The NFL rumor mill is buzzing with fresh conjecture involving some of the league's biggest stars as free agency wears on.
After the contract snafu with the Denver Broncos, Elvis Dumervil is suddenly on the open market unexpectedly. Meanwhile, new developments have occurred in the potential Darrelle Revis trade, and longtime Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher is now seeking a new team.
Below is a more detailed account on the specifics behind the latest chatter, as well as analysis of what it could mean for each players' respective future.
The aforementioned ordeal that Dumervil went through involved his agent not faxing the necessary paperwork to the Broncos in time. That led to his release from the team that drafted him in the fourth round back in 2006.
Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reported earlier in the week that two AFC North stalwarts—the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers—are interested in Dumervil's services.
On Wedneday, Mike Klis of the Denver Post reported that the Broncos were set to host Dwight Freeney and John Abraham—two prolific but aging free-agent pass-rushers. Two of Klis' NFL sources indicated that Dumervil was not pleased with the contract offer he received from the Broncos.
Klis then offered more specifics behind the negotiations:
The Broncos' latest proposal to Dumervil includes a signing bonus but no guaranteed money after the first year. His previous revised contract, which got hung up in fax machine purgatory Friday and missed the league deadline, was for three years and $30 million. It included a 2013 salary reduction from $12 million to $8 million, plus $3.5 million in injury guarantee in 2014.
The Broncos' proposal submitted Monday wasn't as lucrative in total money, although they believe it's fair given the discounted market for pass rushers this year.
Dumervil hopes to sign with a team by the weekend, and it looks less likely that it will be the Broncos. The Atlanta Falcons are also interested in Dumervil, according to Klis.
It's an unfortunate situation, since Dumervil's intent was to take a pay cut and stay in Denver. However, it appears the Broncos will take on an older pass-rusher and let Dumervil walk.
The New York Jets' superstar cornerback is still rehabilitating from a season-ending torn ACL suffered in Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins. That hasn't stopped trade speculation, though.
Sports Illustrated NFL insider Peter King indicated on Thursday that negotiations with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in a fragile state, but that a deal is still possible.
if the Jets are willing to take both picks in 2014, Tampa Bay would likely deal its first- and second-round picks for Revis, even though the Bucs are not sold that he can come back and be 100 percent after 2012 knee surgery.
Three things are apparent in the wake of the NFL meetings in Arizona, where nothing got done between the Jets and Bucs on the Revis front: Tampa Bay is the only serious bidder for Revis. The ball is in the Jets' court on what to do next. And the Bucs aren't going to go much further, if at all, to try to get Revis.
Going off of a report by Connor Orr of the Star-Ledger earlier this month, Revis should be outside and running within the next month at the latest, and in two weeks at the earliest. Nothing seems to indicate his rehab is going poorly, so it's unclear as to why the Bucs don't have faith he'll fully recover.
King has heard that Revis would command $15 million in annual salary in a prospective long-term deal with Tampa Bay.
Considering the team's failed investment in CB Eric Wright from last offseason, it makes sense that the Bucs might be reluctant to fork over that kind of money for a player who hasn't proven he's healthy yet.
New Jets general manager John Idzik is already under fire for this issue, on top of inheriting a very difficult situation in the Big Apple. If the Jets miss the playoffs and the renowned defense suffers without Revis, he would receive an immense amount of blame.
An all-encompassing report by NFL.com's Dan Hanzus captures the essence of the Urlacher negotiation saga with the Bears' brass:
A source briefed on the situation told NFL.com's Albert Breer that the sides reached a stalemate in the last few days, and it couldn't be broken. Urlacher doesn't plan to retire, the source said, and hasn't shut the door on re-visiting the idea of a contract with the Bears later in the offseason.
Breer reported that Urlacher was seeking a one-year deal worth $3.5 to $4 million after not getting his initial wish of two years and $11.5 million. Chicago held firm on a one-year offer for $2 million, which signaled the end of Urlacher's 13-year tenure in the Windy City.
Apparently, the free-agent market isn't being so kind to the five-time All-Pro linebacker thus far. Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com reports that the Minnesota Vikings aren't interested in acquiring Urlacher:
Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero
RE: Brian Urlacher, I was told in Phoenix that #Vikings aren't interested. Only way that *maybe* changes is if price comes way, way down.2013-3-21 15:46:59
A subsequent tweet by Pelissero indicates the Vikings do have a hole at middle linebacker, but that they are looking to get younger at the position rather than bring in a veteran.
Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero
I think they're serious about finding their next MLB in the draft and giving Audie Cole or some other younger player a shot to compete.2013-3-21 15:47:53
The Bears themselves have a huge hole at linebacker now that Urlacher, Nick Roach and Geno Hayes have all moved on. Even though Minnesota made the playoffs last season, it appears GM Rick Spielman is still intent on building a promising young nucleus.
That's bad news for Urlacher, who hasn't been linked to any other teams as of now. His leadership and experience will likely generate interest down the road.
Unfortunately, for the time being, teams are cold on him—even the one he has remained so loyal to over his illustrious career.