Regardless of the events that truly transpired between Elvis Dumervil and the Denver Broncos, the team is smart for moving in another direction.
As NFL fans are aware of by now, Dumervil was released by the Broncos in an incident being labeled as "The Fax Fiasco" (per NFL.com). Depending on who you want to believe, this either got the franchise out of paying Dumervil's $8 million salary, or it allowed him to pursue more money on the market.
In recent days the Broncos have made an offer to Dumervil, according to The Denver Post. As John Elway put it, the team wants Dumervil back—for the right price:
We've offered Elvis a contract. We'd like to have Elvis back.
Apparently Elway's offer was not enough, and Dumervil is going to begin visiting other teams in the next couple of days. Mike Klis of the The Denver Post broke the news via Twitter and revealed that the franchise had offered Dumervil just a three-year deal:
Elvis Dumervil underwhelmed by Broncos' latest three-year offer, according to two sources. He's planning to visit teams in next 48 hours.— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) March 20, 2013
If you're the Denver Broncos, this should be seen as mostly great news.
Sure, Dumervil is one of the NFL's best pass-rushers. He's also 29 years old and only the second best at rushing the passer on the Denver roster.
The best pass-rusher title in Denver obviously goes to Von Miller. While it would be a luxury to keep the duo together, it doesn't make a lot of sense financially. Miller is only 24 years old and has a contract that expires in two years (per Spotrac).
Giving Dumervil anywhere near the $8 million per year he was scheduled to get before the fax mishap won't work—the team has to have enough cash to lock up Miller long term. Not to mention, Miller is deserving of a contract bigger than Dumervil's.
Dumervil is reportedly moving on and has teams such as the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers interested (per NFL.com). Perhaps more franchises will join the fray now that his intentions to truly test the market are known.
It also doesn't help that personal feelings are likely hurting negotiations between Denver and Dumervil after the faxing issue. Look no further than the drama between Wes Welker and the New England Patriots this offseason to see how feelings can get in the way of a longtime player leaving his franchise.
There are a few better options financially on the market, and Denver is smart to realize it. Veteran pass-rushers Dwight Freeney and John Abraham will come at a fraction of the cost when compared to Dumervil and may be just as productive thanks to playing across from Miller. Adam Schefter reports the two will visit Denver soon:
Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 20, 2013
Freeney was scheduled to visit the team Wednesday. Outside of being a cheap, productive option for the team, there's another important factor to consider—Peyton Manning has been recruiting Freeney to Denver for quite some time now, according to reports from ProFootballTalk.
The sway Manning has over the organization (as he should) is undeniable. If the $96 million man wants Freeney in Denver, then Elway and Co. will make it happen.
It's not like Freeney is a bad option as a situational pass-rusher. He struggled last season as a 3-4 outside linebacker in Indianapolis but managed five sacks in 14 contests. It's not Dumervil's 11 sacks from 2012, but Freeney was playing a new position with a less talented team when compared to Denver.
Don't forget about Abraham, who will visit the team soon if a deal does not get worked out with Freeney. He posted 10 sacks last season with Atlanta before being released. He's about two years older than Freeney as he approaches 35 and has yet to find a home despite making several visits.
The Broncos really can't go wrong with either Freeney or Abraham. They each have more than 100 career sacks, combining for a total of 229.5 over the years. Both still excel in that area of the game and, in the twilight of their careers, will come on the cheap.
There is always the chance the Broncos are using Freeney and Abraham to get Dumervil to come down on his demands and re-sign, but it's hard to see that tactic working. Even so, Aaron Wilson is reporting the Broncos' preferred choice is to re-sign Dumervil.
Dumervil may be able to find the money he desires on the market, so pulling a power move with Freeney and Abraham could prove risky.
Of course it hurts to see a fan favorite such as Dumervil move on, but it appears the time is now. The Broncos are on the edge of a Super Bowl run and are in win-now mode. That means loading up on quality talent with financial moves that make sense.
The Broncos have absolutely killed it in free agency thus far as they put together the final pieces of a Super Bowl contender. Denver landed Wes Welker. Louis Vasquez, one of the best guards in the NFL, is now a member of the team. Even Ryan Clady is sticking around (per NFL.com).
The next and final step before the draft is to find an affordable pass-rusher to complement Miller. That's where Freeney or Abraham comes into play.
Dumervil isn't happy with the Broncos, and that's alright. Denver is moving on and will be better for it.
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