Broncos agree to $5.2 million deal with top pick Derek Wolfe
Derek Wolfe, the first player the Broncos selected in the NFL draft last month, has agreed to terms with the team on a four-year, $5.2 million contract. A defensive tackle from Cincinnati, Wolfe was selected with the No. 36 overall pick in the second round. He did not participate in the Broncos organized team activity (OTA) workout Monday because rules say his college class must complete graduation first. Wolfe played his college ball at the University of Cincinnati, which doesn’t graduate its 2012 class until June 9.
That means Wolfe will miss all three of the Broncos’ OTA sessions.
The power of the new CBA continues to pay dividends, at least for the teams. These new rookie contracts--aside from being much less expensive--really cut down the signing period by a country mile.
What to make of the three practices Wolfe will miss? Absolutely nothing. It's three days in which he won't pull a hamstring.
Deep thoughts, cheap shots & bon mots ...
The Raiders’ new regime gets its first test with linebacker Rolando McClain, recently sentenced to 180 days in jail. If Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen are serious about building with character, they’ll ease McClain out of the Raiders’ mix, making an eloquent statement: “That’s not how we roll.”
Hey kids, remember that time when the Broncos were thinking about drafting Rolando McClain at #11 in the 2010 Draft?
Me, too. Thankfully, the Oakland Raiders took that decision out of Josh McDaniels's hands and took McClain at #8.
The debate at the time was whether McClain's Crohn's Disease (did he have it or didn't he?) would affect him on the field. As it turns out, there were bigger concerns, like McClain's penchant for discharging firearms.
Don't count on Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen purging McClain from the Raiders just yet, however. McClain is only 23, and although he's been pretty average so far in his career, they're not about to divest themselves of the only decent linebacker they've got, unless you count Aaron
Turmeric Curry as a viable option.
No matter how the Raiders play this one, you can bet on one thing: it's good for the Denver Broncos.
Broncos, Ryan Clady begin to address contract extension
The Broncos have opened contract-extension talks with Ryan Clady, according to several NFL sources.
The left tackle is in the final year of his deal that will pay him $3.5 million in 2012. The franchise tag for left tackles this season was $9.4 million.
While the Broncos and Clady’s agent are talking, it may be a while before the two sides are close to an agreement.
This move by the Broncos is a prudent one. While Clady isn't the Hall of Famer he appeared in his first season, he's probably among the top ten left tackles in the league today. And, as Klis notes, Clady entered the league as a dominant pass blocker. He's much more adept at run blocking now.
Like shutdown cornerbacks, left tackles don't grow on trees. If Clady can stay off the basketball court, this move is a no brainer.
Lomas Brown, now an ESPN analyst, claims at least 50 percent of NFL players likely smoke marijuana, according to a report in the Detroit News. “I just don’t think you’ll be able to curb this,” Brown told the newspaper. In Brown’s eyes, this is actually an improvement. Brown claims up to 90 percent of players league-wide smoked marijuana when he began his career with the Lions in 1985. It falls in line with some recent findings:
• Four out of 10 draft-eligible prospects from the 2012 class failed at least one school-administered drug test for marijuana; two in 10 failed multiple times, per a CBS Sports report from April.
• “About 70 percent” of prospects at the combine admitted to using marijuana, per an ESPN report.
• A 2009 report by the NCAA stated 26.7 percent of all football players admitted using marijuana over the past 12 months, the highest number of any athlete group they surveyed.
You'd think the boys down at the league office would realize the opportunity that sits in front of them. If they can shift attention away from concussions and to purging of the deadly evil that is The Chronic out of our national pastime, they might just buy themselves a few years from public scorn over players' pensions, too.
Check yourself, Roger Goodell, before you wreck yourself. Or better yet, get out your bong and groove to one of the better pot-smoking songs you'll ever find right here and now:
New Broncos Coordinator Jack Del Rio says Denver Expects to have a Top-10 Defense
“...We’ve established high expectations, we expect to be a top-10, if not better, defense. We’ve got a lot of work to do to get there but that’s what our goals are…”
“...the areas we were good at last year we want to build on. Getting off on third down was a strength of this defense for sure. But at the end of the day, it was 24th in points allowed, 20th in yards allowed, and those aren’t numbers that we’re looking for. So we gotta do some work up front, making sure that we can keep people from running it down our throats a little bit. We gave up too many explosive plays in the run and the pass game…”
It's good to have goals. All the great ones do. Kobayashi didn't eat 337 hot wings at Wing Bowl 20 without concrete and measurable objectives (he was shooting for 300; he messed around and got a triple double).
Jack Del Rio doesn't know jack about eating hot wings. But he does know great defense. The top 10 sounds like a good place to start to us.
Pioli says Chiefs have three good QBs, didn’t need to draft one
Pioli and Kevin Kietzman of WHB got a little testy with each other as Kietzman pressed Pioli about why the Chiefs couldn’t have traded up in the draft, with Pioli at one point asking, “Are you going to let me answer?” when he felt Kietzman was interrupting him, and Pioli zinging Kietzman with, “I hope you become general manager of the Denver Broncos” when Kietzman told Pioli that he would have traded the Chiefs’ entire draft to move up and take Andrew Luck first overall. Pioli doesn’t seem to like the relentless questions from some in Kansas City about whether the Chiefs can win with Cassel.
