PFF Continues Its Chris Harris Campaign

Chris Harris: Underrated and Elite

If you looked at cornerback play in the abstract, Chris Harris is playing the best of anybody in the NFL right now. He was the league’s best cover guy in 2014, and did it coming off an ACL injury suffered in the playoffs the year before. That’s staggering. He’s among the league’s more versatile corners, and has no real holes in his game.


We are looking at one of the league’s best cornerbacks – get used to it.

I don’t get worked up over the lack of accolades that Harris gets–I know that the Broncos got a special player regardless.  But it’s still nice to see articles like this, and I’d recommend reading the entire article if you want some more confirmation on Harris’s greatness.

Robert Mays: Time To Do Away With Franchise Tag

Grantland’s Robert Mays has an interesting article about why it’s time to end the franchise tag in the NFL.

As he points out, it was none other than Pat Bowlen who created the idea, done to ensure a team’s top player couldn’t sign with another team that easily (in the Broncos’ case, John Elway). But while it made sense to use the tag on the likes of Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant and Justin Houston, it hasn’t always benefited players.
Continue reading Robert Mays: Time To Do Away With Franchise Tag

A Sneak Preview Of Texture – Denver Broncos Edition

The Broncos under John Elway have been quite the fun ride so far—beginning with the drafting of Von Miller and adding its latest chapter with the extension of Demaryius Thomas. But how did all of these chapters get put together? What did Elway and the Denver front office have to keep in mind to build the Broncos into their present state?

This is the question I’m hoping to explore further in a new concept I’m bringing to Over The Cap—the idea of texture when it comes to roster decisions, contract signings, and salary cap management. Some of the aspects in this texture may include:

  • How many high-profile veteran signings can a team make before it runs against the cap? Who do you have to let test the free agency market?
  • How much should a team rely on young players and the draft, in contrast to shopping in the veteran bargain bin?
  • How much should you budget for injured players, dead money, and other unforeseen liabilities?

I’ll be looking at that for all 32 teams in due time at OTC, but since I’m more familiar with the Broncos’ roster, I’ll take this project off here for an inaugural flight. Continue reading A Sneak Preview Of Texture – Denver Broncos Edition

Midweek Musings: Reacting to the Demaryius Thomas Deal

So, something happened earlier today, right?

I’m sure every Broncos fan is thrilled that the Broncos and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas agreed to terms on a new contract. Many of us have talked about this previously, that it was likely the Broncos would have to pay him well, but they wouldn’t have to approach Calvin Johnson’s contract to do it. Based on the contract numbers Mike Klis has reported, it’s safe to say the Broncos and Todd France, Thomas’ agent, compromised on a few things.
Continue reading Midweek Musings: Reacting to the Demaryius Thomas Deal

Demaryius Thomas Contract Details

Mike Klis has shared the details about the new contract Demaryius Thomas signed.

The breakdown from Klis’ report:

2015: $22 million. He will receive an $11 million signing bonus, $6.5 million in roster bonus and a $4.5 million salary. All $22 million is fully guaranteed.

2016: $13 million salary, fully guaranteed.

2017: $8.5 million salary, guaranteed against injury. The full salary becomes fully guaranteed early in the league year.

2018: $12.5 million. It includes a $4 million option, plus an $8.5 million salary. None of this money is guaranteed.

2019: $14 million salary, not guaranteed.

I will have more thoughts in my Musings later tonight.

ADDENDUM (Nick): If Klis’s figures are accurate, this is how the contract would look in salary cap terms. Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun also provided more details on July 17.

