Giants lock up Cruz Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! While the Broncos and Ryan Clady work toward what we hope will be a long-term deal to the benefit of both sides, another drawn-out negotiation has come to a close over in New Jersey.

The Giants have finally reached agreement with wide receiver Victor Cruz on a contract that's being billed as a six-year deal worth nearly $46M and includes a $9.5M signing bonus and $15.6M in guarantees.

Of course, there's the advertised value of the contract, and then there's the functional reality of it.

What the contract truly boils down to is a guaranteed $15.6M over 2013 and 2014, with the Giants holding one-year options for the 2015 through 2018 seasons.

That this is a team-friendly deal should be no surprise, given that Cruz twice gave away his leverage this offseason - first, when he instructed his representatives to not seek out offer sheets from other teams in restricted free agency, and again when he signed his one-year tender.

We'll continue to hear that the deal is worth $43M or $46M in most media circles, but if Cruz's play falls off or he's injured within the next two years, there's a good chance he sees no more than a third of that value.

Bear all of this in mind as the Clady negotiation continues on, and as details are put out by the team.

Broncos

Matt Russell figures to face discipline from the league office for his weekend DUI arrest; he turned 40 on Friday, and according to Lindsay Jones, is "quite close" with John Elway.

There's still no word on how much guaranteed money is included in Denver's reportedly increased offer to Ryan Clady. Remember, he's already guaranteed $9.828M this season on the franchise tender, so the crux of their offer will be whatever is guaranteed beyond that amount.

Jason Fitzgerald views Wes Welker's contract as Denver's best, and Joe Mays's doozie as their worst, with Chris Kuper's a close second. Obviously, we could not agree more emphatically.

Fitzgerald makes the excellent point that the second year of Welker's deal may serve as leverage for the team in their upcoming negotiation with Eric Decker, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after this season.

Over at the official site, Andrew Mason looks ahead to the Week 11 home game versus Kansas City, plus a collection of the praise being heaped upon Derek Wolfe at Dove Valley.

News

U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody ordered to mediation the NFL and the thousands of ex-players suing the league over its handling of head injuries.

Jets coach Rex Ryan has slimmed down enough to run with the bulls in Pamplona and even scaled a fence to avoid being gored.

Aaron Hernandez

Ernest Wallace pleaded not guilty on Monday to a charge of accessory after the fact to murder in the death of Odin Lloyd, and was ordered held without bail. No new information from the state's case was revealed during the brief hearing, and the prosecution remains mum regarding who they believe fired the shots that killed Lloyd.

A judge has granted a request by news organizations to unseal the search warrants issued in the Lloyd case.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft says his organization was "duped" by Hernandez, whose letter offering voluntary drug tests contributed to their decision to draft him, and whose polite behavior in the presence of Kraft helped land him a $40M extension with the team last year. According to Kraft, the weekend's jersey exchange cost the team in excess of $250K.

EA Sports has removed Hernandez's likeness from this year's versions of their NFL and NCAA games.

Doug Farrar rounds up all of the blame-shifting and hindsight bias going around regarding the red flags that marred Hernandez's draft stock.

Analysis

Patrick Hruby laughs off the league's ridiculous PR-fueled announcement that it will consider not inviting to combine players who have been ruled academically ineligible.

Bucky Brooks bizarrely says he would choose Philip Rivers over Tony Romo as his quarterback.

Sam Monson evaluates Bears CB Charles Tillman and sees a player who could be great in any scheme.

Lindsay Jones surveys the Chargers' roster and offseason moves; Neil Hornsby takes a crack at the starting lineups of the Texans and Colts.

PFT Commenter discusses how Ben Roethlisberger has overcome the long odds that face a rich, white guy in America today.

Browns

A 55-year-old Ohioan who passed on Thursday requested in his obituary six pallbearers from the team so that they could "let him down one last time." The team has laudably responded by sending a customized jersey to the man's widow.

The Shutdown Corner guys discuss the Browns' on-field and caponomic outlooks.

Maths

Chase Stuart considers the career trajectory of Kenny Britt and discusses the Titans WR's future with Tom Gower.

Scott Kacsmar takes on the silly claim that the read-option somehow held back the Panthers offense in 2012.

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

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