Another wild day for Broncos, NFL Lard 3-22-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! What a day for the Broncos and the NFL, and where to start? Suppose we should go in chronological order, because my head is still spinning.

Roger Goodell lowered the boom on the Saints, whose SB 44 win will be forever tarnished by their bounty scandal: the Commish fined the team and took away two second-rounders, suspended Mickey Loomis (eight games), Sean Payton (the entire 2012 season), Gregg Williams (indefinitely), and Joe Vitt (six games); more to come once the league finishes investigating individual players.

Williams issued another apology; Drew Brees is stunned by the developments, but he now has a truckload of leverage in his contract negotiations with the team. NFLN's Warren Sapp unleashed his big, fat mouth fingers on Twitter, accusing Jeremy Shockey of being the "snitch" who blew the whistle on the institutionalized head hunting. Of course, we're still talking about something that's likely always been a part of the league's culture. But this heavy punishment was not just about injuring players - it was Goodell reminding everyone who's boss - and the Saints will be feeling the pain all year long.

As for the Broncos, their offseason plans suffered a serious blow with the loss of Brodrick Bunkley to those same Saints; the team is trying to retain Marcus Thomas, but he apparently has some serious offers in his lap. Denver added WR Andre Caldwell and hosted QB Caleb Hanie, TE Jacob Tamme, CBs Tracy Porter and William Gay, and C Jeff Saturday will visit today. As expected, the team has expressed interest in QB Billy Volek, but no visit has been scheduled as of yet; EFX are scheduled to attend the pro days of QB prospects Ryan Tannehill and Brock Osweiler next week.

And finally, the matter of the Broncos' former quarterback, Tim Tebow. There was never anything quiet or understated about his time in Denver, and he's being likewise greeted in typical New York fashion. Finalizing his trade to the Jets was, appropriately, a dramatic and drawn-out affair. Puzzlingly, there's a new tune out of Dove Valley trying to explain the team's decision to find a new quarterback, and it relates to Tebow's ability to withstand the physical punishment of being a starting QB in the NFL.

As is his way, Tim says he will put his new team first, and he's won't be the first notable athlete of devout faith to perform in New York. Speaking of belief, do the Jets have much in their incumbent QB Mark Sanchez? What will the acquisition of Tebow mean for the Jets on the field? Will it help them? Hurt them? Was it just another miscue by a team forever prone to them? The debate in NY is just getting started.

Two things are settled though: Tebow doesn't command much in the way of interest or value around the league, and Rex Ryan still hasn't figured out his team.


The league is considering several notable rules changes, including the adoption of the new playoff OT rules during the regular season, allowing players to be placed on IR during the season and later activated (a terrific idea), and putting replay reviews in the hands of booth officials rather than referees (only half a solution - the booth should decide which plays are reviewed - not the coaches).

Alex Smith finally got his new deal with the Niners, and he'll reportedly receive $16.5M in guarantees, which is more than double what had been rumored pre-Manning dalliance.

Ronde Barber will be back with the Bucs for another season after getting a new one-year deal.

Oakland re-signed T Khalif Barnes and added ex-Packers CB Pat Lee, while C Samson Satele departed to join the Colts.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis left the Patriots to sign with Cincinnati, while Buffalo signed former New England DE Mark Anderson; Greg Gabriel reacts.

Minnesota released DT Remi Ayodele, added G Geoff Schwartz and RB Lex Hilliard, and re-signed DT Fred Evans.

RG3 was precise at his pro day yesterday, throwing 51 passes. Next up on the pro day circuit? Andrew Luck, today.

Two-time SB-winning Giants OC Ron Erhardt passed away at the age of 80.

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

The Lard