"Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence." - Hanlon's Razor
I said early this month that the notion the Broncos would simply cut Dumervil was ridiculous. It was asinine. The kind of made up story you see on the front pages of The Daily Star or a topic of conversation in a Real World episode (Portland!). In my still young career as a Bronco fan, the fan that has spent more time with John Elway the car salesman than John Elway the Super Bowl winning quarterback, there was simply no way that a guy with those kinds of business smarts would simply release a player like Elvis Dumervil. Are you kidding me? What a waste of time reading 127 characters I'll never get back.
Could have microwaved a pop tart instead. Release Dumervil...
GTFO with that nonsense. Am I right?
So strongly did I subscribe to this theory, a theory bolstered by the fact that I believed it totally possible for John Elway to both make me feel great while fleecing me for an automobile and simultaneously convincing a foundational player on his new team to stick around for less money that even as the clock ticked down to the eleventieth (yeah, made that up) hour I knew something would get figured out. It was just posturing on both sides because let's be real here... the Broncos have been very, very good to Dumervil and Dumervil has been pretty good to the Broncos... even when he took his money during the 2010 season and rode the pine.
This was not a broken relationship but clearly one side was given more than the other and it was time for them to meet in the middle. I totally get that. Elvis was overpaid for his production and that needed to be fixed. The Broncos were in a great position to offer him a more reasonable contract on team that is gearing up to play some dominant football and make another legitimate run at the Super Bowl. Elvis had a sidekick in Von Miller that would always guarantee a great situation for himself and his career. The relationship just needed a little bit of counseling, that's all. A sensible meeting of the minds.
Even if the Broncos did the unthinkable and simply released Dumervil because he wouldn't take a pay cut I probably could have eventually wrapped my mind around that. Elway is a shrewd dude and he clearly has a plan for the next two years. If a player is taking up too much of the cap maybe it is time to get him off the lot... and then bring him back when he discovers he can't get a better deal on the free market. What a business move that would have been.
Bizarre is a word often used to describe the events of March 15, 2013 but it is not adequate. Bizarre is watching a guy stick a sword down his throat. Bizarre is a Biebs acoustic album. Bizarre is Race Walking as an Olympic sport. The events that surround March 15, 2013 are so far beyond comprehension I don't have a good descriptor word for it (please, help me out). The way things went down makes it almost impossible to believe that an "accident" occurred.
I'll be honest and say that I haven't bought into everything John Elway has done with this team hook, line and sinker. I think he's done an amazing job getting known commodities and piecing together a team with some phenomenal coaches and players that should be good for the next couple of seasons. It's just after these next couple of seasons that I have my doubts. That said, I could not be more firmly on Elway's side in this matter and I actually appreciate what he seems to have done in the aftermath of this unfortunate situation.
I'm not much of a businessman but I do know this, when it comes to business the only thing you really want from another party is honesty... and a company paid dinner. If you honestly want nothing to do with me or my product or my money just say so and let's be done with it over some delicious nachos. Let's chalk it up to business and move on with our lives. Everyone is respected and we all know where we stand. Things get done that way.
When I think of Elway I think of the consummate businessman. He wants to do right by the Broncos by finding the right balance of skill and finances. That is his job. He clearly has a vision of what that balance looks like and is willing to do some pretty impressive things to achieve that goal. All he really needs are his players (and their agents) to be honest with him and up front. You think you can make more on the free market than what Elway is willing to pay you? Elway will let you go and be businessman enough to bring you back with no hard feelings if you can't actually get a better deal (in Dumervil's case).
Business... it's everything marriage isn't.
What happened on March 15 was a clear breach of what business should be and that is what grinds my gears (and probably Elway's) more than anything. Instead of making a clean break and instead of being upfront and honest Dumervil and his hack of an agent decided to play a game with one of the greatest NFL players of all time who just happens to be even better at business than football.
What did they seriously think was going to happen?
I don't believe that Dumervil's feelings were hurt because the Broncos cut him. If he thought he could hold the entire Broncos organization hostage by saying he was going to sign a contract and then simply not send that contract in because he couldn't use a fax machine hoping that "oops, I guess you have to pay me my 12 million now because the deadline passed" then he's an embarrassment to the University of Louisville and his agent an embarrassment to everyone with a 5th grade education everywhere.
Elvis may be living in a land of fax machines, Gateway 2000 computers and Pluto may still be a planet but Elway exists in a world where he can re-negotiate your contract on one phone, send his wife a shopping list on another while playing Words with Friends and eating a salad. You aren't going to fool this guy, Elvis. I think he suspected as much.
No, I imagine Elvis's feelings weren't hurt because the Broncos cut him, I imagine they were hurt because of the reaction he received from his boss after the Broncos were forced to cut him because of his ridiculous, stupid, completely unthinkable handling of a deal that was worth 8 million dollars of critical cap money. I imagine Elway had some few choice words to share with him and his "agent" and they weren't "good job, good effort." As offensive as this whole situation is to me it had to be many factors greater for a man that is simply trying to conduct legitimate business with a team on its way to a Super Bowl run. It had to be beyond offensive.
It was and is embarrassing.
I'll finish my rant by saying this... I'm not mad at Elvis for leaving. I think it's great that he found a team that will pay him what he believes he deserves (even though the real contract is probably almost exactly the same as the Broncos were graciously offering). I'll still root for the guy as a player and look forward to seeing him again. I'm a little peeved at Elvis (and his incompetent agent) because the way it went down was hugely unprofessional and it brought this team, Elway and Dumervil himself through the mud. It is not how we do business in Denver. It is not how the Broncos run their organization. There is, as far as I know, no games of chicken being played in back corridors of Dove Valley for more money. We are trying to win a Super Bowl right now and the way that Elvis (and his agent) handled everything is not becoming of an elite organization that the Broncos are.
I really do hope that Elvis goes on to have a great career in Baltimore. Maybe he can show Ray Lewis how to brandish weapons and Ray Lewis can train him how to print homemade muscle shirts on a real computer. It is just such a shame that a player who was so well respected in Denver chose to leave this city in a fashion that feels so sketchy. A fashion that didn't represent the organization well, an organization which believed in him out of college and made him extremely wealthy.
I don't ever want to see that for our Broncos players.
I don't think Dumervil was being malicious but what an incredible display of incompetence that must have just set off a guy in Elway who can deal with just about anything else than incompetent people. So maybe in the end my notion about Dumervil being was released wasn't so crazy after all... because who could have seen that coming?
Good luck to you old #92. See you next season.