Although the continued talks and the latest CBA extension until Friday seem to be a positive move for all of us NFL football junkies, it also is doing some damage to the immediate future of teams like the Denver Broncos.
While most of the other teams have a relatively stable roster and no changes in their coaching staff or their offensive and defensive schemes, other teams, like the Broncos aren't in that same situation.
March is the time for teams to consider signing free agents, making trades of players for picks in the upcoming draft and reducing their rosters to relieve roster bonus payments. This is an activity that all teams routinely go through at this time of the year, after the new season officially starts.
But with the CBA in the state it is in now, there can be no trades, no roster reductions and no free-agent signings.
So what does that mean for a team like Denver?
Well, with a virtual complete changing of the coaching guard—new head coach, new defensive coordinator and most likely some changes in the offensive scheme as well, especially with the move back to the zone blocking in the O-line—this puts the Broncos at a very distinct disadvantage.
There can be no official contact between coaches and players; there can be no sanctioned workouts and no physical rehabilitation under team doctors or in team facilities.
Think about this for a minute: While teams like the Packers, Steelers, Patriots, etc. are not moving forward, they at least have stability at the QB position and a certain defined direction that all the front office, the coaches and the players are familiar and comfortable with.
Not so for the Broncos and other teams deep in transitions. The Broncos need to turn over maybe 60 percent of the defensive roster before the start of the regular season. They will be installing a new 4-3 defense, they will be hoping for the return of a major rehabbed player in LB/DE Elvis Dumervil.
They will be looking at new players for several LB slots, a new CB opposite Champ Bailey to replace Cox, who will miss a minimum of the first six games, if not the next two to five seasons. Not to mention what to do at safety, where age and injury are a huge factor with Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill.
They need to look at maybe one if not two new offensive linemen, a second RB to support Knowshon Moreno, find a receiving TE, several key special teams players that can cover kicks and tackle, teach a new offensive set to recapture the running game, yada, yada, yada.
And all this work will have to get done AFTER any CBA agreement is reached. As long as they continue to extend the current agreement, nothing can be accomplished except the draft, and that is limited to pick-for-pick trades, not any player for picks if it is held under current conditions.
And if there is no agreement reached, there very well could be a complete lockout and everything would be frozen as is.
So it is very likely that the three QBs currently on the roster will be the ones competing for the starting job next season.
As I said in the beginning, this situation is rough on all teams, but teams like the Broncos are truly behind the curve and will take a lot of scrambling to regain the momentum begun with the hiring of John Fox and the rest of his new staff.
And this is also considering doing much of this with no immediate free-agent signings or even college free agents. Any new or additional talent will have to come from the draft.
When you stop to think about it, that puts a team coming off its worst season in modern history already behind the eight ball before the 2011 season even starts.
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