Drafting well is cap health necessity Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As a fascinating exercise, PFF has been measuring the graded value of players relative to the salaries they earned in 2012. Today, they're covering the Broncos.

Von Miller, Chris Harris, Demaryius Thomas, Rahim Moore, Orlando Franklin, and Eric Decker lead the way among underpaid players, with Wesley Woodyard, Brandon Stokley, Tony Carter, and Zane Beadles rounding out that group.

Elvis Dumervil is seen as having the most bloated salary, but as Ted illustrates so well, it's important to consider Elvis's role within the defense when assessing his play and value.

Chris Kuper, Tracy Porter, Joe Mays, Ty Warren, and D.J. Williams are more obviously overpaid relative to performance, while Champ Bailey, Peyton Manning, Robert Ayers, and Willis McGahee round out the mandatory remaining spots on the ten-player list.

Obviously, it's young players who tend to be undervalued, given that they enter the NFL with restricted salaries (Yay soshulism, amirite?) and don't have the opportunity to be paid market value for their services until several years later, provided that they're still healthy and good enough to play.

In Denver's case, their list of underpaid players mostly consists of 2010 and 2011 draftees, plus three guys who went undrafted (Harris, Woodyard, Carter), and one bargain basement veteran (Stokley). Aside from the presence of Manning, this is, of course, the biggest reason the Broncos are a SB overdog. Josh McDaniels (in 2010, at least) and John Elway have drafted well, and stocked the roster with top talent at minimal costs.

But to stay at the top, Elway & Co. will have to continue to churn out productive drafts, because even if those aforementioned young players continue to thrive, they can very well become overpaid relative to their performance in a short matter of time.

Von Miller is today's bargain, but tomorrow (well, in a year or two), he'll be paid somewhere between what Dumervil and Manning are currently getting. He'll deserve it - and he does now, actually - but when that pay day comes, the onus will be on the front office to fill in the rest of the roster with talented players who occupy much smaller portions of the salary cap.

We can all find our own quibbles with PFF's grades, but don't let those cloud the usefulness of this exercise.

It's written constantly that the key to maintaining a franchise's long-term competitiveness is hitting on draft picks, and this is an excellent illustration of that maxim.

Broncos

Jeff Legwold continues to suggest (as John Elway and John Fox already have) that Nate Irving and Steven Johnson will be given the first cracks at Denver's starting Mike job.

Brent New goes over several of Denver's potential RB targets in free agency and the draft.

At least Jim Trotter points out that Jack Del Rio and the Broncos want their defensive tackles to occupy space and blockers more than rush the passer, but at the same time, he weirdly labels Justin Bannan's lack of QB pressures a "troubling stat."

It's hard to make sense of Mike Klis's suggestion that cornerback is the direst need for a team that has Champ Bailey, Chris Harris, Tony Carter, and Omar Bolden on it, so we won't even attempt to.

From the official site, a look around at the latest mock drafts, and some photos of Peyton Manning's USO visit.

News

Oakland is reportedly interested in WVU QB Geno Smith, Arizona is said to be a likely landing spot for Matt Cassel, and Brady Quinn could end up getting his sweet revenge on the Ultimate Teammate™ by replacing him with the LOLJets.

The Giants re-signed LT Will Beatty to a five-year deal with $19M in guarantees and a total value of $38.75M.

Buffalo DE Chris Kelsay is retiring after 10 seasons; Jacksonville released RT Guy Whimper.

Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware, and Saints teammates G Jahri Evans and LB David Hawthorne agreed to more cap-friendly deals.

Combine

CU Buffs TE Nick Kasa says he was asked by teams about his sexual orientation, which is of course not only inappropriate, but an illegal practice, and the league says it will investigate. 

In recapping the combine, Bucky Brooks says SMU DE Margus Hunt and WVU wideout Tavon Austin did the most to boost their values.

KSK captionizes the combine, including some Elway love (well, not really).

Analysis

Mike Tanier notes Andy Reid's role reversal in dealing picks for a QB; Ashley Fox sees a win-win for all involved in the deal; Dan Wetzel wonders how Alex Smith will fare without Jim Harbaugh coaching him up.

Not only have the Chiefs made a habit of not developing their own QBs, but they tend to get them from the Niners; Smith will become the fourth QB to go straight from San Francisco to Kansas City, joining Joe Montana, Steve Bono, and Elvis Grbac.

Matt Waldman breaks down FSU QB E.J. Manuel and sees him as a Day 2 prospect who would make sense for Kansas City to groom behind Smith. He also analyzes North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper and sees a potential NFL stalwart.

Jason Cole says it's time for the Pats to finally lock up Wes Welker with multiyear deal, and it's interesting that a column in which he says the Niners have discussed trading for LOLJets CB Darrelle Revis is titled, "Sources: Niners in pursuit of Darrelle Revis." Granted, it makes sense, given that San Francisco is expected to end up with 15 draft choices for April's draft - they currently have 11, would pick up another for Smith, and will likely gain three more as compensatory choices. Still, that's some strange journalism.

Part 1 and Part 2 of Doug Farrar's post-combine mock draft has Denver landing Washington CB Desmond Trufant at #28. So does Don Banks, in his second mock.

Only Joe Flacco ranks higher than Ryan Clady on Joe Fortenbaugh's list of the top 50 pending unrestricted free agents.

Chase Stuart details the history behind the Washington football team's racist nickname.

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

The Lard

Featured Stories

Offseason Coverage