Broncos got bargain in Phillips Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Ever since the Dumervil departure debacle, fans and writers had been clamoring/predicting for Denver to land a pass rusher either via veteran free agency for big bucks, or highly in the draft.

Denver didn't have to replace Elvis with one player, though, and will instead do so with Robert Ayers, new signee Shaun Phillips, and possibly fifth-rounder Quanterus Smith, who led the nation in sacks per game in 2012.

It's easy to like the signing of Phillips on its surface, and from a pure football standpoint. But when it comes to the financial aspect, the move appears a stroke of brilliance.

Originally reported as a $3M deal, Phillips actually got just a $1M salary for 2013, plus incentives that could push his total compensation to that $3M figure. According to Mike Klis, those incentives don't kick in until he reaches the eight-sack plateau, a level he's achieved four times in his nine seasons.

It's a bargain price, one much lower than Dwight Freeney and John Abraham have reportedly been demanding. I forget where, but there was some speculation yesterday that Abraham figures now to land in New England.

We'd all be wise not to expect much very soon from a fifth-round pick, especially one who's recovering from an ACL injury, but for his part, Smith says he'll be ready for training camp.

Broncos

Videos: Montee Ball and Kayvon Webster are introduced at Dove Valley; Johns Elway and Fox hold their post-draft presser; Elway speaks with Chris Hall for BTV.

Here are some of Elway's comments about each prospect selected by Denver; in true used-car salesman fashion, Mr. Auto Nation says every player the Broncos drafted "fell" to them.

Both Ball and Webster say they grew up rooting for the Broncos, with Webster calling new teammate Champ Bailey his idol. Ball says he already understands the importance of keeping his body fresh.

In an excellent profile of Sylvester Williams by Patrick Saunders, North Carolina coach Larry Fedora says he's not sure he's ever seen a player work as hard as Sly did when Fedora asked him to drop his weight from 335 to 315.

Andrew Mason discusses the selections of Quanterus Smith, Tavarres King, Vinston Painter, and Zac Dysert, the signing of Shaun Phillips, and he considers what may have factored into each draft decision.

Woody Paige loves what Denver did to bolster its pass rush, and I'm embarrassed to admit that he and I think alike in observing that Denver's draftees all have pretty cool names.

Paul Klee thinks Elway said Sly Williams is "better" than old friend Trevor Pryce was, but we're fairly certain the word he used was "bigger."

In case you missed our story on it, the Broncos are reportedly looking to trade Joe Mays (LOL).

Of Quanterus Smith, Todd McShay says, "He was the most interesting player left on the board [Saturday]. If he continues to develop, you may have a big-time steal."

PFF's Dan Schneier agrees that the key takeaway from Montee Ball's 2012 season is that he was able to be so productive despite the immense dropoff in talent around him from 2011. Schneier thinks Ball was very much underrated heading into this draft, and that he can be a fine pro, but that his pass protection needs to be improve significantly.

Mike Tanier also likes the choice of Ball, who reminds him of Willis McGahee and should be a good fit with Peyton Manning.

News

LaDainian Tomlinson told Mike Silver that Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy floated the idea of having him return to San Diego this season, but LDT says he's staying retired.

New England acquired RB LeGarrette Blount from Tampa Bay in exchange for KR Jeff Demps and a seventh-round pick.

Weeks after the Ravens cut Brendon Ayanbadejo, the Vikings moved to replace fellow civil rights champion Chris Kluwe, by drafting a punter in the fifth round. Coincidence? It could very well be one, so we won't jump to conclusions.

Gary Myers expects Buttfumble to be sent packing prior to training camp with his $8.25M in guarantees and land as a backup with the Seahawks, Falcons, Chargers, Texans, Packers, Raiders, Bears, Cardinals, or Saints. Like Schneier above, Myers sees a lot of Ray Rice in Montee Ball.

Having drafted two running backs and two linebackers, Green Bay is reportedly looking to trade RB James Starks and LB Desmond Bishop.

Also said to be on the trading block are Cards QB Brian Hoyer, who may draw interest from the Browns, and Steelers RB Jonathan Dwyer.

As it continues its effort to narrow the gap between the at-home and in-stadium viewing experiences, the NFL is taking the excellent step of providing NFL Sunday Ticket free of charge in-stadium.

Analysis

A potential salve for anyone wishing Denver had taken Eddie Lacy instead of Montee Ball: Dan Pompei hears word from around the league that Lacy's drop was fueled by "poor work habits, lack of speed, durability concerns, a limited body of work and running style."

Mel Kiper gives the Broncos an overall B- for their efforts and thinks they fared better at finding value than filling needs (Insider).

Taking over for Pete Prisco in grading picks for CBS, Jason Chilton loves Denver's selections of Quanterus Smith and Tavarres King, is fond of the Zac Dysert pick, and thinks Vinston Painter has a long way to go.

Among Gil Brandt's top undrafted rookies are new Broncos C.J. Anderson and Lerentee McCray; Doug Farrar includes McCray on his short list of top UDFAs.

According to both the Jimmy Johnson and Chase Stuart trade values charts, the Broncos got good value out of their trade down with Green Bay.

Don Banks and Clark Judge share draft observations; John Clayton, Will Brinson, and Jason Cole list their winners and losers from the draft; good/bad fits according to Jeffri Chadiha.

Miscellany

If the LOLJets were historically as good at drafting players as their fans are at booing their picks, they'd probably be onto something.

As often as we remind people that Jay Cutler is a dick, it's only right that we point out when he shows himself to have a good sense of humor.

Denard Robinson's buddy pulled off the videobomb for all videobombs.

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

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