Tailgating Behind Enemy Lines

In case you missed it, I crossed enemy lines and spent my Sunday entrenched in the heart of Bills Mafia. If I were to describe my experience in Orchard Park as a movie, it would be as if Animal House bred with American Psycho while Rudy played in the background of their rent-by-the-hour motel room.

Imagine the City of Detroit from the Original RoboCop film… filed with drunk idiots… in 93 degree weather… randomly singing Shout. Sprinkle in some of this and this and this and you’ve got yourself quite the afternoon!

As you can imagine, I was more than excited when my caravan of Bills fans who haven’t experienced a playoff victory since before puberty, pulled in next to a group of very brave Broncos fans. As it turns out, they weren’t just fans, they were the proud family of the Broncos very own kicker, Brandon McManus.

Sis, Pops, Yours Truly, Ma… Bates Motel in the Background.

Stick with me because after the fold, as I’m going to share a few insights from “Pops”, as Von Miller’s dad calls him, and the McManus family. Awesome people BTW.

Continue reading Tailgating Behind Enemy Lines

Next Stop: Settle Town

This past weekend sure was a doozy in Broncos Country. If you only watched ESPN, only read the Denver Post and yes my fellow Thin-Air members, even if you were smart enough to visit this site, you’d still have been convinced that the wheels have fallen off of the Denver Broncos wagon. The 2017 cut down weekend included nearly as much fan and media led hysteria as the “Play Tim Tebow” era.

After the fold, I’m going to eloquently tell you why we all need to Settle Down. You may not WANT to hear this, but just like an unwanted “we have to talk” conversation with your significant other, you NEED to hear it.

Here are some of the drama highlights from this weekend:

Continue reading Next Stop: Settle Town

Tagging A Player Three Straight Years Is Always Bad For Teams

We know that the franchise tag isn’t exactly loved by NFL players. An NFL team can tag a player for three straight seasons and prevent the player from testing the market in the prime of his career.

But as we are learning from the two teams who have tagged players for the second straight year, tagging a player all the time can come back to haunt you from a team management perspective.

Tagging a player sounds like a good idea in theory. You get to keep the player for three years without a long-term commitment, then you can let him test the market when he’s 28 to 30 years old, at which point his value might be declining and you get him at a lower cost.

But is it really worth doing so when it costs you a large sum over a three-year period?
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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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