Several sources reported on Friday that defensive end Elvis Dumervil agreed to a 2013 pay cut that would reduce his base salary from $12 million to $8 million. Reports indicated that Dumervil agreed to the pay cut a mere 30 minutes from the 4:00 p.m. ET deadline. At that point, the Broncos would have released Dumervil to avoid his salary strapped to their 2013 salary cap.
Here's the apparent problem, though -- according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, Dumervil's agent, Marty Magid, failed to fax the paperwork back to the Broncos in time. So, the Broncos had to release Dumervil to avoid taking a $13.6 million total hit. Whoops!
"These are the deals that wrench your gut," Broncos executive vice-president John Elway told the Denver Post on Thursday. "As an ex-player, I hate to see that. I hated to see that happen to a teammate. And I hate having to do it, in the position I'm in. But I've got to do what's best for this football team.
"It's not all about dollars. But when it's way out of whack? Then it's so out of whack that you've got to say: That [salary] can't be it. Especially when you look at the market and what's out there now. It's so far out of whack. Hopefully, he realizes that."
After the furor died down, Magid explained to Mike Garafolo of USA Today that one reason for the delay was that the Broncos had originally agreed to add $500,000 to his 2014 salary of $10 million, while fully guaranteeing $3.5 million of that number. But when the final deal was presented near the deadline, Denver was only doing the $3.5 million guarantee, and not the promised $500,000 addition. That reduction, according to Magid, was a hit from the Broncos because Dumervil had taken the entire week to accept the offer.
"That stopped all the negotiations. We had to restart," Magid told Garafolo. "I had to explain it to him what this meant for him. He took some time to think about it and, in the end, he said, 'I'll take it. I'll go back and play for it and show them what a great player I am.'"
Magid claims to have confirmation of Dumervil sending a fax five minutes before the deadline, and that the Broncos sent a second fax number when the first didn't work.
Perhaps the weirdest part of the story? Dumervil was left looking for a Kinko's in Miami to send the fax.
"Twenty-three minutes to read it, scan it, fax it, get Elvis to a machine and get it through," Magid said. "We tried."
As you'd expect, Elway had a different story. He released a statement through the Broncos on Friday afternoon:
“For the last week, Elvis Dumervil and his agent were aware of our desire to change the financial terms of his contract to ensure he would remain a Denver Bronco. After numerous conversations with both Elvis and his representative, we submitted our final contract proposal to Elvis today at 11 a.m. MDT. Based on our previous discussions, we believed our offer was fair and were hopeful it would resolve this matter.
“Due to the procedural elements that were involved in executing the new proposal, we imposed a 1 p.m. MDT deadline for a decision, one hour before the NFL’s waiver wire at 2 p.m. MDT. Our deadline was clearly communicated to Elvis’ representative.
“At 1 p.m. MDT, we were informed by Elvis’ representative that he declined our offer. We then prepared Elvis’ termination notice to officially file his release with the NFL office.
“At approximately 1:25 p.m. MDT, however, we were informed that Elvis changed his mind and accepted the same contract we proposed nearly two-and-a-half hours earlier. Although we expressed our concern regarding the time constraints, we were assured that the signed documents would be submitted to us before the league’s waiver deadline.
“We did not receive the documents from Elvis by the league’s deadline and were forced to release him shortly before 2 p.m. MDT.
“Due to this situation, there are now salary cap implications associated with this transaction that we must consider with regard to potentially re-signing Elvis. At this moment, we are discussing all of our free-agency options to determine what’s best for the Denver Broncos.”
That said, the Broncos wanted Dumervil back, and they made that very clear. One estimation is that they will re-sign him eventually -- if they can. See, there's another problem with this snafu, as ESPN's Adam Schefter pointed out. By releasing Dumervil, the Broncos find themselves with a rather large dead money hit for 2013 -- almost $5 million. So, unless Dumervil wants to take an even larger pay cut, he may be out of the box altogether.
Klis reported that Elway, head coach John Fox, and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio had all called the seven-year veteran to assure him that he has a bright future with a team that went 13-3 in the 2012 regular season, and made a lot of moves in the offseason to get over the bitter taste of their first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens.
Dumervil, selected in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL draft out of Louisville, amassed 11.0 sacks in 2012, and has 63.5 career sacks. He signed a six-year, $61.5 million contract extension in July, 2010, but suffered a torn pectoral muscle soon after that caused him to miss the entire 2012 season.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported on Tuesday that Dumervil agreed to take a pay cut, but that the proposal sent to the Broncos by Magid had not received a response.
In addition to Welker, the Broncos added former Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, ex-Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, ex-San Diego Chargers guard Louis Vasquez, and former Arizona Cardinals linebacker Stewart Bradley this week. They also put themselves on the hook for $20 million guaranteed in each of the next two league years when quarterback Peyton Manning passed his physical this week.
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