Prime Cuts

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Led by Brandon Marshall, 56 Broncos receive performance based pool bonuses

Brandon Marshall, C.J. Anderson top Broncos' performance-based bonuses

Linebacker Brandon Marshall, a player who had been released three times by the Jacksonville Jaguars and spent almost all of the 2013 season on the Broncos’ practice squad before finding his way into the lineup, led the way at $277,471.04.

These bonuses aim to help compensate players who have low cap numbers (mostly minimum salary guys on rookie deals) but play a significant percentage of their team's snaps. Each team allocates the same amount toward the pool, which is not charged against the salary cap.

OTC: As of now, Broncos would have two 2016 compensatory picks

2016 Compensatory Draft Pick Update (3/13/2015)

Andrew Mason has an excellent article for the team’s official website (and cites OTC) that demonstrates work that John Elway has done to project picks for the Broncos, coming to a similar conclusion as my program has. Denver holds two picks now but has the potential to get more.

Per Nick, Denver would net a third-rounder for Julius Thomas and a fourth-rounder for Orlando Franklin, and could also benefit from Terrance Knighton earning a weight incentive in Washington. Among remaining free agents, Wes Welker and Nate Irving could potentially add to that.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be laughing about this Joe Don Duncan signing

Futures: Two Non-College Prospects

I still may be reaching with my comparison for Duncan, but based on what I’ve seen his comparable upside is within the range of Heath Miller: not fast enough to be an every-down, vertical threat, but a fluid athlete with strength and excellent hands in tight coverage who can win in the open field.

There's also a likening to Dallas Clark in Waldman's evaluation. Obviously, we should all be somewhat cautious before getting too excited.

But we should also consider the possibility that Duncan was just waiting for the right situation, and that the departure of Julius Thomas made him see Denver as precisely that. (h/t 303user and aldenbrown)

Benoit: Nate Irving should be hot free-agent commodity

NFL Free Agency: The Free-For-All Has Begun

6. LB Nate Irving, Broncos. This might be a bit of a stretch given that Irving has only 12 career starts. But eight of those starts came in the first eight weeks last season, where he showed sharp play recognition and quickness as a three-down ‘backer. He finished the year on IR with a torn MCL but should be 100 percent entering 2015.

Indeed, it's been reported that Irving has drawn wide interest. Given that he'd only be a backup for them, its' really hard to see Nate returning to the Broncos.

Cimini: Look for Jets/Pats bidding war over Darrelle Revis

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has aggressive plan that includes Darrelle Revis

Yes, they’re hot for Darrelle Revis, and we could see the most dramatic Jets-New England Patriots tug-of-war since the Curtis Martin saga in 1998—assuming Revis doesn’t re-up with the champs before Tuesday. The smart money says he doesn’t, forcing the Patriots to release him to avoid a prohibitive $20-million option. The border war is about to escalate once again.

In theory, this is a win/win for Denver - the Pats either lose Revis, or pay him a lot more in cash and cap than they'd wanted to.

Renck: Terrance Knighton is getting pricey

Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton's exit from Broncos could leave big void

In Knighton’s case, it’s likely to create a chasm in what suitors offer and the Broncos’ price point. His market could settle between $7 million-$10 million annually. The Raiders are expected to pursue Knighton, along with the Dolphins. So, too, are the Lions, if Ndamukong Suh defects as a free agent.

Renck floats Nick Fairley, Dan Williams, and Cedric Thornton as possible replacements for Knighton. Pot Roast was terrific for Denver, but they can't afford to pay that kind of cheddar to a guy who played just 48% of their defensive snaps (33 per game) last year.

Klis: Broncos likely competing with KC, Indy to sign Rodney Hudson

Services of center Rodney Hudson in line with Denver's needs

The Broncos have expressed interest in both centers. It is known the Chiefs want Hudson back and the Indianapolis Colts are among the teams in need of a center, so the Broncos may have to pay more than $7 million a year to get him. If the bidding gets too rich, the Broncos may consider Wisniewski at roughly $5 million to $6 million per year.

Obviously, the Broncos haven't yet expressed interest (wink wink), as the legal tampering period doesn't start until Saturday. The Chiefs will have a lot of trouble re-signing Hudson, as they're deep in caponomic doodoo, even after they cut Joe Mays (of course they did).

OTC: Manning’s incentives could be model for future QB contracts

Manning Rolls Salary Into Incentives…Does It Impact the League?

But with Manning, arguably the greatest QB of his generation, now agreeing that millions of dollars in his contract be tied to ultimate team performance people should take notice.  I’m not sure that this is going to be considered an outlier structure anymore and perhaps the next wave of QB’s are going to be pushed into such contracts.

It's all about the quarterbacks in this league, but there is something ridiculous about Colin Kaepernick, Jay Cutler, and Alex Smith being in the league's top ten contracts relative to AAV.

Want rid of Peyton Manning? Careful what you wish for…

Former coaches doubt Bears can win with Jay Cutler

At least 10 former Chicago Bears staffers from the Lovie Smith and Marc Trestman regimes said recently they believe the team can’t consistently compete for championships as long as it fields a lineup with Jay Cutler under center…Two teammates, who also asked to remain anonymous for this story, characterized Cutler as a divisive figure with whom they’d rather not continue to play.

Chances are, Brock Osweiler isn't the petulant jerk that Jay Cutler seems to be. But he also might be half the quarterback that Cutler is. There's only one way to find out, but really, what's the rush?

PFT: Justin Houston may threaten holdout until Week 10

Justin Houston situation is about to get very interesting

Per a league source, Houston intends to aggressively pursue an offer sheet from another team, targeting teams that would be giving up a low first-round pick in 2015 and, most likely, a low first-round pick in 2016…Houston, we’re told, is seriously considering staying away from the Chiefs until the Week 10 deadline for signing the franchise tender.

Aggressively pursue an offer sheet? Does that mean Houston is willing to take a much lower salary in exchange for heftier gauarantees?

Obviously, this would seriously harm the Chiefs' chances this offseason, as Houston will occupy $13.169M in cap space, hindering their ability to acquire other players.