Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

PK: Von’s suspension possibly caused by ‘extenuating circumstances’

Hoping on an Unknown: With Von Miller facing a potential suspension, fifth-round rookie Quanterus Smith is unexpectedly in the Denver spotlight

It’s unlikely Miller will beat what The Denver Post claims is a looming suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, though there are growing suspicions there could be extenuating circumstances to Miller’s proposed ban. Neither he nor the Broncos were talking about it on Thursday.

Mike Klis first suggested on Wednesday that Von's suspension may stem from a missed drug test.

But whatever the details, it's hard to imagine the ironfisted jury/judge/executioner/appeals judge Roger Goodell reversing a ban on appeal. Accordingly, Denver's best hope may be for a reduced suspension.

PK: Quant Smith could be early key for Broncos

Children are Their Future: Two rookies will be key; other thoughts from Denver Broncos training camp

They may lose Von Miller, depending upon league discipline, for the first four games of the year. If that happens, look for Quanterus Smith - who might be the most important fifth-round draft choice in the NFL this year - to play a big role, especially in the nickel pass rush.

One wouldn't expect King to arrive at a conclusion like this on his own, so it would appear the Broncos coaching staff expects early contributions from Smith, who tore his knee up in November.

Wharton $kips Denver visit

Fox: Business as usual with Miller

Offensive lineman Travelle Wharton has cancelled his visit to Denver. I get the sense he is looking for more than what Denver is offering. He will sit and wait. Denver could always revisit.

I get the sense...classic Bill Will.

The NFL, back in Los Angeles?

Might be soon or never for NFL in L.A.

Stan Kroenke, who owns the Rams, lives in Denver and has a beachfront home in Malibu, Calif. He is a longtime friend and business partner of fellow Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, who owns Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and is behind the company’s proposed football stadium in downtown Los Angeles, Farmers Field. Kroenke made a failed bid to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers and has been seen courtside at several Los Angeles Lakers games and frequently talks with Anschutz, raising the possibility that the Rams could be coming home after the 2014 season.

Arash Markazi of ESPN also speculates about the Raiders and Chargers possibly moving back to LA.

Brady: Peyton’s my brother from another mother

Tom Brady’s first words on Aaron Hernandez, and playing—he’s serious—past 40

KING: You’re unusually friendly with Peyton Manning. Will you still be friends when you’re 70?

BRADY: Yeah, I hope so. We’re pretty good friends. I like that. It’s important to me. Peyton has two brothers he’s really close to; I don’t have a brother. We’re competitors on the field, but there’s no reason we can’t be good friends off it. There’s not many people who understand what our jobs are really like, on and off the field. Over the years, I’ve taken my cues on how to act as a player and a leader from lots of guys I respect around the league. Peyton’s one of those. He always knows how to act, what to say, how to represent the game right way. That’s how I want to be.

Big brother Peyton is just 4-9 against Brady, including 1-2 in the playoffs; he's 3-2 against Drew Brees (including a SB loss), who is sometimes described as Archie's fourth son, and he's 2-0 against his actual brother.

Peyton and the Broncos will visit Eli and the Giants in Week 2, and visit Brady in New England in Week 12.

Shaun Phillips, step right up (please)

Veteran linebacker Shaun Phillips could be crucial for Denver’s pass-rushing potential

To put that in perspective, per Football Outsiders’ game-charting metrics, Dumervil and Miller combined for 65 percent of Denver’s hits, and 70 percent of their hurries. No matter how you slice it, that’s a problem.
And that’s how Phillips operates now—he shoots through gaps and exploits gap mismatches to bring above-average pressure. it’s not done at a top-tier level, per se, but the Broncos can’t afford to be choosers right now, and Phillips could be more helpful in his new environs than many imagine.

It's no mystery that the role of Shaun Phillips became far more important with yesterday's news that Von Miller faces a four-game suspension.

Mind you, he doesn't need to replace Miller's production; he just needs to do enough to help them win while Von is out, which is a much more manageable task.

Choose Your Own 2013 NFL Adventure: Elo-style ratings

Wisdom of Crowds: Team Power Rankings (Elo-Style)

You can read more about how Elo Rankings work here, but the beauty is in its simplicity. All you need to do is answer one question: is Team A or Team B going to be better in 2013?


Insert joke about kickers here…

Bucs lose K Barth to Achilles tear, sign Tynes

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play the 2013 season without one of their primary offensive weapons after losing place kicker Connor Barth to an offseason Achilles tendon tear.

The Bucs signed nine-year veteran kicker Lawrence Tynes to fill the void, but the loss of Barth is a blow to an offense that ranked ninth in the NFL last season.
Barth injured the right Achilles tendon during a charity basketball game in North Carolina, according to the team.

Obviously, this is ironclad proof that placekickers are overpaid non-athletes. Ironclad.

Report: Broncos offer Clady $52.5M over five years

Broncos up offer to Ryan Clady

A $500,000 a year increase in an offer by the Denver Broncos could lead to a five-year contract for left tackle Ryan Clady, a source said.

Since last year, the Broncos have been offering Clady a five-year, $50 million contract. By increasing the offer to $52.5 million and showing a willingness to guarantee significantly more than 50 percent of the contract, the Broncos have Clady thinking about accepting the offer.

If these are indeed the numbers, then it's a reasonable deal for both sides, and not far off from what we'd suggested back in February.

Report: Broncos inch closer to deal with Clady

Ryan Clady, Broncos getting close on new contract, sources confirm

There has been progress in contract negotiations between Ryan Clady and the Broncos, according to two NFL sources close to each party…A potential breakthrough in negotiations came when there appeared to be agreement on the guaranteed portion of the contract, the sources said. The sides are still haggling over dollars in annual and total value.

Translation: There's agreement on the only part of the contract that truly matters, so it would be a significant upset were this not to get done. For those new to NFL contracts, it's always, all about the guaranteed money.

Recall that Vic Lombardi reported the guaranteed portion would cover the first three years of Clady's deal. What that means is essentially, the Broncos will hold one-year options on each season beyond the third. If it's a five-year contract in name, then in function, it's a three-year deal, with the Broncos holding two one-year options after that.