Base Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Bonus Cap
Dead Money* (pre-June 1 cut) Cap Savings* (pre-June 1 cut)
2015 $4,500,000 $2,200,000 $6,500,000 $13,200,000 $35,000,000 ($21,800,000)
2016 $13,000,000 $2,200,000 $15,200,000 $21,800,000 ($6,600,000)
2017 $8,500,000* $3,533,333 $12,033,333 $15,100,000 ($4,400,000)
2018^ $8,500,000 $3,533,333 $12,033,333 $7,066,667 $4,966,667
2019^ $14,000,000 $3,533,333 $17,533,333 $3,533,333 $14,000,000

*2017’s base salary is included in dead money only for that year, as the Broncos would presumably cut Thomas before February 17 if they did so in 2016.
^The Broncos must exercise an option in 2017 to continue these years, and doing so should mandate that a $4 million option bonus be paid to Thomas, prorated from 2017-2019.  Declining the option should make Thomas a UFA in 2018 that qualifies for the compensatory pick formula.

(more from Nick beyond the fold)

Continue reading Demaryius Thomas Contract Details

And There It Is – Broncos and Demaryius Thomas Agree To Extension

Adam Schefter, everyone.

Certainly there will be more to come. Good news that the Broncos and DT got a deal done.

ETA: I will update what I can, but Schefter is the only one thus far saying an agreement has been reached. Troy Renck has reported this:

Of course, Schefter is likely talking to Thomas’ agent, and Renck may be talking to Broncos officials. But all signs indicate Thomas will be staying with the Broncos.

More updates behind the link.
Continue reading And There It Is – Broncos and Demaryius Thomas Agree To Extension

The Dez Bryant Domino Falls

Ian Rapoport has the news:

As of this writing, Demaryius Thomas and the Broncos have about an hour to agree to a deal.

Regardless, the bar is set for Thomas. $14M per year is one thing, but $16M or more per year like Calvin Johnson got isn’t going to happen.

ETA: Rapoport has additional news. Full vs. injury guarantee remains to be seen.

And You Thought Britton Colquitt Was Overpaid

The Patriots have reached a long-term agreement with kicker Stephen Gostowski. For those who thought the Pats were all about getting deals at great value, look at the numbers Adam Schefter has reported.

That’s $4.3M per year. For a kicker!

Somewhere, Douglas Lee weeps.

On a more serious note, I’m shocked the Pats did this. True, the details of the contract are what matters. But knowing it’s possible to find kickers at more reasonable prices, and knowing that the Pats don’t like overpaying for players, it’s surprising the Pats would make this move.

Justin Houston, Chiefs Agree to Deal

No, this news doesn’t have anything to do with Demaryius Thomas (who has not come to terms on a new contract as of this post), but Houston’s deal could definitely have implications for any new contract that Von Miller is seeking.

Of course, the contract details are what matter (full guarantees, injury guarantees, etc.), but if Houston is worth $101M over six years, what do you think Miller and his agent will likely want?

ETA: Had to include Lindsay Jones’ tweet just because she’s right.

Summer School Scheme Session

Greetings, Broncos fans. The following 2012 Football Outsiders piece by Andy Benoit provides excellent insight and visual analysis as to some of what we can expect from Denver’s 2015 defensive and offensive schemes and units. Film Room: Texans-Broncos.

As has been discussed all offseason, Denver’s offense will be a melded version of what Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison have implemented previously in Denver, Houston and Baltimore, coupled with what the Broncos have done offensively during the Peyton Manning Era.

Benoit wrote this piece to preview a 2012 matchup between the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans. Ironically, Benoit began this preview as follows:

Longtime Broncos fans may feel hints of déjà vu when they watch their team square off against the Texans this Sunday. Gary Kubiak has molded Houston’s offense into his modern version of the zone-oriented scheme that he helped oversee as Denver’s quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator from 1995 to 2005. Wade Phillips has molded Houston’s defense into a more modern version of the one-gap hybrid scheme that he orchestrated as Denver’s defensive coordinator/head coach from 1989 to 1994.

Additionally, Andrew Mason pointed out that Kubiak has placed added emphasis on special teams play, as Denver’s unit left much to be desired in 2014. Training Camp Preview: Special teams.

The more things change, the more things stay the same. What intrigues you most about the Broncos’ forthcoming defensive, offensive, and special teams schemes and units?