It's contract posturing at its best on both sides of the table.
Where’s Mojo Nixon when you need him to lead the Broncos fanbase in chants for Elvis?
The Broncos brass is showing that they're up against it, with an eye on the economy and the revamped regimen of the “team” concept in Denver. It’s hard to say the franchise is totally focused and intent on winning now, given the lack of financial commitment to the players over the past year-and-a-half.
It’s also hard to blame the franchise for protecting itself from future financial ruin; however, at some point the rubber has to meet the road.
That time has come, both on and off the field.
The flaw is that the head coach and franchise are asking players to sell out and buy into the “team” concept without entirely reciprocating. The Broncos' front office hypocrisy knows no bounds; it’s reached the point where even Doc Holliday would be amazed. The problem and the risk are potentially burning the players, and the fans (again), in the process.
The Broncos have hard decisions ahead of them.
The team is rebuilding and retooling, much to their public denial. Additionally, the Broncos have enough defensive talent to put the team into contention. Yet the Broncos forced the likes of Brandon Marshall, Tony Scheffler, and Kyle Orton to sign the team's proposed tender sheets. Marshall and Scheffler signed their ticket out of town, and Orton's eventual ticket out of town is likely a forgone conclusion.
It speaks for itself; the track record of the Broncos signing their starters to these tender sheets is atrocious.
Fast forward to yesterday when Jim Rome did his show from Denver at 104.3 The Fan, where he interviewed Elvis Dumervil in studio. It was a great interview, with unscripted responses from Elvis, who showed he was still a team guy but unhappy with the lack of commitment on the business side of the equation by the Broncos.
Here’s a brief outtake of their conversation.
Rome: How are you still going through it?
Dumervil: Yeah that’s what I want to know.
When discussing the contract:
Dumervil: “We are not focused on the right thing here.
Rome: What are we talking about?
Dumervil: I think I answered that (referring to his performance on the field).”
Referring to signing his tender sheet:
Dumervil: “It makes you feel like you have no choice and I really didn’t (inferring the tender sheet was better than a 10 percent increase but not fair market value for what he brings to the team).”
Jim Rome was able to get Dumervil to hint that he could possibly hold out for a better deal this season come training camp. Conversely, Elvis communicated a great deal of enthusiasm for this year's Broncos defense, coach “Wink" Martindale, and the perceived personnel upgrades.
So what could possibly be Elvis Dumervil’s motivation in remaining on board with one of these sub-par tender agreements?
It seems the tender “agreements” are a clear sign that there's a disagreement that can't be resolved. Both Orton and Dumervil are now, oddly enough, lumped into the same class with regards to this Broncos team.
The NFL is a tricky and dicey business, and this is one of the reasons there will probably be a strike next season. It’s unfortunate, it’s wrong, and worse yet, nothing is getting done to fix the issues negatively impacting the game. NFL teams are currently obligated to overpay for unproven talent and can’t muster the courage or the dollars to match proven players like Elvis Dumervil.
Now there is no way Elvis Dumervil should pull down the same sort of contract dollars Julius Peppers has in Chicago, however he is worth more than the tender sheet offered by the Broncos and reluctantly signed by Dumervil.
The truth is in the crease there somewhere.
Elvis put on a smile and showed good faith by showing up to OTA’s without a deal on the table, toting the rock as a team player, doing his part with little returned to him from the team.
That’s a problem; it’s a real problem for the Broncos and for the NFL. Guys that are worthy of a new contract that can’t be reached or agreed upon in a timely fashion are ruining the league. And regardless, it taints the image of what the team is supposed to be all about.
Translation, it has a negative affect on the end product.
Follow that logic down the line to training camp and into the regular season. If Elvis isn't playing for the Broncos there's a real problem at hand. If Elvis decides to play on a tender sheet deal for this season, this is the last the Broncos fanbase will see of Elvis Dumervil, Brian Dawkins, and Champ Bailey. None of those players will be Broncos in 2011 (making the overly optimistic leap that there will be a season).
What remains will be unproven and lacking leadership on the defensive side of the ball.
So even if this is the smart thing for the Broncos to do, it's not the right thing for building a "team," or does their hypocrisy know no bounds?
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