Happy Franchise Tag Day Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The two-week period during which teams may apply their franchise tags commences today and ends at 4pm ET on Monday, March 4.

Of course, we laid out all of the rules of using the tender last week, and John Elway openly acknowledged the team will be employing it to keep Ryan Clady from hitting the open market.

We're still not entirely convinced that Denver should be going the route of the exclusive tag, as the worst-case scenario of choosing the non-exclusive tender means getting another team's next two first-round draft choices.

Even if this wouldn't result in any cap savings, the team could theoritically go after another top young tackle like Branden Albert or Sebastian Vollmer for money similar to what they're willing to give Clady, and pocket the two top picks as an extraordinary bonus. If no team is willing to pay such a hefty price, then Denver hasn't lost a thing - not Clady, nor anything relative to the cap.

But all indications are that the Broncos will apply the exclusive tag to their left tackle, meaning Clady won't have the opportunity to negotiate with anyone other than Denver.

There's nothing wrong with this approach either, given that their young All-Pro has the all-important task of protecting Denver's most important player.

The franchise tender will guarantee Clady a $9.668M salary for 2013, providing that he signs it, and gives the two sides until Monday, July 15 to work out a longer-term agreement.

Broncos

If Denver's status as 2013 NFL overdog isn't enough to attract a key free agent, James Merilatt reminds us that Peyton Manning can always reprise the role of recruiting closer that Elway once performed to great effect with Gary Zimmerman.

Jeff Legwold says the Broncos will only sign a veteran running back if it doesn't cost them too much (duh), and why he says Jacob Hester is a free agent (he's not) is beyond our comprehension.

For some unknown reason, Mike Klis remains convinced that Chris Harris is not a starting corner, and he claims the Broncos will again be looking for someone to start opposite Champ Bailey. Klis even lists a bunch of guys who aren't as good as Harris as potential replacements.

Jake Plummer's renewed love for football has manifested itself in his tutoring of KSU's Collin Klein, and he's been consulting with several of his own former coaches to learn how best to instruct the prospect.

Gray Caldwell recaps the team's last five games of 2012 for the official site.

News

The Patriots are not expected to use their franchise tag on Wes Welker, and of course, New England has been speculated as a potential landing spot for Charles Woodson and Percy Harvin.

New Orleans may try to restructure the deals of bounty scandal players Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith, and could potentially cut either of them if they refuse.

Dallas has reportedly not had any recent talks with Tony Romo about a new deal, while the Rams and WR Danny Amendola are apparently far apart in their negotiations.

UT™ Zombies love to swear to the unmatched niceness of a person they've never met, but if we want to absolve him of associating with a church that expresses homophobic, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-Mormon, anti-Hindu, and anti-Buddhist views, then we have to assume he's at best just a willfully blind schmuck, right?

Analysis

As happened last year, Peter King expects a slew of teams to use their franchise tags; he says Dwight Freeney may draw a lot of interest on the open market, and he figures the Ravens would love to have recent DUI arrestee Alec Ogletree or the ultra-naive Manti Te'o drop to them at #32.

Mike Tanier agrees with the claim of Jacksonville's new QB coach that Blaine Gabbert would be the first passer taken in the 2013 Draft had he stayed in school, he puzzles at the difficulty in discerning an NFL prospect's age, and imagines what it must have taken to get Titus Young kicked out of St. Louis so quickly.

Chase Stuart does some of his typically fine work in looking beyond counting stats to evaluate wide receivers, finding Brandon Marshall tops in 2012, while current Broncos Demaryius Thomas (4th) and Eric Decker (15th) fared expectedly well.

Matt Waldman studies the peerless greatness of Jim Brown.

Combine

Here again is the list of the 333 invitees to the NFL's annual cattle call scouting combine, which starts on Wednesday, plus their brands positional numbers.

In a long-overdue development, the NFL is unveiling a new aptitude test to complement the Wonderlic, one that will measure learning styles and decision-making skills, among other characteristics. John Elway was among the team execs who aided in the test's development.

Although he's been medically cleared to do so, QB Matt Barkley will not throw at the combine, instead waiting for USC's pro day.

Matt Bowen lists five Senior Bowl prospects he'll be watching for in Indy, while Doug Farrar explains which players need to have great combine performances to silence the big questions looming over their prospects.

John Clayton agrees with Farrar's point that the QBs and Te'o have plenty to prove, and he says the offensive line crop is a deep one (yay for Denver).


via KSK

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

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