Scott Pioli isn't used to being questioned. In fact, it's pretty clear he's the one doing most of the listening, especially if you work for the Kansas City Chiefs. When he does answer questions, it's best just to nod your head, lest you become a candidate for the Broncos' GM job.
How funny will it be when Pioli gets fired and replaced by Brian Xanders? Yes, that funny.
Bolden First Draft Pick to Sign
The first of the Broncos’ 2012 NFL Draft picks has signed with the team.
Cornerback Omar Bolden, drafted in the fourth round, put pen to paper on Thursday.
Selected at pick No. 101 overall, Bolden amassed 138 total tackles, five tackles for loss, 21 pass breakups and seven interceptions in his career at Arizona State.
One down, six to go.
Tebow’s attorneys put it this way: “The Merchandise makes it appear as if Mr. Tebow actually endorses Cubby Tees and its products.” Where that actually happens is a bit of a mystery. The shirt…remixes the Jets logo to a more Jesus-friendly theme. The “NY” is replaced with “MY” and the “JETS” is replaced with “JESUS.” In addition, what’s normally a football at the bottom of the logo is the “Ichthys,” or “sign of the fish,” often used to express faith.
And yes, when you think of Jesus and the Jets together, you probably think of Tebow, but the shirt itself contains absolutely no Tebow references. I am neither a theologian nor a lawyer, but I don’t think Tebow is the only one allowed to claim Jesus as “My Jesus.” But again, I’m not sure exactly how close Tebow and Jesus are. I could be wrong about that.
We found it odd last year when then-Broncos quarterback was comfortable with people wearing a #15 jersey with the name "Jesus" emblazoned on the back. But what the hell did we know? After all, we didn't know what was in Tebow's heart (except a lot of passion), right?
But Tebow's full-on God complex (the Trinity at work, y'all) just went national--just in time for Mark Sanchez. If Tebow's attorney is right, then the names Jesus Christ and Tim Tebow are one and the same, because the merchandise never mentions Tebow's name (or even his number).
The best part of this story, however, isn't even that Tebow thinks he's Jesus in spikes; it's the hubris of his lawyers (and Robby Tebow, who is cc'ed on the letter) Check out this paragraph from his lawyers directed at the tee-shirt company:
As I'm sure you're aware, Mr. Tebow's name, voice, likeness, and identity have a substantial economic value when used for the purposes of advertising, marketing, promoting or endorsing products or services, and/or when he serves as a spokesman.
Translation: our client is in fact Jesus Christ Superstar.
I knew the Sanchize liked drama and rock opera. Now he's getting some.
PS: Thank you, John Elway
Matt Prater absent from Broncos workouts
Broncos kicker Matt Prater, a free agent until he was slapped with a $2.6 million franchise tender for the 2012 season, has not been participating in the team’s offseason workout program.
“”There’s no message, it’s voluntary,” said Frank Bauer, Prater’s agent.
Prater made some huge kicks last year, and he was a bigger part of Denver's winning streak than a kicker would typically be. But he's still a kicker, and one who's made just 80.4% of his attempts with the Broncos, including an atrocious 20 of 33 from 40-49 yards (60.6%).
If you're wondering, Ryan Longwell is available and has made 83.2% of his career kicks, including 73.5% from 40-49 yards.
Steven Hauschka, who stepped in for an injured Prater in 2010 and became Seattle's kicker last season after Denver cut him in the preseason, was good 83.3% of the time in 2011, including 7 of 8 (87.5%) from 40-49. He's also a free agent - perhaps Denver should consider bringing him back.
Statistics corrected 11am ET July 3, 2012
Thomas Preparing for 'Best Year Yet'
“I’m excited, man,” Thomas said, smiling from ear to ear. “I’m just excited to get healed and work with the team and not sit here and look around – to actually be on the field doing stuff. This is my first year in the NFL being healthy. I’m feeling good, I’m in the right shape, good size. It’s just exciting and I’m looking forward to it.”
...Thomas took advantage of the opportunity to learn from an All-Pro receiver in Johnson, who along with Thomas is one of the bigger receivers in the NFL. “It was basically just coming off a press and how breaking down the end of your routes will help you because as big receivers, it’s different for us,” Thomas said of the advice he received from Johnson. “Just small little things and just basically to work hard—something good is going to happen if you keep working hard.”
We'll soon be reading that Peyton Manning feels like a 27-year-old after a year off, that J.D. Walton and Zane Beadles have made incomparable strength gains after their first full offseason conditioning program, that Brock Osweiler's mechanics are PMFM-like, and Omar Bolden is running faster than he did pre-knee injury.
What's that you say? We've already heard those last two? Okay, then next it'll be that Nate Irving and Rahim Moore will be ready to make major contributions after the lockout stunted their professional development, and Knowshon Moreno is ready to thrive without the weight of lofty expectations.
Keep that PR machine churning, Sacco.
* ITBSOHL (In The Best Shape Of His Life) has been popularized by the peerless Mets blog Amazin' Avenue, referring to the sunny optimism that is an annual rite of spring training media coverage.