Bowlen’s spending spree Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! When Wes Welker suits up for the Broncos on September 5 against Baltimore (that's less than two months from now!), he's going to join a unique fraternity.

As Chase Stuart notes, whenever Welker catches his first pass from Peyton Manning, he'll have received throws from two surefire HOF quarterbacks, with Tom Brady of course being the other.

Prompted by this, Stuart has compiled a list of every receiver to have caught passes from multiple current and future modern-era HOF passers.

Players tied to John Elway include Ed McCaffrey, Anthony Miller, Butch Johnson, Mike Pritchard, Mike Sherrard, and Bobby Humphrey.

Miller and Pritchard were part of a mostly disastrous 1994 offseason for the Broncos and Pat Bowlen, who had fired Dan Reeves a year earlier.

Reeves, of course, had failed to surround Elway with competent receiving talent, a point magnified by his decision to draft a 20-year-old sophomore quarterback (!) out of UCLA named Tommy Maddox in 1992, rather than Tennessee wideout Carl Pickens, who would go six choices later to Cincy.

After sending Reeves on his way at the end of the 1992 season, and with the advent of true NFL free agency in the months that followed, Bowlen started to go a little nutty during those next two offseasons, all in an effort to provide Elway with better protection and targets.

The moves spanned from smashing successes (Gary Zimmerman, Brian Habib), to so-so (Miller), to outright debacles (Don Maggs, Pritchard).

1994 was all about upgrading the receiving corps; first, there was the offer sheet to Oakland's Tim Brown, which Al Davis, of course, matched.

When that failed, Bowlen went after San Diego's Anthony Miller, who would go on to have three mostly underwhelming seasons in Denver. (Miller and his iffy hands didn't catch that many passes, but when he did, they went for big yardage.)

A month later, Bowlen acquired Pritchard from Atlanta, where the 5-10 wideout had posted modest numbers in their run-and-shoot attack. Falcons fans should still be laughing about having turned their 1991 first-rounder out of Colorado (plus a 1995 seventh-rounder) into a 1994 third-rounder and 1995 first-rounder.

Pritchard's Denver career got off to an electric start, but his first season was cut short by a lacerated kidney suffered in practice. (h/t Yahmule)

Two seasons, 52 catches, four touchdowns, and one drunk driving incident later, and Pritchard was gone after just two seasons.

Of course, Bowlen made up for his misguided 1993 and 1994 shopping sprees with the hiring of Mike Shanahan, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Ryan Clady

Confirming what was reported earlier in the week by Vic Lombardi, Albert Breer says the Broncos are offering Ryan Clady $33M in guarantees over the first three years of a longer deal.

It appears Clady will be the only franchise-tagged player to land a long-term deal; of course, Bowlen was the innovator behind the tag concept, intended to help him hang onto Elway (whom Reeves wanted to ship out of town).

Ross Tucker offers up his own cautionary tale along with advice to Clady to make sure he signs his deal rather than hold out for more money.

Broncos

Ronnie Hillman feels his 15-pound weight gain hasn't cost him any speed, and obviously, he says he wants to be the Broncos' main running back.

Andrew Mason looks ahead to the Week 13 trip to Arrowhead; Mason, Chris Hall, and Gray Caldwell discuss the addition of Welker on BTV.

News

Dallas released fullback Lawrence Vickers; San Francisco claimed WR Charly Martin off waivers from Seattle.

The grand jury investigations into the fraudulence at Pilot Flying J have expectedly reached as highly as Jimmy Haslam, who owns the Browns.

Dolphins owner and welfare queen Stephen Ross is threatening to help unseat the politicians who have refused to give him a taxpayer handout to upgrade Miami's stadium.

Obviously, Jets rookie Oday Aboushi doesn't appreciate the disgusting racism sent his way thanks to his Palestinian heritage.

Analysis

Greg Cosell and Doug Farrar discuss the draft classes of the AFCE teams in their latest podcast.

The Shutdown Corner guys examine the Chargers roster and cap situation; Neil Hornsby takes a crack at the Giants and Jets lineups; Jason Fitzgerald calls Jason Hatcher's and Jay Ratliff's contracts the Cowboys' best and worst.

Miscellany

PFT Commenter continues his observation of White History Month with a look at perennial underdog Brett Favre.

Will Leitch digs into the ridiculous backlash against Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig, and yes, it would be quite different were he white and American. That he won't be playing in the All-Star game is a shame; he's just the kind of player who deserves a national stage, and who makes mostly lame All-Star games worth watching.

Updated 12:46pm ET to reflect Mike Pritchard's lacerated kidney

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

The Lard

Featured Stories

Offseason Coverage