Good Morning, Broncos fans! Revisiting the Steve Wyche/Bucky Brooks podcast from yesterday's Lard, both Brooks and Wyche are convinced that Tim Tebow will be the Broncos' starting QB in 2011. Brooks says that from his time working with John Fox and the Panthers in a scouting capacity, he believes Fox wants a QB who possesses the "It" factor, and that Tebow will be an ideal fit within the more balanced offense Fox prefers. Meanwhile, Wyche says he's spoken with enough people that he's comfortable in stating that the starting gig will be Tebow's to lose, and that he'd have to be a complete flop in training camp or get injured to do so. Wyche also believes that while the Broncos are seeking a second-rounder in return for Kyle Orton, they'd take a third-rounder in exchange for the veteran QB, and that Jake Delhomme is going to land in Denver once Cleveland lets him go.
Wyche also states with great confidence that the Broncos are going to make a major push to sign DeAngelo Williams, although he also puzzlingly suggests the team could be interested in signing another LB in free agency (Brian Xanders has pretty much ruled that out, at least publicly). Brooks thinks defensive tackles Brandon Mebane and Barry Cofield would be excellent fits for Denver, with the aging Pat Williams as a fallback. If you'd like to listen for yourself, the segment where Wyche and Brooks discuss the Broncos begins at the 14-minute mark.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Chris Mortensen writes that the new CBA will be a 10-year deal, and hopes are that a deal will be reached in time for the players to recertify their union and ratify an agreement on Wednesday, with the owners following suit at their meeting the next day. With an agreement nearing, Mort is hearing the players are looking to be compensated for $320 million in benefits that were lost due to the uncapped 2010 season, and to have franchise tags limited to a one-time use for each player. The other remaining issues as reported previously are resolution of the Brady suit and the TV lockout fund, and worker's comp.
Mortensen also writes that going forward, two-a-day practices will be eliminated from training camps, while OTAs would be shortened and start later than they had in prior years. Teams will reportedly have a 72-hour period to re-sign their own free agents, including in the Broncos' case UFAs DT Marcus Thomas and OT Ryan Harris. As Lindsay Jones reported in June, K Matt Prater and LB Wesley Woodyard will be restricted free agents requiring draft-pick compensation to Denver should other teams sign them.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Albert Breer writes that an agreement on a new CBA is expected to be reached early next week, while lawyers for the two sides will continue meeting over the weekend. The most significant progress of yesterday's talks was that the owners altogether dropped their demand to have rights of first refusal on a number of their own free agents, and the two sides apparently agreed upon offseason programs and player safety issues. Plus, it is expected that players will receive their full offseason workout bonuses as was previously contracted.
Remaining items include retiree benefits, drug testing, and settling the Brady suit and TV rights case, although these are not seen as potential stumbling blocks. According to Breer, the players have ceded the right to renegotiate contracts until after their third season in the league - Andrew Brandt writes that undrafted players had been able to renegotiate following their second season. Also, the fifth-year options for first-rounders mentioned yesterday will be based upon salaries during the third year of a contract; in other words, Denver's 2015 option on Von Miller will require the Broncos to guarantee him the average salary of the NFL's top 10 linebackers as paid during the 2013 season.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Last night's labor talks, which reportedly included agreements on a rookie wage scale and a 2011 salary cap, wrapped up around 10pm ET and will pick up again this morning at 9am ET. According to Chris Mortensen, the fifth-year option included in rookie contracts for first-rounders would mean for a player drafted in the top 10 (like Von Miller) a salary equal to the average of the top 10 players at his position. For the rest of the first-rounders (picks 11-32) that option would be worth the average of the player salaries ranked 3-25 at their respective positions.
In the case of all first-rounders, a team would be able to exercise that fifth-year option following the player's third season and his salary would then become guaranteed. This latest report doesn't specify what, if anything, changes about the option if it is exercised following the player's fourth year. So under this framework, Von Miller will be under contract through the 2014 season, with the Broncos holding an expensive option to keep him through 2015 - relative to 2009 data, that salary would be around $10 million.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Punter Britton Colquitt and his brother Dustin who punts for the Chiefs, were both on with Vic & Gary on Tuesday, and Dustin had some interesting insight into Handshake Haley's finger wag last season at the Big IF. According to Dustin, Haley believed McDaniels and the Broncos had cheated their way to their emphatic 49-29 Week 10 victory; it would be McDaniels' final win as Denver's head coach. The elder Colquitt told Vic & Gary,
Todd was just kind of saying, ‘Look, with the game plan we had and what you guys already knew we were gonna do, this is,’ basically saying it was ‘bush, bush, league.’
