Even as the cap increases, every million counts

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! It's no secret that Denver has done particularly well in free agency since John Elway took over football ops.

This is true for both bigger ticket signings (Peyton Manning, Louis Vasquez, Wes Welker, Champ Bailey) and smaller ones (Terrance Knighton, Shaun Phillips, Willis McGahee, Brandon Stokley, Wesley Woodyard).

But like anyone else, their track record has been less than perfect (Joe Mays, Drayton Florence, Ty Warren), and along with the benefit of some sharp hindsight, PFF's ranking of the top pending free agent guards highlights a couple of misses from a year ago.

Of course, the Broncos hit in a very big way with their signing of Louis Vasquez, who turned in an All-Pro season and graded out as PFF's third best guard for 2013.

But at #1 (Geoff Schwartz) and #3 (Travelle Wharton) are a pair of John Fox/Dave Magazu era Panthers, each of whom signed bargain basement one-year deals a year ago.

Wharton (Carolina, $1.1M cap) ranked as PFF's fifth highest graded guard in 2013, while Schwartz (Kansas City, $700K cap) graded out eighth best.

One might recall that Wharton was scheduled to visit Dove Valley in July, but changed his mind before returning to Carolina after a year in Cincy.

As far as we know, Schwartz was never linked to the Broncos last year, but Doc did make the case for Denver to pursue him.

Either player would have been a significant upgrade over Zane Beadles, and an infinite one over Chris Kuper.

Again, though, this is mostly hindsight, so the point isn't to go back and criticize Elway & Co. for not having signed either Wharton or Schwartz. There's no way of knowing they really could have done so, anyway.

Most of all, theirs are two cases which should remind us that every million counts, even if the cap will be up to about $130M this year.

Broncos

Rick Drummond looks at the Denver roster heading into the offseason, with another signature PFF takedown of Derek Wolfe, and a suggestion that Chris Clark - not Orlando Franklin - move inside to replace Beadles.

Ashley Fox thinks Eric Decker would be wise to take less money and stay in Denver. While that sounds great from the Broncos' perspective, it's a crazy notion.

Jeff Legwold continuing to list Tony Carter as an RFA (more correct info can be found on sites like this one and this one) reminds us of the offseason he spent misreporting how many draft choices the Broncos had.

News

The Bucs' new helmet logo is rather enormous, and a bit fiercer looking.

$3.25M (!) to do little more than grow out his flowing locks may not be enough to keep Dallas QB Kyle Orton from retirement.

Presumably because know they're not going to get their price of a second-round pick, Washington now says they don't want to trade QB Kirk Cousins.

New England officially hired Mike Lombardi, but as an assistant to the coaching staff, not the personnel group; Eric Mangini will coach TEs for San Francisco.

Darren Sharper's apparent reign of terror may have been even wider than previously feared.

Combine

Naturally, Johnny Football did not reach the six-foot mark, despite his earlier proclamation.

Observations from Thursday's riveting action via Matt BowenTony Pauline, and John Clayton.

Bucky Brooks discusses his best fits for UCF QB Blake Bortles; Matt Waldman scouts SDSU QB David Fales.

Analysis

Mike TanierDon Banks, and Doug Farrar react to Miami coach Joe Philbin's empty words regarding the locker room environment that grew toxic under his watch.

PFF ranks the top free agent corners (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie #3).

Joel Corry lists ten players he could see restructuring their deals this offseason.

Offseason plans for St. Louis and Chicago, plus biggest needs facing the NFCN teams.

There's a lot of support for Michael Sam in his hometown of Hitchcock, TX.

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

The Lard

2014 Offseason

All Offseason Coverage