Broncos Rumors

NFL Contract Details: Lions, Seahawks, Vikings, Jets, Broncos

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed NFL deals:

  • Tony McRae, CB (Lions): One year, $1MM. $200K guaranteed. $100K signing bonus (Twitter link via Justin Rogers of the Detroit News).
  • Phillip Dorsett, WR (Seahawks): One year, $1.048MM. $138K guaranteed. Qualifies as veteran minimum salary benefit deal (Twitter link via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com).
  • Ameer Abdullah, RB (Vikings): One year, $910K. $45K signing bonus. $45K roster bonus. Qualifiers as veteran minimum salary benefit deal (Twitter link via Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune).
  • Anthony Zettel, DE (Vikings): One year, $910K. $45K signing bonus. $45K roster bonus. Qualifiers as veteran minimum salary benefit deal (Twitter link via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press).
  • Joseph Jones, LB (Broncos): One year, $825K. No guaranteed money (Twitter link via Mike Klis of 9News).
  • Bennett Jackson, DB (Jets): One year, $725K. $100K guaranteed. $50K signing bonus (Twitter link via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com).

Contract Details: Zuerlein, Bills, Cardinals

Here are the latest details from the second wave of free agency. All links courtesy of the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, unless otherwise noted.

Details On Jeremiah Attaochu's Deal

In signing Chris Harris, the Chargers now employ three first-team All-Pros (Harris, Derwin James, Desmond King) and a second-team All-Pro (Casey Hayward) in their secondary. Harris resided as the NFL’s slot kingpin for many years, but the injury-depleted Broncos used him almost exclusively on the outside last season. The four-time Pro Bowler confirmed Tuesday the Chargers informed him he will be their primary slot defender, per Daniel Popper of The Athletic (on Twitter). For most of his Broncos career, Harris played outside in base sets and inside in sub-packages.

  • The Broncos are guaranteeing Jeremiah Attaochu $500K, per the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson (on Twitter). That includes $250K of his $1MM base salary. Attaochu will be expected to be a backup to Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.

Latest On Broncos’ RB Plans

Before the Broncos decided on a Melvin GordonPhillip Lindsay backfield, they had another veteran standout on their radar. Denver was interested in trading for David Johnson, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic reports (subscription required).

The Broncos expressed interest in the former Cardinals All-Pro at the Combine but did not wish to meet Arizona’s asking price, Jhabvala adds. Johnson is now a member of the Texans, set to collect his full $10.2MM base salary despite Duke Johnson also on tap to earn $3.6MM in 2020. While the latter’s salary is non-guaranteed, Houston’s backfield has become quite expensive. After two years of using rookie-contract running backs, Denver’s has as well.

John Elway and Vic Fangio came to an agreement on needing a better 1-2 punch in the team’s backfield compared to what it possessed in its Lindsay-Royce Freeman setup of the past two years, Fangio said. New OC hire Pat Shurmur sought a “bellcow” back, per Jhabvala. Given that David Johnson was on the radar, the Broncos were undeterred by a large salary in their backfield.

This has created a situation in which Gordon is on track to displace Lindsay as the Broncos’ top running back. Gordon is also attached to a two-year, $16MM contract. Lindsay will make $750K in 2020. Despite becoming the first UDFA to start his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, Lindsay denied he will seek a trade or prioritize a new deal. Elway confirmed Tuesday a new Lindsay agreement is not out of the question, but the 10th-year GM appeared to be more optimistic on this front at the conclusion of the 2019 season.

I’ve talked to Phillip’s agent and we’ll see what happens and what we can do later on,” Elway said. “That’s not a guarantee either way, but we’ll see what we can do later on.”

Lindsay’s agent, Mike McCartney, said (via Jhabvala) he hopes the Broncos will “do right by” his client after he “exceeded expectations.” No Lindsay extension discussions have occurred, however, Jhabvala adds. Lindsay cannot become an unrestricted free agent until 2022; he will be an RFA next March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Broncos, Phillip Lindsay

With the Broncos having made Melvin Gordon the NFL’s sixth-highest-paid running back, Phillip Lindsay looks set to make the unusual transition from back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher to complementary back.

John Elway discussed the prospect of a Lindsay extension at the end of last season but said before the Gordon signing that such a deal was a back-burner issue. Now that Gordon is making $8MM per year through 2021, Lindsay stands in a strange position. But the Broncos have not ruled out a Lindsay re-up, Troy Renck of Denver7 notes (on Twitter). The Broncos hold more than $29MM in cap space.

