to re-structure?

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What might have been, and flipping the page

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's kind of hard to know what to feel today. On one hand, there will always be a sense that the 2012 Broncos were good enough to win the Super Bowl, and we won't ever know what might have been had Rahim Moore gotten to his proper depth.

We've wondered for many years what would have happened had Michael Dean Perry just gotten himself off the field a little faster sixteen years ago, or if Champ Bailey had been able to pull in that early would-be pick-six against Ben Roethlisberger nine years later.

1996, 2005, and 2012 are years that could have been, and nothing that happens going forward will erase the sting of those losses.

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Why the HOF’s enshrinement limit should be eliminated

Good Morning, Broncos fans! For many of us, this is a bitter weekend. The Broncos are not playing in the Super Bowl, while the team that is, beat them in large part thanks to a 70-yard Hail Mary pass.

The cherry on top is that no Broncos will be entering the Hall of Fame this year - not Terrell Davis, not Randy Gradishar, neither Karl Mecklenburg nor Steve Atwater. Of course, that's old news, since none of them even made it beyond the semifinal round of voting. Gradishar didn't even get that far this time around.

As HOF voter Jim Trotter stresses, there are plenty of major flaws with the Hall's selection process, not the least of which is TD's exclusion. Trotter makes a fine case on Davis's behalf, and we'll again ask - how many eligible men were the best player on two Super Bowl-winning teams but are not in the HOF?

That should probably be enough on its own, but when you throw in a 2,000-yard season, a league MVP, a SB MVP, and by far the best postseason resume of any running back in history, and TD is a no-brainer.

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Broncos raise season ticket prices

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As Super Bowl week mercifully comes to a close, the conversation runs the gamut from the Harbaugh brothers, to Ray Lewis's past, to PEDs, to homosexual athletes.

One topic, however, has remained at the forefront throughout the week: player safety.

To that end, Roger Goodell suggested yesterday that the league would look to levy suspensions on players found to be repeat offenders on delivering helmet-to-helmet hits.

But even as President Obama questions whether he'd allow his child to play the sport, and Ravens safety Bernard Pollard suggests the NFL won't exist in thirty years, Jeffri Chadiha expects the game will only continue to gain strength and popularity within the American landscape, mostly because there's too much at $take.

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Escalator bumps Woodyard’s 2013 salary from $2M to $3M

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Interesting post over at the DP regarding Denver's 2012 player salaries from Nick Groke, who writes occasionally for their First-and-Orange blog.

Groke isn't a beat writer or anything, but he's apparently replaced our friend Lindsay Jones as the DP's "football writer who actually cites intelligent sources from around the internet," as evidenced by his prior post which examined Foxball from the vantage of Brian Burke and Keith Goldner of Advanced NFL Stats.

Unfortunately, there appears some incorrect info in today's entry, as Elvis Dumervil is listed as being the team's highest paid player in 2012, at $18.95M. Our guess is Groke got this figure from Spotrac1, but as explained by the commenters on the salary site, Spotrac appeared to have treated Elvis's salary advances as extra bonuses on top of his base figure.

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Is Denver’s 2013 cap space already eroding?

Good Morning, Broncos fans! For the past three weeks, we've been citing a report from John Clayton that Denver will enter the 2013 league year with $18.5M of cap room.

However, it's unclear whether that figure accounts for performance escalators that were triggered during the 2012 season. Our guess is that it doesn't, but we should all hope it does.

If not, then Denver's cap room is quite a bit smaller, as known incentives would already lop off $2.011M, and there are likely more we don't yet know about.

Thanks to incentives reported by Shutdown Corner, Champ Bailey (+$500K to $9.5M)1, Jacob Tamme (+$125K to $2.625M), Eric Decker and J.D. Walton (+$693K to $1.323M), have all earned raises for 2013.

It's a pretty good bet that Demaryius Thomas also earned a significant pay raise, as he had for 2012, and there's also the possibility that Zane Beadles and Chris Harris did as well.

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