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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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?
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.
Broncos 2015 Salary Cap Outlook
Brandon Marshall should be an exclusive rights player, which means he will be back for pennies on the dollar, so he should be open to a pretty reasonable extension. This might be the time for both sides to make a deal.
I think this is a bit early for a deal with Marshall, since he'll be an RFA a year from now. There's also the matter of finding out how well he operates within Wade Phillips' defense. Denver can get another year out of him at the $585K minimum, tender him at the first- or second-round level a year from now (at roughly $3.5M or $2.5M, respectively), and either work out an extension then, or address it after the 2016 season.
“Safe bet” Demaryius Thomas will be tagged
While many believe Julius is destined to no longer wear orange (yeah, I said it), quarterback Peyton Manning’s willingness to restructure possibly comes with a specific request to keep both Thomases around for 2015. If that’s the directive, the smarter move could be to work out something with Demaryius Thomas before Monday, and then to use the franchise tag on Julius.
On multiple occasions, Peter King has speculated that Manning would be supremely pissed by a departure by Julius Thomas. Is this why Peyton's restructure is taking so long? FWIW, tagging Julius would cost around $8.33M on a one-year deal.
Chargers join with Raiders on L.A. plan
The Chargers are not waiting around – not for San Diego to help them build a stadium here and not for the St. Louis Rams to build a stadium in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday night that the Chargers and Oakland Raiders are working on a plan to develop a $1.7-billion stadium in Carson.
Your move, Stan Kroenke.