Saturday, March 1, 2008

John Lynch Makes It Back, A Couple Cuts

In news that comes as a relief, the Broncos and John Lynch have finally come to terms on a new contract. And the story as to how that happened is kind of amusing. Lynch had decided that he was, in fact, going to move on, had even drafted a letter thanking his fans and teammates, and then called Broncos owner Pat Bowlen to tell him about it. Fortunately, in one of those little coincidence/splinter of fate things that get traced back to turning points by weird people like me, Bowlen had gone out for a late dinner and didn't answer his phone, and when he got back and answered Lynch's call, Lynch himself had gone to sleep. When he woke up the next morning, the decision didn't feel right.

"I could probably go make more money elsewhere in the free agent market," Lynch said. "And I had really gone to bed excited about that.

"And then I woke up thinking, "What am I doing?" I've got four kids who are happy here. I've found a home here and I didn't want to be one of those guys going from team to team. I felt I had earned what I had coming to me but sometimes you have to step back and look at the big picture. And the big picture to me was: I had to find a way to make this work."

So he took a pay cut to play a fifth season in Denver and help stabilize an uncertain position. Nick Ferguson is an unrestricted free agent and is likely moving on, and Hamza Abdullah is a restricted free agent and will also garner some interest. Denver will still probably be drafting a young safety in April -- their secondary is thin, Lynch is 36 and suffered a neck injury last year similar to the one that almost ended his career, and the contract situations of their other safeties are unresolved. But in the age of athletic mercenaries, it's nice to see a guy waking up and realizing that there are more things that matter than simply getting the most money. Lynch has lost a step with age, and has never been blessed with blazing speed to keep up with the fastest receivers, but makes up for it by being one of the hardest hitters in the NFL and a guy who plays the game, both on the field and off it, the right way. He'll provide a voice of experience to all the kids and if things should go too dramatically south, it's still only for one year. I'm happy to have him back in orange and blue!

Also, the Broncos officially released Javon Walker, to no one's surprise, and after designating Stokley the number three receiver, need to look for a #2 to slot in between him and Brandon Marshall. It's doubtful they go for the WO with their first pick due all the help they need on defense, though; they also released linebacker Ian Gold. One boon is that they will have 17th-overall pick DE Jarvis Moss (hopefully) healthy this year, and when paired with Elvis Dumervil, can display a more effective frontline corner than we saw this year. They also brought DE John Engelberger back, and the contract situation with K Jason Elam is still unresolved. I say, sign the guy and have done with it. Elam can't make 50-yarders (not many except the Titans' Rob Bironas can) but he was responsible for four game-winning FGs last year and is relatively automatic from 40 yards.

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