Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

2014 Draft moved to May; rest of NFL calendar stays, for now

2014 NFL draft scheduled for May 8-10
www.usatoday.com

The NFL announced Tuesday that next year’s combine will be held Feb. 18-25 while the league year — and the ensuing free agency frenzy — will begin on March 11. Those dates remain in line with the current 2013 calendar.

The NFL would need approval from the NFL Players Association to make any other significant changes to the calendar.

It remains to be seen what tangible impact this ends up having, but for now, we're guessing there will be somewhat fewer unsigned veterans by the time the draft rolls around next year.

Chiefs sign former Texans safety Demps

Chiefs add two defensive backs, release two others
www.kansascity.com

The club signed unrestricted free-agent safety Quintin Demps, who spent three seasons at Houston and two with Philadelphia, where he played for Chiefs coach Andy Reid. Demps has three career interceptions, one sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 48 NFL games.

Demps returned 52 kicks as a rookie under Reid, including one for a touchdown. Last year, in 354 snaps over 12 games, he graded out at minus-2.1 overall according to PFF, with 20 tackles, three assists, three missed tackles, and four stops.

During Houston's Week 3 win at Denver, Demps saw 53 snaps and tallied six tackles, one assist, and one stop.

Urlacher retiring; had been pre-draft favorite of Broncos fans in 2000

Urlacher retiring from NFL
espn.go.com

“After spending a lot of time this spring thinking about my NFL future, I have made a decision to retire,” Urlacher said in a statement he posted on Twitter. “Although I could continue playing, I’m not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that’s up to my standards. When considering this along with the fact I could retire after a 13-year career wearing only one jersey for such a storied franchise, my decision became pretty clear.”

Denver ended up trading down from the #10 pick prior to the 2000 Draft, and the athletic freak went at #9 to Chicago, much to the disappointment of Broncos fans everywhere. Baltimore took WR Travis Taylor with Denver's old pick (oops), while the Broncos took Deltha O'Neal with Baltimore's (oops).

Mark Kiszla and others called for Denver to go after Urlacher this offseason, and a Chicago gossip columnist reported that they had talked to him, but it was never to be (and we're glad for that).

Chargers add Starks, haven’t yet ruled out Ingram

Chargers land LT Max Starks
www.utsandiego.com

The Chargers waived Kevin Haslam, a three-game starter at left tackle in 2012. On the same day, free agent Max Starks donned a Chargers avatar on his verified Twitter account and announced he was joining the team.

With Pittsburgh, Starks faced Denver (with Elvis Dumervil) in back-to-back games - the 2011 WC game, and the 2012 opener, and PFF has Starks down for having allowed one sack, three hits, six hurries, and a cumulative grade of minus-6.9. In other words, just the kind of guy the Broncos want to see twice a year.

Meanwhile, the Chargers are reportedly holding out hope that Melvin Ingram can recover quickly enough from his ACL tear to have an impact on the 2013 season.

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.

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?

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.