When the NFLPA and Owners each ratified the new CBA last year they couldn't have thought this would be the outcome. On second thought, maybe they did. With many team mastering the salary cap, further aided by an $8 million increase form last season, the official start of the 2007 NFL Calendar Year was welcomes with record breaking contracts, trades, surprise retirements, bogus radio reports and overall chaos. And that was before Noon!
As Day 1 winds down, let's take a look at what we know, what we think we know, and what we have absolutely no idea about. We'll start with the Broncos --
Dre Bly Acquired via Trade -- Since this trade became official today we'll include it. We finally know all the particulars, and this type of deal has to fall into the category of a win for both sides. For the Broncos, they get Bly, a two-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl winner to fill the void created by the D-Will tragedy. The Broncos also get the Lions' 6th round pick in this year's draft.
The Lions get needed depth at running back with Tatum Bell, and on the O-Line with George Foster. Also included is the Broncos 5th round pick in the draft. With the Broncos picking low in round 5 and the Lions high round 6 the swap of picks moves the Broncos lower 13 slots. This trade should help both sides in 2007.
The Plummer Fiasco -- Should any of us really be surprised?? We first caught wind of Plummer's retirement talk last week when Jay Cutler stated that Jake had been considering it this off-season. Jake dances to the beat of a different drummer. He plays the game becuase he loves to play the game. This season the fun was taken out of the game of rhim and when he was staring at a situation that looked exaclty like the one he was leaving he decided "Thanks, but no thanks". We'll never know all the details, but I can't blame Jake for his decison. It would have been nice to get back into the 4th round, but in the end the team will be able to put the Plummer Era behind them. Jake did a good job for the Denver Broncos, but just plain good isn't enough when you play in the stadium that Elway built.
Daniel Graham - Yes, No, I Mean -- There are all kinds of rumor sites out there and false information is relayed all the time. Usually it isn't ESPN Radio spewing the false facts. Their report that the Broncos had sign TE Daniel Graham to a deal had Bronco Nation in an uproar. Unfortunitely someone forgot to tell Graham and his agent who promptly called a Boston area radio station to negate the claim. It appears Graham wants to go on his free agency tour to Seattle and Oakland before making up his mind. Shanny is the type of guy that wants to bring you in and not let you leave. If Graham leaves without a deal chances are he won't get one.
If Not Graham, Maybe Kerney? -- Remember I was talking about Shanny and not letting guys leave? That seems to be the case with Kerney, who was scheduled to visit Dove Valley today as well. Shanny knows when a player gets an offer and leaves with it he is only going to use it to drive up his value. The coach doesn't pull any punches, and you can be certain Graham and Kerney will be getting the best the Broncos can offer tonite. Will it be enough to get Kerney, who, by process of elimination has become the top DE prospect in the FA class. This is where agents piss me off. I have little doubt that Kerney wants to become a Bronco. His agent, however, will wants to shop him around and sell him to the highest bidder. Yea, I know, the player should be in charge, and we'll see if Kerney has the stones to walk away from a little jack to play for a ring.
A couple of visits are shceduled for this weekend as well, including --
Opie Taylor Backing Up Cutty? -- I wrote about this possibility a couple days and now it looks like Johnson will be the Broncos' #1 target. It's a perfect fit. Johnson is a solid vet on and off the field, and will be a solid influence on Jay Cutler on game days. He will also be alot cheaper than Jeff Garcia, or had the Broncos kept Plummer, which should help the Broncos sign some of these other guys we keep hearing about. Johnson also has something else those other guys don't, a Super Bowl ring. I think Johnson will become a Bronco rather quickly if the two sides see eye to eye.
Not Much Tread On These Tires -- Another veteran scheduled to make a trip to the rockies is former Packer Ahman Green. Green was a solid running back in his day but injuries have really curtailed his career. At one time his running style would have fit what the Broncos like to do well, but I am not too confident that Green has that much left to help the Broncos. Green is a possibility if the price is right, but I am hoping his visit is a short one.
Not Another Diva From The U! -- Then there's the talk about the Broncos going hard after current Buffalo Bill, former U running back Willis McGahee. McGahee, mostly known for the horrific knee injury suffered during the college National Championship Game against Ohio State has alot in common with Doctor Wigglesworth, or whatever Clinton Portis is calling himself these days. Unfortunitely a severe injury history and several paternity suits follw Willis around. The Broncos are surely looking for that solid running back to plug in and forget about but I remember all too well what it was like having a cocky, self-centered, prima-donna from the U on this team and am hoping not to see the sequel.
Alot going on in Bronco Nation to say the least. Several big moves around the league as well --
Niners Goin Loco -- The Forty-Niners are going a bit crazy with all that cap space. Forst they signed former Colorado Buffalo and Philadelphia Eagle safety Michael Lewis to a deal, then made big news by signing CB Nate Clements away from Buffalo for a reported 8-year/$80 million deal. Umm, hey Niners, you do know that paying Clements like he is the best DB in the league doesn't make him the best DB in the league. That guy already plays in Denver.
Browns Getting Beefy -- Just like last year the Browns wasted little time signing the top O-Lineman available in free-agency. Maybe this time Eric Steinbach can last longer than one Training Camp play unlike LeCharles Bentley. Steinbach also received mad cash, reportedly receiving a deal some 500k larger than Steve Hutchinson got from Minnesota last year. For Romoe Crennel's sake it had better pay off.
Chucky and Chucky -- The Broncos lost their first free agent of the season when DE Patrick Chukwurah signed a 5-year deal with Tampa Bay. If past history has shown us anything Chukwurah will play one season before being re-signed to play for the Broncos joining other former Broncos-Buccaneers-current Broncos Ian Gold and Keith Burns.
Other guys to sign --
LB London Fletcher from Buffalo to the Redskins
OL Derrick Dockery from Washington to the Bills
OL Langston Walker from Oakland to the Bills
And while not official, yet, it appears LB Adalius Thomas will leave Baltimore to sign with the New England Patriots
Got all of that??? And that was just the first day. It is sure to be a fantastic weekend!!!