Franchise tag conceived for Elway Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! We've mentioned here of late that the NFL's franchise tagging system has been bastardized a bit. Intended originally to keep iconic stars with the teams they are identified with, it has instead functioned recently as a way for teams to hang onto their most important free agent each year.

Clearly, this should almost never be the punter or kicker. But as Albert Breer notes, eleven specialists have been among the 55 players tagged in just the past four years.

Of greater interest to us is that Breer says Denver's Pat Bowlen was the owner lobbying hardest for the franchise tag 20 years ago, for the selfish reason of wanting to ensure John Elway would remain a Bronco for eternity.

Which of course is ironic - in that Dan Reeves drafted twenty-year-old UCLA sophomore Tommy Maddox that spring to eventually replace Elway - passing over Carl Pickens at a time when the Duke needed a top WR in the worst of ways. Jimmy Smith was taken a few picks after Pickens, but I have no idea if he was a consideration for Denver in the first round. Can any of our Broncos historians out there recall what the speculation was back then?

Broncos

Either leaving just the front of one's t-shirt untucked is a look, or Elvis Dumervil was hiding something the other day. And, what's with the belly? Elvis knows he's not a tackle, right?

Elway is in Tahoe for a celebrity golf event; he says he hasn't spoken to Dumervil, and that the team is waiting, like us, for the facts of the story to emerge.

D.J. Williams was ordered to pay the NFL to cover some legal fees, and Mike Klis apparently thinks there is a 50% federal tax bracket. Perhaps he gets his "news" from FOX.

Over at the official site, a Q&A with WR coach Tyke Tolbert and an overview of his charges for 2012.

In their latest podcast, Doug Farrar and Greg Cosell discuss the AFCW teams' drafts. Cosell praises Derek Wolfe's versatility and likes the Brock Osweiler selection, while Farrar calls Ronnie Hillman and Omar Bolden "diamond in the rough" picks. Both analysts think Chris Kuper's deserves more praise for his 2011 play, while Cosell likes Malik Jackson but isn't sure where he'll play and is fond of the Danny Trevathan pick too. Basically, Farrar and Cosell see plenty to like from Denver's 2012 draft.

In his Walkthrough column, Mike Tanier ponders the latest Body Issue from ESPN Mag, and he ranks the best all-time running backs for the Broncos and Chiefs. He calls Randy Gradishar's omission from the HOF a "blatantly obvious omission." Tanier is also sure that Terrell Davis deserves induction, but he figures the current backlog of worthy stars ahead of him means it's a fruitless endeavor to stress over it right now. I can buy that, if reluctantly.

Mike Klis looks at Denver's schedule and sees a 9-7 season.

Trimmings

Steelers S Troy Polamalu thinks NFL players suffer 50-100 concussions per season, and he says he's lied about head injuries in order to stay on the field. And, this is why players should not be blamed for their long-term injuries. How many twentysomething professional athletes are going to ever think of their long-term health before they consider winning games, championships, and staying on the field? It's just not a reasonable expectation.

The referees association says the league's threat to lock out officials is more proof the NFL doesn't really care about player safety.

Baltimore is expecting to sign Joe Flacco to a long-term contract soon; the Jets will not re-sign S Jim Leonhard, who has landed on IR each of the past two seasons; New England will visit with free-agent TE Visanthe Shiancoe today.

RG3 signed his rookie contract with Washington; the Rams are apparently trying to protect themselves in how they pay Janoris Jenkins.

LB Joey Porter says he plans to retire soon as a Steeler.

The NFL handed Panthers DT Andre Neblett a four-game suspension for violating the PED policy.

Chargers RB Ryan Mathews thinks he's ready to break out, while Larry Fitzgerald recommends you pick Calvin Johnson over him for your fantasy team, since Megatron has the better QB.

Former Niners DE and Pro Bowler Cleveland Elam died at 60.

Scrapple

Russ Lande lists a few highly drafted NFC players who could be in danger of being cut this summer.

Matt Bowen revisits Niners TE Vernon Davis's big touchdown against the Saints in the playoffs.

Some 57-year-old guy used 30,000 Legos to create a replica of Ralph Wilson Stadium. Man, I thought I loved Legos (when I was eight).

Offal

BLloyd is fascinated by Bill Belichick's commitment to wearing his cutoff sweatshirts in all environments and situations.

A Rex Ryan pep talk as imagined by Herm Edwards for some unknown rea$on include$ mention of one Tim Tebow. Doesn't seem like Guinness was involved, but a minor league team laid claim to the record for the most people Tebowing in one place.

Some PSU dummies are now camping out to protect Joe Paterno's statue, which was appropriately visited by Pedobear. David Roth doesn't really care about punishing PSU itself, because what's the point? The a-holes who were in charge are no longer in charge. They will have their days in court, and the school will pay big in the form of settlements with victims. As Drew Magary wrote the other day, making a martyr of their football program is a terrible idea, because it puts the attention on football. Jack Bechta also sees no point in a death penalty for the football program, because that would punish the wrong people. What matters now and going forward is learning from PSU's mistakes and better protecting children.

Should the NCAA abolish the PSU football program?

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

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