Lindsay is set to make just $750K in 2020, the third year of his UDFA contract. He will be eligible for restricted free agency in 2021. With only one team (the Texans) presently paying more than one running back at a rate north of $3.5MM per year, this situation will be one to monitor. While the soon-to-be 27-year-old Gordon has proven to be the superior receiver, the ex-Chargers first-rounder is 1-for-5 in 1,000-yard rushing seasons.

I feel like I’ve outplayed my contract, and I deserve to take care of my family, too,’’ Lindsay told 9News’ Mike Klis. “But I’m under contract still. For me, my mindset is to play out my contract. The fact is, nothing has to be done. You can’t make anybody do something they don’t want to do. And so for me, I put pen to paper; I’ll be here. 

I love the game of football, and I love being out here. I never look at money. Money is going to come when it comes. But I was a top-five running back (in 2018) and top 15 this year so I feel like I am outplaying my contract, but at the end of the day, I’ll continue to play with the contract they gave me.”

Lindsay, 25, is the first UDFA in NFL history to start his career with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Although the 2018 draft class is not yet eligible for extensions, Lindsay is because of his undrafted status. Considering the narrow windows running backs have to cash in, it will be important for the Colorado alum to do so in the near future. He will enter the 2020 season as the Broncos’ third-highest-paid running back — behind Gordon and Royce Freeman.

John Elway spoke to Lindsay’s agent after the Gordon signing, Klis adds, noting the GM indicated his desire for the Broncos to carry two quality running backs. Freeman has underwhelmed since coming to Denver as a third-round pick. Lindsay also confirmed he has no desire to be traded.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Shelby Harris On Taking One-Year Deal

It was a disappointing offseason for defensive lineman Shelby Harris, who ended up re-signing with the Broncos on a one-year deal worth $3.25MM. Harris is coming off a career-year where he started all 16 games and had a career-high six sacks and nine passes defended, so he was expecting a big payday in free agency. His market wasn’t what he anticipated, so he ended up back in Denver on a prove-it deal. Harris himself even used that language when explaining his thought process in a recent interview with Mike Klis of Denver 9 News (Twitter link).

Well, after the numbers weren’t what we wanted, I felt like let’s do another 1-yr/ prove it to prove I can do it again and be able to hit the market again next year or re-up with the Broncos. Just another chance to go prove myself,” Harris explained. The 28-year-old had previously expressed that due to his age, he felt like this was his one shot at a big contract. Harris came out of nowhere, and has been a nice success story. A seventh-round pick of the Raiders out of Illinois State in 2014, he appeared in only eight games his first two years and spent 2016 out of the league. He suddenly emerged as a part-time starter with Denver in 2017, and has been a key player for them ever since.

  • After the Ravens’ deal for Michael Brockers fell through due to concerns over his ankle, they immediately started looking for defensive line help elsewhere. They ended up signing former Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe, and they were apparently interested in Ndamukong Suh before he re-signed with the Bucs. Now we’ve got word of one more defensive lineman they discussed, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets they were also talking with Mike Daniels. This is the first we’ve heard of interest in Daniels this offseason, and it’s not that surprising that the 2017 Pro Bowler’s market has been quiet given that his past two campaigns have been cut short due to injury. After getting released by the Packers last summer the Iowa product signed a one-year, $9.1MM deal with the Lions, but he ended up appearing in only nine games with two starts before landing on injured reserve. Now on the wrong side of 30, he probably won’t get too much guaranteed money wherever he ends up.

Agent Notes: Suh, Thomas, Harris

Here are some updates on a number of players’ representation, all reported by Liz Mullen.

  • Ndamukong Suh chose not to sign with an agent prior to his most recent free-agency and instead represented himself when he agreed to a one-year, $8MM deal to stay with the Buccaneers (Twitter link).
  • Draft prospect Jeff Thomas, a wide receiver out of Miami, has decided to change his representation as we approach the home stretch to the draft. Instead of going forward with First Round Management LLC, he will be represented by Drew Rosenhaus and Robert Bailey at Rosenhaus Sports (Twitter link).
  • Broncos defensive lineman Shelby Harris re-signed with the team on a one-year deal worth up to $3.25MM. However, that did not come before a recent game of musical chairs representing Harris. Ryan Williams of A1 NFL negotiated his re-up in Denver, but he had switched from the National Sports Agency to Rosenhaus Sports in January (Twitter link).

Latest On Broncos’ Melvin Gordon Signing

Having seen Phillip Lindsay become the first undrafted player in NFL history to start his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons, the Broncos have created interesting optics by signing Melvin Gordon. In an offseason that began with rumors of a possible Lindsay extension, the Broncos gave Gordon an $8MM-per-year deal that ranks sixth among running backs.

