Good Morning, Broncos fans! Word is, Elvis Dumervil hasn't made a decision concerning where he'll play in 2013, because he needs more time.
More time for what? To think? To find another suitor? For Denver or Baltimore to increase their offer, which Mike Klis suggests isn't happening?
Honestly, who cares? What's the rush?
The worst-case scenario from Denver's perspective is that Elvis leaves. They obviously wanted him back all along, but they were also very much ready to move on and replace him with a cheaper - albeit older and slower - player in John Abraham or Dwight Freeney.
We've read some concerns from fans that the Broncos could be left holding the proverbial bag, and lose out on all three pass rushers. But given the weakness of this free-agency market, that's just not forseeable.
Denver may end up with Abraham or Freeney at around $3M-4M, but perhaps they would have preferred nine days ago to have had Dumervil at $8M. Well, that's where Marty Magid stepped in, and there's unfortunately no magic time machine to go back and fix that snafu.
At this point, the Broncos are going to have a very good pass rusher complementing Von Miller in 2013, and they will have him at market value. If it's Elvis, they may even get him cheaper than that, given the timing of his release, after the most desperate teams had blown their free agent budgets.
What about the dead money hit, you ask?
The reporters and columnists can suggest all they want that it's a dealbreaker, but that just doesn't make sense.
According to Spotrac, the team currently has about $6M in cap room.
Something will happen with Joe Mays and Chris Kuper - they'll either be cut, or their salaries will be slashed significantly.
The Broncos may be in win-now mode, but that doesn't mean owner Pat Bowlen is about to go all Dan Snyder/Jerry Jones/George Steinbrenner and pay $4M or more (each) to players who are now backups and may, at best, get a chance to compete for a spot.
Denver was never going to be right up against the cap, and the Dumervil debacle didn't, and won't, change that.
If we assume Mays and Kuper are cut, and that the Broncos put $3M-5M in cap dollars toward signing Dumervil, Abraham, or Freeney, they'll still have $7M-9M of space, minus the ~$3.9M they need to set aside for signing rookies.
Looking ahead, there will be other veterans released at some point between now and final cuts, with any of Matt Prater, Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno, Chris Clark, Lance Ball, Andre Caldwell, and Jacob Hester as possibilities.
Most years, there's a surprise cut along the way, with Drayton Florence being last summer's example.
Perhaps Virgil Green or Julius Thomas has a great camp, making either Joel Dreessen or Jacob Tamme expendable. We'll see.
If they get the itch to add another veteran, they always have the pull-in-case-of-fire option of reworking the contract of either Peyton Manning or Champ Bailey, and then there's the off chance they sign Ryan Clady to a long-term deal with a 2013 cap hit below the $9.828M figure he currently has.
But the Dumervil dead money hit won't be a limiting factor in any of this, and whether Elvis makes his choice today, tomorrow, or after a few more days of thought (unlikely), the Broncos will have had a highly successful free agent period.
It will not have been perfect, should Elvis go, but it will still have improved the team, and substantially, at that.
Even with Champ Bailey, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Chris Harris, Tony Carter, and Omar Bolden on the roster, Mike Klis says the Broncos will take a corner early in the upcoming draft, along with a running back and defensive lineman. Three questions: first, how does this dovetail with Jeff Legwold's declaration that it's lying season? Second, if the Broncos draft a corner, will they keep six of them, a year after they kept five? Is Champ moving to safety?
Given the dropping salaries paid cornerbacks in free agency this year, it's kind of surprising the Broncos haven't asked Bailey to take a pay cut from his $11M figure. FWIW, 2014 is the last year of his deal, and will pay him $10.5M in total.
According to Gary Myers, the Giants have offered WR Victor Cruz a contract worth over $7M/year, including a big chunk of guaranteed money.
Giants DE Osi Umenyiora, who reportedly price himself out of whatever interest Denver may have had in him, is expected to sign with the Falcons in the coming days. Whether Atlanta will have actually upgraded by swapping Abraham for Osi would be a serious question.
Chicago added Colts S Tom Zbikowski; Cincy re-signed WR/KR Brandon Tate and added QB Josh Johnson and former Denver bust TE Richard Quinn.
Two women have sued Browns RB Trent Richardson, accusing him of instructing his own girlfriend and two other women to beat up the plaintiffs in front of Richardson's house.
From free agent LB Scott Fujita comes a terrific, thoughtful essay for the Times on why he feels so strongly about supporting the rights of same-sex couples to marry.
Dan Pompei includes Denver's acquisition of Ed McCaffrey among his best WR free-agent signings of all time, and he says the Ravens expect Courtney Upshaw to fill the void created by Paul Kruger's departure.
Mike Tanier lists his top wide receivers and tight ends in Steelers history.
Chase Stuart is seeking reader input to help make his already excellent site even better.