Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

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.

Pauline: Broncos extracted plenty of value from draft, but Webster was “major reach”

Grading the Draft: Denver Broncos
www.draftinsider.net

Grade: B. Denver filled needs with value picks in the first two rounds, added depth at pass rusher and receiver in the fifth frame, selected a developmental prospect in round six then finished the draft with future trade bait.  The reason we don’t give this draft a higher grade was the selection of Webster in round three.  Regardless, the Denver Broncos leave the draft a better team, on paper anyway.

The reaction in our draft chat to the selection of Kayvon Webster was a collective Who's that?, so it's understandable that Pauline would use it to downgrade Denver's draft. In the end, it's just a (meaningless) draft grade, and the player notes are more useful. As usual, good insight from Pauline.

FWIW, a year ago Pauline called Ronnie Hillman a reach. That Denver doubled up in 2013 by using a second-round pick on a running back may confirm that assessment.

Updated 3:55pm ET

It at least sounds like Brock Osweiler won’t be lining up behind a guard anytime soon

Osweiler Taking Command in Year Two
www.denverbroncos.com

“I can see him taking another step as far as his command of the offense—him being able to communicate with guys as far as, ‘Hey, this is what I need from you here,’” Gase said. “You can see him kind of working that way already on the field. When you’re a young guy, there are a lot of things going on, and he’s eliminated, ‘Well, is this guy supposed to be lined up here? Is this guy motioning?’ He’s not doing that anymore. It’s quicker for him. If somebody screwed up this year, he can fix it, and I think he’s taken a big step this year so far in Phase Two (of the club’s offseason conditioning program).”

Not that there's anything wrong with guys who do that...

Raiders add Cribbs, emphasizing the importance of David Bruton

Oakland Raiders sign receiver/returner Josh Cribbs
www.contracostatimes.com

Cribbs, who turns 30 on June 9, spent his first eight NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns, where he developed into one of the game’s most productive kick and punt returners.
His eight kick returns for touchdowns are tied for the most in NFL history. He also amassed 1,914 yards and nine touchdowns rushing and receiving for the Browns.

Reggie McKenzie continues to make wise decisions; anyone else missing Al Davis right about now?

Oh yeah, and this signing is a perfect reminder of why special teams ace David Bruton is so vital to the Broncos' sustained success.

Bowe: Chiefs are going to own individual stats in 2013

Chiefs’ Dwayne Bowe: ‘I’m going to lead the league in receptions’
www.kansascity.com

“(Jamaal Charles) is going to lead the league in rushing this year,” he said, “and I’m going to lead the league in receptions and touchdowns.

“When we get in full gear and pads and close to the season, it’s going to be a show to watch.”

That's fine, Dwayne - the two of you may very well rack up some nice stats this season. Meanwhile, your team will win maybe seven or eight games, and the Broncos will win twelve or thirteen.

Which would you rather have?

Woodson healthy and at Dove Valley; Panthers also interested

Charles Woodson meeting with Broncos; defensive back has other suitors
www.denverpost.com

Although the Oakland Raiders and Carolina Panthers also are interested in signing the versatile defensive back, the Broncos likely are the leading candidate for Woodson because they have the best chance to win a Super Bowl this season.

An opportunity to win a second Super Bowl ring, not money, is the primary objective for Woodson, who turns 37 in October.
...
He has struggled with shoulder injuries since breaking his collarbone in Green Bay’s Super Bowl victory in 2011, but he is healthy now.

If the ring's the thing, then this apparent choice for Chuck Wood is a no-brainer, isn't it?