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Friday, March 15, 2013
Just the fax: Elvis Dumervil is free agent

By Bill Williamson

We have our first stumble of the offseason involving the Denver Broncos.

The culprit?

Apparently a slow-moving agent. Not good.

The Broncos and pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil agreed to a pay reduction to keep him in Denver 34 minutes before the Broncos faced paying him $12 million this year or cutting him. Dumervil accepted. All was good.

But his agent didn’t send in the signed contract until seven minutes after the deadline, so the Broncos were forced to make the cut.

Dumervil is now a free agent.

The Broncos would like to keep him at the agreed-upon $8 million deal, but there are now salary-cap ramifications and big dead money involved. It might not be simple. Another team can now come in and scoop up Dumervil, but the pass-rusher market has been slow. It’s a risk. If Dumervil doesn’t come back, the Broncos will have to get a new pass-rusher.

Whatever happens, it’s a mess and I’m sure the Broncos and Dumervil are none too pleased.

For what it is worth, this is what I was going to file about three seconds before FaxGate broke:
It’s difficult to categorize a $4 million pay cut as a "win" for a player, but in many ways the dramatic, last-minute contract settlement between the Denver Broncos and Dumervil was a win-win situation.

Denver was right in wanting Dumervil to take a pay cut, and Dumervil was wise in accepting it. Dumervil was set to make $12 million this season in a deal the previous regime made when Dumervil was still the team’s best sack artist. He is now the team's second-best pass-rusher behind superstar Von Miller.

After hesitating to take a cut, Dumervil, 29, decided to reduce his 2013 salary to $8 million a half-hour before he was going to be released. Yes, it’s a sharp pay cut. But it is on pace for the going rate for pass-rushers these days. Dumervil very likely would not have gotten more on the open market if he rejected the offer and was cut.

So, Dumervil gets to stay where he is comfortable and team with Miller to continue to form one of the NFL’s best pass-rushing combinations at a solid, fair pay rate.

Denver keeps continuity and a player it likes. There is little chance Denver would have gotten better by cutting Dumervil and signing someone such as Dwight Freeney. Dumervil is a better player at this point.

Plus, Denver saves some money and has some flexibility to add a piece here or there to an already-impressive haul this week. There’s no question Dumervil is part of that cache. Keeping him was smart. Keeping him at the right price was smart by everyone.