Well, in keeping in what has been the standard MO for the team, the last 5 days have been anything but smooth sailing here in the land of the Broncos. We all have heard about the plan for Free Agency, and how we had an extensive board that would boast our squad and help our team. Its now Sunday, and in the eyes of this fan it has been one of the MOST frustrating and NON SENSICAL times for the team I can remember...for......wow.....at least since McD got fired.
I have been one of the most vocal fans, calling out EX (I refuse to include Fox as he is into up to his arm pits and will be leaving Elway and Xanders to do there jobs). But, after a few Bundaberg Rums and Coke, and a nice sleep, I have some theories I want to share as why FA's want no part of the Denver Broncos.
Read on below:
1/ Instability at the QB position: The QB is the trigger man, not only for the offense, but for the whole team. He is the foundation of which I team is originally built. Yes, it is possible to build around ANY style of QB, but what it is not possible to do is build a team when you dont know who the QB is. Now, if you are a FA that wants to go to a winner, or wants to go to a team and be part of a new era, you want to know the team at least has a plan. if you look at Denver, all you see at the TRIGGER position is confusion, botched trades and instability. Who is going to sign with a team when you dont even know who the QB is for this year, and who will be the QB moving forward. Denver is in a holding pattern, and FA's know that.
2/ EX: As I said in the introduction, these are theories. I believe the team of EX will be under scrutiny. It is made up of a legend in Elway, and a young guy with debatable success in Xanders. The draft was a decent success, but the lack of picking up DT help, but we were assured they had a plan (will get to that later) for acquiring a DT in FA. First things first, they put it out there that Kyle Orton was available for trade, and got into it with Miami. Now, regardless of whether Kyle Orton nixed the trade from the get go (with Kolb like expectations) or EX could not get the deal done, PERCEPTION is out there that they cant get deals done, and are acting like the rookies they are. Now, agents will deal with people they have contacts with, and feel comfortable with (happens in my sport too). Agents, and players will not want to deal with a team that cant get deals done. Instead of Denver being a "destination resort" like in past years, it now becomes a "last resort" if everything else falls thru.
3/ The Orton Contract:
Look at it from Kyle Orton's position: You know you were trade bait, you requested a trade at the end of the 2010, you are owed close to $9 M, you receive a $1.5 M bonus and you can see FA clear as day in 2012. You have no loyalty to the Broncos, and wont be back. You turn down a deal with Miami (reportedly a 2 year deal when you want long term) and see yourself a s good as a guy with 7 starts, worse stats that picks up a $63 M long term deal.
Look at it from Denver's perspective: You think you have a good trade bait. You have one of College's greatest players sitting on the bench. You have to pay Orton $9 M if you cant trade him. You know he wont be back. You have no intentions of extending him. You need the $9 M to be able to make some things happen.
So Orton is the linchpin to your whole FA period. From a PR perspective, you need to get ONE big name FA to be able to come here to prove you are attractive to players, and that you will give good contracts. But you cant trade Orton, you dont have the $9M off your books, and you need that to sign some DT help.
I found it curious that they kept Hill on roster for a couple of days and then cut him yesterday. I think Denver thought that Kyle would be off the books and that they could assess guys like Hill as they had some cash to play with. With Kyle still there, I think you will see some pre-mature cuts like Hills in the next couple of days as we need money. Bowlen is cash strapped.
I have been one that said to cut Kyle, save at least $5 - $7 M and move on. Problem with that (and was brought up by one of our crew in a thread) is that if you are a FA and see that type of behavior from a NEW FO, no way you want to go to that type of environment. Quite the pickle EX has got themselves in, and this only makes the situation worse in it adds to their legitimacy as a professional FO.
4/ Denver wont pay:
Mebane goes back to the Seahawks on a 5 year $25 M deal. Thats pretty cheap for a young DT with tons of upside. Add this to the economics of the Cofield, Jenkin's and Okoye contracts (all really good value) . Haynesworth goes to the Pats for a 5th and Denver is tagged as being involved, but wont give more than a 5th for a guy who ihas the talent to be THE dominant 43 DT. Denver gets painted as a CHEAP team. They wont give decent, value packed contracts, they wont give up fair compensation in the way of draft picks. We are just a cheap, nasty franchise that only cares about saving money and not building a team (that is the perception). With our record, our tight purse strings we are aligning ourselves with team like Mike Brown's Bengals. Not awesome!
These are just some theories, but I think we just dont have money to spend, we are not attractive to FA's anymore. We are cash strapped, inexperienced in the front office, put all our eggs in one basket by over valuing Kyle Orton and not being able to move him, which has left us even MORE cash strapped than what we had planned for. Orton staying adds to instability and controversy that has followed Denver for the past 5 seasons remains, and from the outside looking in, who wants to go to the team, that for all intention purposes, has no plan at QB and is in a constant battle to just be competitive.
I guess we, as fans, dont help, by being SO divided in our opinons. We have a fractured fan base, fractured team and a FO that is struggling to make things happen.
Internally, I am 100% sure Xanders and Elway are contacting players, and trying to make things happen, but just dont have the money to sign players. For FA's to come here, they will want more money as it is a career risk to come into such a topsy turvy situation. If Xanders and Elway banked on moving Orton to get there FA period rolling, then they were very stupid, brave, arrogant or a combination of all 3....but it has crippled the teams ability to really do anything of note in FA.
Anyway, just some theories and would love to know what you guys think.