I know there’s people going, ‘Why do you need another horse?’ Well, when you have an opportunity for Melvin Gordon to come in here, we felt like it was an addition to the team,” Broncos GM John Elway said. “He’s a guy that obviously has had a lot of success in this league. He’s scored a lot of touchdowns and has caught the football a ton. So we feel like with him — with Melvin, as well as Phillip — that we’ve got a great one-two punch, and we’ll only get better in the backfield.

Ultimately, we have to score more points this year. We’ve struggled on the offensive side the last two, three years, and so we’ve got to get better on that side. I think Melvin will be one of those key pieces to help us get better.”

Lindsay, whose two 1,000-yard seasons are more than Gordon’s one, reached out to his new teammate but may now have an uncertain future in Denver. No team currently has multiple backs earning more than $3.5MM AAV. Lindsay is set to make just $750K in 2020 — less than Royce Freeman, whom Gordon is essentially replacing in Denver.

This arrangement would seemingly be untenable for Lindsay, but the Broncos are not prioritizing a re-up for their hometown success story at this time. Lindsay, 25, is set for restricted free agency in 2021.

Gordon’s abilities as a receiver helped influence the Broncos’ decision, with Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic noting that new OC Pat Shurmur sought a more complete back (subscription required). Lindsay caught 53 passes as a junior at Colorado but has yet to top 35 catches or 250 receiving yards as a pro. Gordon peaked at 19 grabs in a season at run-heavy Wisconsin but has caught more than 40 passes in each of his past four seasons. Gordon surpassed 400 receiving yards each season from 2016-18.

Last year, Gordon turned down a Chargers extension worth around $10MM per year. He held out into late September before reporting, and Austin Ekeler ended up outplaying him and landing a Bolts extension. Gordon said if given the choice again he would not hold out.

I probably would come back just because — more so because of my legacy and what I’m trying to do as a player, my mark that I’m trying to leave,” the former first-round pick said, via Jhabvala. “Obviously, those are games that I can’t get back. Starting out slow and being able to catch stride towards the end of the season, but then it’s too late.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens, DE Derek Wolfe Agree To Deal

Hours after the Broncos agreed to re-sign Shelby Harris, their longest-tenured defensive lineman will head elsewhere. Derek Wolfe agreed to terms with the Ravens on a one-year deal worth up to $6MM, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

The deal will guarantee Wolfe $3MM, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. Wolfe said, via Renck, the Broncos did not make an offer to bring him back.

The Ravens were thought to have finalized an agreement with Michael Brockers, but after it turned out the sides could not close that deal, Baltimore will pivot to another veteran interior rusher.

Wolfe, 29, said for months his preference was to return to Denver, where he played eight seasons. But the Broncos traded for Pro Bowler Jurrell Casey and opted to re-sign Harris after his market underwhelmed. The Ravens have swooped in and will add Wolfe to a defensive line that includes Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams.

While Wolfe was productive in Vic Fangio‘s scheme — registering career-high seven sacks in just 12 games — and was a starter for the Broncos’ dominant Super Bowl-winning defense in 2015, he has dealt with injuries throughout his career. The former second-round pick was not able to play in Super Bowl XLVIII due to a scary neck injury sustained earlier in 2013 and encountered more neck trouble in 2017. His 2019 season ended early because of an elbow injury.

The Ravens expressed interest in Ndamukong Suh, but he returned to the Buccaneers. Instead, Baltimore will add Wolfe on a team-friendlier contract. Wolfe signed a four-year, $36.75MM Broncos extension in early 2016 and played out that contract. With the Broncos, he totaled 33 sacks. Working with talented edge rushers throughout his career, the interior rusher registered at least five sacks in four seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Re-Sign DL Shelby Harris

Shelby Harris is returning to Denver. Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that the Broncos have re-signed the veteran defensive lineman.

Per Jhabvala, it’s a one-year deal worth a max value of $3.25MM, including $2.5MM in guarantees. Mike Klis of 9News in Denver tweets that Harris has $750K in per-game roster bonuses (a bit less than $47K per game).

After bouncing around the NFL for a bit, the former seventh-round pick has found a home in Denver. He’s appeared in every regular season game for the Broncos since 2017, and that includes a 2019 campaign where he started a career-high 16 games. In fact, the 28-year-old set career-highs across the board, including 49 tackles, six sacks, nine passes defended, and one forced fumble.

Despite the career season, Shelby found himself dealing with an underwhelming market, and Klis tweets that the veteran actually switched agents for the second time recently. A return to Denver seemed somewhat inevitable, especially after Shelby expressed interest in sticking with the organization.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.