Hmm. Haley may have apologized for the handshake snub, but obviously these new details should make for some nice media drama fodder should the two meet again. Here is the podcast from the Colquitt brothers' radio appearance; the McDaniels/Haley talk begins around the 7m09s mark.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Woody Paige shares more of his conversation with John Fox from last week, discussing the coach's outlook on free agency. As Paige explains, Fox was hamstrung in Carolina by owner Jerry Richardson's two-year austerity plan to prepare for the lockout, which included a lack of significant free-agent signings. Fox told Woody he'd like to build his team primarily through the draft and fill holes via free agency, explaining that the Broncos may not necessarily acquire any of the more expensive veterans available, adding that such players "usually have some baggage."
After Fox reiterates the team's need for another running back, Paige goes on to write that the Broncos should add some defensive tackles, an offensive tackle and a fullback. He also suggests the team should acquire another defensive back and tight end, but Denver already has an abundance of players at those positions, with essentially four TEs likely fighting for three spots (excluding Daniel Coats) and 13 corners and safeties for 9 or 10 spots (not counting Nick Polk and Chevis Jackson). It's hard to picture any veterans wanting to throw themselves into those jam-packed sections of the depth chart, and the lack of OTAs and mini-camps means the coaching staff will have less time to evaluate players.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his latest mailbag, Mike Klis reiterates his belief that Tim Tebow will be the starting QB in Denver this season while Kyle Orton will be dealt away. Klis also admits a couple of times that he basically doesn't ever watch film, although granted he's a beat reporter and not an analyst as his passionate colleague Legwold is supposed to be. In doing so, he bizarrely dismisses the assessment of a reader who took the time to study some college play of Von Miller and Nate Irving with the old "let's see them play in the NFL before criticizing them."
Yet, Klis does feel knowledgeable enough to proclaim that Josh McDaniels doesn't scheme the running game well, and Klis doesn't know why Steve Spagnuolo hired him to coach the Rams' offense. Nevermind the Broncos improvement there in the second half of 2010 or the Pats' 2,278 rushing yards and 21 TDs in 2008 (McDaniels' last year there). It's fair to say the ex-coach of the Broncos perhaps didn't run the ball enough at times; but the suggestion that he doesn't know how to and that will be the difference under John Fox and Mike McCoy is ludicrous. Good to see the DP is rounding into form as a labor agreement and training camp hopefully near...
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter are reporting that an agreement on a new CBA is expected to be reached within the next 7 to 10 days and be ratified at the July 21 league meetings. If that is the case, teams would be provided a three-day window during which they can negotiate exclusively with their own free agents and sign undrafted rookies. Unrestricted veteran free agency would likely begin on July 28 and the preseason would be preserved in full, save possibly the HOF game scheduled for August 7.
Only a few days after free agency begins, teams would be required to set their rosters at 90 players and RFAs would have until August 3 to sign offer sheets, with clubs having four days to match those offers. According to the report, the revenue split is back to the players getting 48 percent and a minimum of 46.5 percent as had been previously agreed to weeks ago.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Former Broncos defensive lineman Pete Duranko passed away on Friday following an 11-year battle with ALS, the disease which would inspire him to become a national spokesman and fundraiser in search of a cure and to raise awareness. Duranko was drafted by the Cleveland Browns out of Notre Dame in 1966 but spent his entire NFL career from 1967 to 1974 with the Broncos, playing in 98 games and starting 76 of them. Regarding his own battle with ALS and his wife's fear of the day when Pete would be unable to care for himself, he told Patrick Saunders in 2003,
“She says, ‘I don’t know if I can handle it.' And I told her, ‘You never know what you can handle.”‘
Duranko was 67 years old and passed in his hometown of Johnstown, PA. Our thoughts go out to the Duranko family.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The players and owners met for 10 hours yesterday but apparently accomplished little, will remain in touch over the weekend and reconvene for more negotiations on Monday. Meanwhile, Jason La Canfora writes that the loophole left by the Eighth Circuit's ruling likely allows the NFLPA to pursue an expedited injunction to protect the rights of unsigned players, and that if an agreement isn't reached in short order they may do just that. Plus, if Judge Nelson were to grant such an injunction then the NFL would be unable to appeal the decision.
Puzzlingly, Mike Freeman thinks the Eighth Circuit's decision only helps the owners. However, he still thinks reason will prevail in the end. Finally, Andrew Brandt says the two sides are hoping to come up with an agreement that will result in perhaps a decade of labor peace.