Up until Friday afternoon, NFL free agency had been the usual fare of crappy teams overspending (what up, Miami and Cleveland?), great teams laying back and waiting for bargains (what up, New England and Green Bay?), and the Texans possibly getting played by Ed Reed (what up, Rick Smith?).
There hadn't really been a signature story yet.
And then Elvis Dumervil happened.
In case you missed it, after days of haggling over Dumervil's 2013 salary (which was slated to lock in and guarantee at $12 million if a decision wasn't made by 2:00 p.m. Mountain Time on Friday), the Broncos and Dumervil agreed on a 2013 salary of $8 million (along with a few other terms and conditions) for the pass rushing defensive end's services.
There was only one problem: At 1:59 p.m. Mountain time, there was no signed paperwork faxed back to Denver's offices, so they had no choice -- the Broncos had to release Dumervil. By the time the signed paperwork was received by the Broncos on Friday, it was 2:07 p.m. Mountain time, seven minutes too late.
Fingers were pointed everywhere, embarrassment was plentiful, and the timeline of events that went down all depends on who you believe.
The bottom line is this: the Broncos had to eat a $4.8 million cap hit by cutting Dumervil, and Dumervil as of Friday afternoon is a free agent. That's the simple part. Assessing blame and collateral damage is a little more complicated.
However, let's try and do it, shall we?
4. Tom Condon and Ben Dogra Not surprisingly, within 24 hours after this gaffe became public, Dumervil fired his agent, Marty Magid. Whether the delay in getting the proper paperwork faxed to the Broncos was really, truly Magid's fault (or Dumervil's or some slapnuts at Kinko's, both possibilities by the way), the bottom line is that Magid is the administrative choreographer responsible for making sure the "client" end of the deal accomplishes their tasks in a timely fashion. They didn't. He gone. Now, Tom Condon and Ben Dogra take over as Dumervil's new agents, and I would assume they're about to get a delicious "blue bird" (sales jargon for a commission that falls out of the sky that you didn't really have to invest any time in) on Dumervil's new contract.
By the way, I think every NFL player who openly fires their agent for being stupid should have to do it like Paul Orndorff did to Bobby "The Brain" Heenan back in 1987:
3. Dwight Freeney Word on the street had been that, if Dumervil indeed didn't return to the Broncos, that Denver would look at former Indianapolis Colts pass rusher (and noted F.O.P., "friend of Peyton") Dwight Freeney as a cost effective replacement. As of Sunday, Freeney had yet to land anywhere, and while he ultimately has full control over choosing to play for a team with a chance to win a Super Bowl, the Dumervil situation certainly enhances Freeney's chances of playing for the team that, on paper and according to Vegas, has the best chance to win one coming out of the AFC. Hey, speaking of Vegas....
2. Quinton Carter Denver was among the most newsworthy teams of the early free agency period, with the Wes Welker signing and press conference Wednesday and Thursday, and then this Dumervil fiasco on Friday. So for Broncos safety Quentin Carter, this provided at least some sort of news buttress from people going "all in" on his peccadilloes in Las Vegas. In case you missed it, Carter, a third year safety slated to make $555,000 in 2013, got pinched at the Texas Station casino in North Las Vegas last Saturday for reportedly trying to slip an extra $5 chip on top of each of his three bets after the dice had already been rolled at a craps table. The casino claims they caught Carter's attempted caper on video, and now Carter faces a felony conviction in the state of Nevada that could carry a one to six year jail sentence. Over fifteen bucks. Clearly, Carter is unaware of the bajillion "eyes in the sky" at a casino, and moreover, he has clearly never seen the movie Casino to see what dire consequences cheating in the wrong casino can bring with it:
1. Mike Sullivan We all love to feel wanted, and logic dictates that we are at our most wanted when our skill set (whatever that may be) directly addresses somebody's problems or issues. Doctors, lawyers, accountants, hookers...these people all know what I'm talking about. So with this Dumervil mess, the Broncos now have a problem -- $4.8 million in dead salary cap money that they hadn't really planned on, at least not if they were planning on keeping Elvis Dumervil. Obviously, the Broncos were prepared for either scenario -- cutting Dumervil and taking the cap hit or keeping Dumervil at a reduced salary. They weren't counting on being put in a situation where they would try to be doing both! So now it's up to Broncos capologist Mike Sullivan to play the role of "the wolf" and save the day:
Bronco Fan: "You sending Mike Sullivan.....sheeeeet, Negro...that's all you had to say!"
4. Elvis Dumervil We will start with the most obvious loser in the situation. Dumervil was already set to "lose" $4 million off of his 2013 salary. (Granted, losing $4 million off of $12 million still means you have $8 million, and can you really "lose" anything that wasn't guaranteed to begin with? I get it, but work with me here.) Now, because of the accelerated "dead money" hit of $4.8 million to the Broncos' salary cap, the odds are in favor of Dumervil having to leave Denver, and probably for a starting salary less than the $8 million he'd agreed to with the Broncos. A lot of times, athletes make the decision to uproot themselves and their families for the opportunity to make more money; Dumervil is now starting squarely at a situation where he could make less money and have to uproot himself. Lose, lose.
3. The fax machine Poor fax machine. Having been functionally obsoleted by scanners and the ability to email PDF files or text JPEG's, the fax machine gets the spotlight basically one day out of the entire calendar year on college football's national signing day in February. Other than that, fax machine toils in anonymity the other 364 days, except in situations like this where, because of human error, it is openly mocked for being 90's style antiquated and passé, like technology's answer to Blockbuster Video or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Fax machine did nothing wrong here, people. NOTHING. We really are a society of bullies.
2. Marty Magid Point of clarification: Dumervil's agent, Magid, is actually the second agent he's had in his NFL career. His first agent, Gary Wichard, passed away a couple years ago. How Dumervil decided to transition from Wichard (whose client list was fairly impressive) to this clown, only Elvis knows. Wichard's list of clients included Brian Bosworth, Dwight Freeney, and Terrell Suggs. With Dumervil's termination of his services, Magid's client list consists of Travis Henry, Jacory Harris, the crappier of Joe Montana's two football playing sons, and about 95 other NFL castoffs, CFL refugees, and Arena League stalwarts. If they do another Jerry Maguire movie, can we base it on Magid? Please?
1. Houston Texans Free agency has just been so underwhelming thus far for the Texans -- cutting Kevin Walter, watching five of their own free agents leave the team (including their top three -- Quin, Barwin, and Casey), getting played by Ed Reed -- I don't have anything specific for this bullet point, I just have to believe that wherever Dumervil lands, it will somehow come back to bite the Texans in the ass. That's how this week has gone.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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