Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Broncos gave McCray third-largest bonus of all 2013 UDFA’s

Patriots, Cowboys and Rams spent the most guaranteed money on undrafted rookie free agents
sports.yahoo.com

The largest signing bonus issued to an undrafted rookie this year belongs to UNLV linebacker John Lotulelei, who received $25,000 to sign with the Seattle Seahawks. Boston College offensive tackle Emmett Cleary received $20,000 to sign with the Indianapolis Colts, while Florida linebacker Lerentee McCray was third on the list with a $17,500 signing bonus from the Denver Broncos.

Granted, that's still peanuts in the NFL, and won't factor into whether Lerentee makes Denver's 53-man roster. If nothing else, it's an indication that the Broncos weren't alone in liking McCray's prospects, and that he heard good enough things from the Denver front office about his chances of making the squad.

SB 50 to San Francisco; SB 51 to Houston

Super Bowl L awarded to San Francisco; LI to Houston
www.nfl.com

NFL owners voted Tuesday at the NFL Spring Meeting to award Super Bowl L in 2016 to San Francisco. The game will be played in the 49ers’ new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California…

A vote was then taken by the owners on whether to award Super Bowl LI to Houston or South Florida. Reliant Stadium, which hosted XXXVIII between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers in 2004, won the bid for the 2017 game.

To be clear, these are the Super Bowls that follow the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Will one of them be the site of an Elway-like ride into the sunset for one Peyton Manning?

Denver, of course, is bidding to host one of the three Super Bowls that follow the one in Houston.

Prisco: Broncos are May overdogs

Power Rankings: Loaded Broncos are the favorites, like it or not
www.cbssports.com

The only concern moving forward is the other pass rusher opposite Von Miller. Can Shaun Phillips, Robert Ayers and others replace Elvis Dumervil?

It's nice to see someone describe the task of replacing Elvis as more than just Ayers's responsibility.

Reminder: Rahim Moore was really good in 2012

Secret Superstar: Rahim Moore
www.profootballfocus.com

A year after spending some Sundays as a healthy scratch, Moore played more snaps in 2012 than any other Broncos defender. Often lining up deep as Denver’s last line of defense, Moore allowed just 0.46 Yards Per Coverage Snap and surrendered a first down or touchdown on only 1.64% of his snaps. At the same time, he frequently showed the speed and instincts to provide support against backfield screens. And when he got to the point of attack, he sealed the deal.

After amassing 11 missed tackles in 43 attempts in 2011 (including the playoffs), Moore had just eight in 96 attempts in 2012. Amazingly, he’d transformed himself from one of the worst-tackling safeties in the league into one of the best. And with a +9.0 grade in the regular season that tied for the 10th-highest of any safety, he was one of the more promising young defenders in the league. This would have been the lasting image of Moore heading into the upcoming season, except for the outcome of one play.

We're obviously not done hearing about that play, and frankly, it will continiue to be a sore spot no matter how many SB titles potentially follow it (Michael Dean Perry, you're still not off the hook). But Rahim Moore is just 23 years old, and there's no reason to think he can't live up to his pre-draft billing, if he hasn't already.

Kuper, Walton not expected to practice until training camp

OTAs Day One Practice Takeaways
www.denverbroncos.com

In terms of personnel, the offensive line isn’t yet up to speed. Chris Kuper and J.D. Walton were among the players who were outside, but not practicing. Neither are expected back before training camp, but Walton’s presence with the offensive line group during drills was a positive sight.

Safety Quinton Carter and rookie defensive end Quanterus Smith were also on hand, but limited to watching and working out. Carter, who is recovering from microfracture surgery, ran laps around an adjacent practice field.

That is, if Kuper is still around, and as we've noted countless times, we're not expecting him to be, given his $4.5M salary for 2013.

Also from Mason's excellent post is the disconcerting note that Trindon Holliday still hasn't kicked his fumbling problem. Is that why Wes Welker was fielding punts during his first Broncos practice? Is he the new Jim Leonhard?

Klis: Broncos were close to deal with Woodson last week, are still hopeful

Peyton Manning, Broncos return for offseason practices
www.denverpost.com

Woodson visited the Broncos’ headquarters last Wednesday and the two sides appeared close on finalizing a deal when negotiations hit a snag. Woodson is scheduled to visit the Oakland Raiders on Tuesday but the Broncos are still hopeful they can sign him.

Meanwhile, current safety Rahim Moore had a fun Monday, having to answer questions about both the Baltimore game and the possibility of having to compete with Woodson.

Of course, we don't see Woodson as a threat, but rather a potential complement to Rahim, so perhaps those were just uninformed queries?

Broncos 2nd in PED bans since 2010, but does it really mean anything?

Seahawks' lead in PED bans under Carroll
espn.go.com

Seven other teams have incurred three or four substance-abuse suspensions for PEDs over that span, including the Denver Broncos and New York Giants with four apiece, according to STATS PASS. The San Francisco 49ers are among 10 teams with zero…

...NFL policy requires annual testing for steroids and related substances when training camps begin or whenever a player reports to the team after camps begin. Preseason and regular-season protocol calls for 10 players per team to be tested at random each week. That protocol continues into the postseason for playoff teams. Players under contract can be tested up to six times during an offseason, subject to increases following a positive test.

This is one of those statistics that means very little, since four bans is hardly different than three bans, which would have put the Broncos in a tie with five other teams and behind the Giants; further, what this statistic doesn't get at is the number of guys using PEDs who simply haven't been caught, which is probably huge, at least according to former players.  Does this stat mean the Broncos are just worse at masking their PED use?

Maybe Greek just needs to do a better job of masking the bottle colors of urine samples.

Compromise to later NFL Draft is earlier free agency for veterans

NFL ready to alter calendar
espn.go.com

The NFL and NFL Players Association are on the verge of pushing back the draft to May and moving up the start of the league year to before the Indianapolis scouting combine, according to league and union sources.

In theory, this figures to help liven up a free agent market that was rather rough on veterans (especially pass rushers) in 2013. At least, that's the NFLPA's thinking.

Agent: McGahee just sticking to usual routine

Willis McGahee is only no-show for Broncos' training session
www.denverpost.com

“He’s following the same routine he’s had his whole career,” said Chafie Fields, McGahee’s agent. “He’ll be there. He’s ready to compete. No messages.”

As noted by Gregg Rosenthal, Willis typically trains with his fellow ex-Hurricanes, so there appears to be nothing to see here.

However, his roster standing is still in jeopardy, what with the drafting of Montee Ball last month and Ronnie Hillman in 2012, plus Knowshon Moreno's lower age (by six years) and salary ($1.7M vs. $2.5M, and cutting McGahee would provide $2M in cap relief, while cutting Knowshon would net just $945K).

PFT: Change in cap accounting for Manning unintentional

Manning’s contract doesn’t change, league’s treatment of it does
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

A source with knowledge of the situation has reiterated to PFT that, despite reports elsewhere to the contrary, the deal did not change.  However, the NFL’s interpretation of it did.

Well, I feel like I just wasted an hour writing about what the Broncos were thinking when they may or may not have renegotiated Peyton Manning's contract.

I see no reason to doubt Florio's latest report on the situation, so that obviously eliminates any intent on Denver's part. Nonetheless, they could still end up making use of the extra space, or just carry it over to next offseason.