The Difficult Decisions ESPN Must Face

Most of you are aware about the recent round of high-profile layoffs at ESPN. This is not the first round of layoffs the cable sports network has made – most of the layoffs had affected behind-the-scenes personnel. But this round impacted people who are involved with on-the-air reporting and writing articles for the network’s website.

It begs the question: Why is this happening and what is the future of ESPN?
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What Working The Draft Board Is Really About

We have all made our opinions known about the Broncos using their first-round pick on Garett Bolles and a few wondered if the Broncos could have traded up for somebody else (say O.J. Howard) or moved down the board.

While I wasn’t a fan of the Bolles pick, I want him to succeed and wish him luck. But I do think it’s worth exploring the question about the Broncos moving up or down the board and when it makes sense.

We tend to think that moves up or down the board make sense based on the player a team is interested in, but there’s more to it than that. Whenever you move up the board, you want to minimize your risk because you can’t always guarantee that the player you move up the board for will pan out like you think he will. And when you move down, you want to ensure your maximize your return from moving down so that it’s worth it, regardless of whether or not you miss out on the player you want by moving down.
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D (Ring-of-Fame) Ware?

beware-of-the-demarcus-ware-hype-train-4A shout out to @Nick for starting D-Ware’s retirement announcement thread and to @Rhett for sharing an Andrew Mason tweet about D-Ware’s Ring of Fame (in)eligibility.

That sub-thread combined with my own thoughts on the value D-Ware brought to the team got me to thinking… Does Demarcus Ware really belong in the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame?

To be fair, technically he’s not eligible as ROF candidates need a minimum of four years on a Broncos roster. However, hear me out. After the fold, I might make you consider him worth a rule change. ‘Might’ being the operative word. 🙂 Continue reading D (Ring-of-Fame) Ware?

Offseason Primer: The Free Agent QB Market

We all know the quarterback is the premium position that ranks above all such premium positions. There’s no shortage of teams who are willing to open up the checkbook to get a quarterback, but the question that needs to be asked is how much should teams be paying for QBs that one wouldn’t call those who can put a franchise over the top.

As we have seen in recent years, some quarterbacks that people would consider average-to-good players have been handed contracts that paid them as if they were a QB that could transform a franchise without much other work needed. When Andy Dalton signed his contract in 2014, some people thought that $96M over six years was way too high. Just two years later, his contract looks like a bargain.
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Laughing All The Way To The Bank

Today, In-thin Air commentor @bradley shared a USA Today article on the City of San Diego winning by losing the Chargers to Los Angeles. The article coupled with another Disqus thread earlier in the week about the NFL’s former non-profit status had me thinking about the true cost of public subsidies for NFL construction and renovation projects.

Ultimately, I wanted to find out if having an NFL team was really worth it?

Now, don’t shoot the messenger here, I love the Denver Broncos, but after the fold, you might learn Denver is not isolated from these welfare problems and that Mile High taxpayers should probably start $aving NOW.

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Analyzing The Broncos Roster And Offseason Priorities

While there are still two weeks left in the regular season, it doesn’t hurt to get an idea about where things stand with the current roster and a rough idea about what the Broncos need to do this offseason.

I will go over each position, including any practice squad players and those on injured reserve, and go over relevant status as warranted. I will include my own thoughts on what might be the best approach for the Broncos to make this offseason at each position.

Basic info: The Broncos have an estimated $30.7M in available cap space, but that number is based on an estimated cap of $166M. The cap may go higher than that, so the Broncos may have a little more room to work with. They have 37 players who are under contract for next season, nine players on the practice squad who will likely get futures contracts, nine players who will be exclusive rights free agents (ERFAs), three who will be restricted free agents (RFAs) and 11 players who will be unrestricted free agents (UFAs).
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Why You Can’t Always Count On Trades

I’m planning to get something up later in the week about where things stand with the current Broncos roster and what to consider about an offseason plan, but I wanted to get another topic out of the way first.

That deals with one of the means of acquiring players: Trades.

When one puts together an offseason game plan, you first need to ask yourself which pending unrestricted free agents of your own should be re-signed, which restricted free agents should be tendered and at what level (regarding exclusive rights FAs, they are almost always tendered because there’s no risk to do so) and which players must be cut for performance reasons, cap reasons or both. Once you have those in mind, you consider how to fill holes through, in order, the draft, free agency and trades.
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We Know About The Broncos, But What About Their Opponents?

Everyone should be aware of that the Broncos need to win out to ensure themselves a spot in the playoffs. Everyone is aware by now of the weaknesses the Broncos have (mostly on offense). And everyone is aware that the Broncos are not likely to secure the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, even if it’s mathematically possible.

But while all is not perfect for the Broncos, nor is it perfect for the remaining four opponents on their schedule. Each of those opponents will pose a problem for the Broncos to some degree, but those opponents have problems that will affect them, too.

Let’s get the Broncos’ issues out of the way first: They still have issues at right tackle, their running back corps has thinned thanks to injuries, the starting QB has battled injuries, the backup QB still needs development before he becomes the starter, and the defense, while still one of the best units in the NFL, is no longer capable of making up for the offense’s inability to move the chains or of constantly holding off opponents who get good field position.

But we’ve discussed these issues many times over. Instead, let’s turn our attention to the opponents the Broncos will face in the coming weeks and examine what each of them has done well and the areas in which they have struggled – and, in particular, anything noteworthy as it pertains to their specific matchup against the Broncos.

We’ll go over them in order of when the Broncos play them.
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Offseason Overview: Veteran Contract Situations

In continuing information about the offseason work that the Broncos are likely to consider, I wanted to keep people updated as to where things stand with the veteran players on the roster and how the Broncos might approach things in the offseason.

One thing to keep in mind with players is the difference between fully guaranteed money and non-guaranteed money. While certain players have money in 2017 that is currently “injury only” guaranteed, that money becomes fully guaranteed if a player is on the roster by a certain date. So, for the purposes of this post, I am treating things under the assumption that money will either be locked in toward the start of the 2017 NFL year or it will not be locked in.

When money becomes fully guaranteed makes a difference in terms of when you need to make a decision regarding a player’s future. If you have a player that isn’t guaranteed any money until he is on a game-day roster for the regular season, there is no risk in keeping the player on the roster and no rush to getting him to take a salary reduction, unless your cap space is tight. Because the Broncos are projected to have nearly $39M in cap space, their only focus will be on which players are guaranteed money at what point.
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Performance Enhancing Drugs – Is It Time for a Rule Change?

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Oxymoron: Drug Free Professional Sports

Over the course of the last few decades, professional sports have gone from an American Pastime to a World-Wide Entertainment Industry (DaDaDa, DaDaDa). Revenue is up, Records are routinely broke and wining at all cost has led to the unfortunate call for asterisks to be placed next to some of  sports’ greatest of all time.

After the fold , @BobMorris and Myself (@KushLash) have teamed up for some bye week-esque journalism. Together, we peel back the layers of the professional sports entertainment industry and show you what role performance enhancing drugs really has played in our community’s favorite pastime: Professional Football

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