Doom Is Due: Denver Broncos' Elvis Dumervil Deserves A Deal

Scott WilsonCorrespondent IMay 1, 2010

DENVER - 2009:  Elvis Dumervil of the Denver Broncos poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by NFL Photos)
NFL Photos/Getty Images

Doom . The etymology of which is from the Old English: dóm, meaning a  "judgment, sentence, decree, law"

An example would be something like this:

These are the dooms which King Æthelberht established in the days of Augustine...

If a man slay another, let him make bot with a half leodgeld of 100 shillings...

While King Æthelberht was forced to put a heavy price on his subjects from killing each other, Coach McDaniels and Broncos owner Pat Bowlen need to put a heavy price on their subject who thrives on killing the other team's quarterback.

For in Denver, Doom means only one thing. An attack upon the quarterback by Elvis Dumervil.

Few players in the NFL have surprised the league in a more dramatic way then Elvis Dumervil has.  With 43 sacks in his first four seasons, despite being listed as under six feet tall and having moved from a pure defensive end to an outside linebacker, Dumervil has proved all doubters wrong.

Coming out of the University of Louisville, Elvis fell to the Broncos in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft despite leading the NCAA in sacks his senior season (with the second highest total ever, 20) and setting a new NCAA record for forced fumbles with ten.  He won the 2005 Bronco Nagurski Award (the nation's most outstanding defender), but most NFL teams passed on him due to his lack of height.

Since week six of the 2006 season when Elvis began seeing significant playing time, the Denver Broncos are 17-7 when he records at least a full sack.  They are 12-25 when he doesn't.  That correlation held true in 2009 as the Broncos were 6-2 with a full sack from him and 2-6 without.

He is the first Denver Bronco player to ever lead the league in sacks with 17 in the 2009 season, a franchise record.  He was named as a starter to the Pro Bowl for the AFC in 2009 as well.

All of his on-the-field success is a big reason why Doom is such a fan favorite in Denver.  But it is his personality and tremendous heart that makes Bronco fans truly proud of this player.

He works with American Group Home and Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives on charitable projects, and when his family's native island of Haiti was devasted by a massive earthquake Dumervil immediately responded by doing public service work to get much needed donations to help the survivors.

For a great off-the-field story about Elvis Dumervil, please see this piece by the Denver Post's Mike Klis:

Broncos star Dumervil's roots still extend to humble beginnings in Miami

Changes in 2010

Tim Graham, of, reported that Elvis was disappointed when Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan left the team this off-season.  He credited him with helping him to be successful in the Broncos new alignment.

"It was great playing with him," Dumervil said. "I only got to play with him one year, but I had fun, I probably had one of my best years. I felt I was productive throughout my career before Nolan, but being able to move to linebacker enhanced my durability and allowed me to be more effective down the stretch."

But do not assume that Elvis has any ill-will towards the Broncos or the team's head coach.  Elvis has always been the consummate team-player and role-model that fits the bill of everything the organization could want in a player.  His position coach from 2009 "Wink" Martindale takes over as the team's defensive coordinator.  Elvis couldn't be happier for Wink, and in fact invited him and his wife as his personal guests to the Pro Bowl.

"He was a great linebackers coach," Dumervil said minutes after McDaniels called him to inform him of Martindale's promotion. "He taught me a lot. This will be a great opportunity for him to show what he can do. Having a guy from in-house as defensive coordinator is really beneficial. He may be my fifth coordinator as a Denver Bronco, but then again, he really isn't because he already knows our personnel."

Dumervil was successful under Mike Shanahan's revolving door of defensive schemes and coordinators.  He adapted to the new coaching staff by cutting some weight and getting faster in order to play a new position.  He worked on his pass coverage, something he had never done in organized football, so that he could help the team transition to the 3-4 defense.

He played the second most snaps of any front seven player in 2009 with 880 (behind only D.J. Williams with 1,047), and 386 of those snaps were in run defense, 475 in pass rush, and 75 in pass coverage.  He has started all but one game since the 2007 season began.

Since 2006, Elvis has led, or tied for the lead, the Broncos in sacks every single season.  He has also tallied 32% of the teams total sacks in that time frame.

The Sticky Contract Situation

With his original rookie contract expiring after the 2009 season, it seemed he was in line for a large contract full of guaranteed money.  But the NFL opted out of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, making this an uncapped year, and now he is faced with a tough situation.  While he became a restricted free-agent, the CBA placed him in a tough position.  The Broncos did not want to lose their star pass-rusher so he was "tendered" with a first and third-round draft choice.

This meant that any team in the NFL could offer him a contract but would have to give Denver those two draft picks in the 2010 draft in "trade" for his rights.  No teams did so.  This tender also set the price for his 2010 salary at an increased $3.168 million dollars.  A significant raise, to be sure, over his $530,000 salary of 2009; but nowhere near the security he would have received otherwise.

The Broncos are put into a tough spot due to the rules that state a player cannot receive more than a 30 percent increase in his salary in an uncapped year over the previous season.  With a potential NFL lockout in 2011, the Broncos are justifiably cautious about overspending on salaries.

Elvis is in a tough spot as he could risk injury playing on a one-year deal that would derail his chances at a lucrative contract following this season.  There have been hints that he might hold out of training camp in order to get a contract extension.

"I am not frustrated with Elvis," McDaniels said. "I totally understand Elvis' position. I respect whatever he chooses to do."

The Broncos only drafted one player that would be used at the outside linebacker position in Dumervil's absence, and that was seventh rounder Jammie Kirlew out of Indiana.  Kirlew is a raw pass-rush specialist who played defensive end in college and has never played "stand up" linebacker or dropped into pass coverage.

With Robert Ayers taking over the other outside linebacker position due to Mario Haggan moving to inside linebacker, the Broncos have limited options without Dumervil.  Jarvis Moss managed to stick on the Broncos roster last season but made little impact.  Free-agent pickup Baraka Atkins has only seen very limited duty in three seasons with the 49ers and Seahawks. Undrafted free agents Kevin Alexander (Clemson) and Korey Bosworth (UCLA) will be lucky to make the team's practice squad.

The Broncos desparately need Dumervil on the field in 2010 if they want to improve in the standings this year.

There are several options that the Broncos can explore to sign Dumervil long-term while also protecting their financial security.

If Dumervil signs the tender offer of $3.168 million, then the Broncos can offer him a long-term deal that increases that by 30 percent for the next season and so on.  The "loopholes" to getting Elvis more money than that lie in signing bonuses and completion bonuses.  Teams have been somewhat hesitant to lay out large signing bonuses due to the unknown future of the 2011 season.

If Dumervil holds out of training camp through June 15, the team can reduce the tender offer to 110 percent of the player’s 2009 salary.  That would drop the $3.168 million salary for 2010 down to $583,000 and further make it difficult to give him the contract he deserves beyond the 2010 season due to the 30 percent rule.

This is one player that the Broncos cannot afford to lose out on.

And Elvis cannot afford it either.

It is only fitting that Dumervil majored in justice administration at Louisville.  As navigating through all these laws and contracts is the only way to keep Doom in Denver, right where he belongs.

These are the dooms which King Broncofan established in the days of McDaniels...

If a team slay a Pro-Bowler, let them make due with a half-ass pass rush...


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