Good Morning, Broncos fans! All offseason long, we've been expecting (and predicting) that Chris Kuper and his $4.5M salary would be cut loose.
But Kuper's situation has been complicated by the recovery of his injured ankle, both delaying the team's decision and diminishing the player's leverage.
Denver has presumably not wanted to cut Kuper yet, because they'd owe him an injury settlement, and as the season nears, Kuper's chances of landing more than a one-year, veteran minimum deal elsewhere continues to shrink.
The Broncos hold all of the cards here, and from Kuper's perspective, there's sadly little he can do.
Given these factors, it makes sense that the two sides are negotiating toward a reworked contract, one which we figure would drop Kuper's salary to near the minimum, while providing hefty playing-time-related incentives (ie enough to bring him back to somewhere near his current salary).
According to Mike Klis, the eighth-year guard should make a limited return to practice next week and possibly see some action in the preseason finale against Arizona.
In the likeliest scenario, Kuper doesn't figure to crack the starting lineup, so he's looking at a significant cut in both role and pay grade. The situation couldn't be much worse for him.
But from the Broncos' perspective, this couldn't have played out any better, as they will end up with a starting-caliber lineman to provide crucial depth, and at an affordable cost.
Demaryius Thomas stayed late after school to work on back-corner end zone throws with Peyton Manning.
Julius Thomas will again start at tight end on Saturday night in Seattle.
Director of pro personnel Tom Heckert will be back from his DUI-induced suspension on Thursday.
Seventh-rounder Zac Dysert figures to make the 53-man roster, which shouldn't be surprising, given his talent level and likely future as Brock Osweiler's backup.
Fifth-rounder Tavarres King is likely to stick as the team's fifth wideout, but unlike Dysert, he's got competition there, in the form of Gerell Robinson and Lamaar Thomas.
Pat Kirwan could see the Broncos lining up Welker behind Manning in the pistol, and he envisions some big days for Orange Julius this fall. Kirwan loves the versatility of Denver's linebackers, and in addition to C.J. Anderson and Duke Ihenacho, he was impressed by Aaron Hester.
Kirwan agrees that sneaking Anderson through waivers and to the practice squad doesn't seem feasible, and he actually thinks Manny Ramirez would fare well as the team's starting center. Finally, a coach tells Kirwan that Brock Osweiler has made a "quantum leap" in the past year.
Jeff Legwold revisits Denver's 2009 draft/undrafted rookie class, but his inclusion of Lance Ball is a puzzler. Ball went undrafted in 2008 and was a member of the Rams, Colts, and Titans before the Broncos added him to their practice squad in November of 2009. Yay journalism!
Describing Ryan Clady's expected absence while he recovers from shoulder surgery as "most alarming" is, quite frankly, an utter joke.
Kansas City and San Diego survived major scares Monday, as Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (strained foot) and Chargers Malcom Floyd (strained knee) were carted off the teams' practice fields but were found to not have serious injuries. San Diego already lost WR Danario Alexander for the season, while Charles was lost for most of 2011 with a torn ACL.
Jake the Snake says he'd welcome a return to the NFL, whether in coaching or elsewhere.
Mike Tanier sees enough talented players for New England's offense to keep humming.
Chris Brown says Chip Kelly's Eagles were more Ducks-like last week than he'd expected.
Ben Muth argues that Shanny didn't really make any big schematic changes in 2012; rather, he says RG3 is so much better than Rex Grossman, that their offenses simply appeared different to ordinary viewers.
Matt Bowen breaks down a handful of plays from Preseason Week 1 for Bleacher Report (!!).
Brian Burke goes into great depth (as always) in discussing how quarterbacks are paid (all players, really), relative to their perceived value on the field.
Inspired by Josh Freeman and the Bucs, Chase Stuart looks back at the rare examples when teams won their divisions despite sporting the least efficient passing attacks within them.