Get Your FAX Straight: Broncos Finish Free Agency with Bad Taste in Mouth
By Todd Baker
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
If you’re a Bronco fan and you’ve said the words “I’m not just saying this because I’m a Broncos fan” this week… raise your hand? Other than the Seattle Seahawks and arguably the Kansas City Cheifs, the Broncos were in the midst of one of the best weeks of free agency in recent memory until about 4:00 p.m. EST on Friday.
Under John Elway’s stewardship the Broncos have seen their fortunes improve greatly. No one can argue this fact. It almost feels like the last few years of the Elway playing era. So it came as no surprise to see the Broncos’ front office decisively chase and sign players that would immediately improve an already stacked team as soon as free agency began.
In a matter of only two days the Broncos signed Wes Welker. The addition of Welker gives Denver one of the best wide receiving corps in all of football. Prior to Welker’s signing the team had already franchised Ryan Clady and added Louis Vasquez, arguably one of the top three offensive guards in all of football from rival San Diego.
Even when Denver’s free agency strategy didn’t go according to plan it seemed to work out just fine. Rashard Mendenhall was on the team’s radar but he signed with Arizona just before his scheduled visit. With a plethora of more talented running backs available this didn’t even seem like a set back but rather a blessing in disguise.
On defense, the massive Terrance Knighton was added from the Jacksonville Jaguars while Kevin Vickerson was re-signed. Many thought Vickerson was long gone. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was also signed to a one year deal clearing up any concerns about the cornerback position in the mile high city.
The week had certainly progressed nicely. The offense had gotten stronger. The defense had been bolstered. There was only one more matter to be dealt with… Elvis Dumervil.
Many in Denver had already braced themselves for a life without Doom. As terrific as he is and has been it simply seemed logical that the Brocncos would let him go. His expected salary was simply too high. However, when the team announed that he had agreed to a pay cut and was back in the fold it all felt like destiny. After so many successful moves throughout the week why wouldn’t this work out in Denver’s favor too?
However, only 35 minutes after announcing Dumervil’s good intentions it was revealed that Denver had released the pass rush specialist. His agent, Marty Magid, faxed Elvis Dumervil’s restructured contract back to the Broncos eight minutes too late and Denver had to take the proper steps to protect itself.
What actually went on behind closed doors is truly hard to say. Whether this was an elaborate ruse designed to trick the Broncos’ front office or just an honest mistake is still up for debate. The discussion over whom is to blame here will go on for quite some time but it is truly a waste of energy.
Clearly, had Dumervil truly wanted to come back a deal could have been agreed upon sooner than 35 minutes before the deadine and for the record… who uses a fax machine in 2013? This poor fax machine is being blamed for weeks of indecision. Poor guy.
With $4.75 million in dead money now unavailable to the Broncos fans have to be level headed and understand that trading Dumervil was still going to cost Denver money. No team was about to pay his entire salary. The Broncos were sure to be on the hook for some money either with a trade or ultimately releasing Dumervil, which they did yesterday amid lots of news reports and many twitter pot shots.
There’s almost $9 million in cap space available, some players that can still be cut and work left to be done. This wasn’t the way this week was supposed to end but it doesn’t erase the terrific additions the Broncos were abe to make. It’s time to head back into the war room and get a new strategy in place. The Bronco’s top brass have shown they are more than capable of that.
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