SBD/March 13, 2014/Franchises

Broncos' Big Spending Shows "Now" Mentality; Pats Make Rare Free Agent Splash

After Talib signed with the Broncos, the Patriots filled the void with Darrelle Revis
The Broncos have "made the biggest splash in the first two days of the NFL free agency" by spending more than $110M to sign DE DeMarcus Ware, CB Aqib Talib and S T.J. Hall, according to the Denver Post's Woody Paige. The Broncos "are saying, 'We are all in.'" L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke called the signings "very, very smart" and noted QB Peyton Manning "isn't getting any younger." Plaschke: "They may have one more shot at this, they're going for it. Good for them" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 3/12). In Denver, Mike Klis reports the three contracts include $60M in guaranteed money, but Broncos Exec VP/Football Operations & GM John Elway is "acting like he wants to play in the Super Bowl every year." Ware said of the Broncos, "Just their mentality is a 'now' mentality. A mentality of 'I'm not looking forward to the next season or season after that -- the time is now'" (DENVER POST, 3/13). FS1’s Ryan Nece said, “You have to be impressed, flat out, with the strategy that the Denver Broncos are taking in free agency right now” ("Fox Football Daily," FS1, 3/12). In Denver, Benjamin Hochman writes the Broncos "must win a Super Bowl during the Peyton Manning years" after the latest series of moves (DENVER POST, 3/13). San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami said of the Broncos, "You never win a Super Bowl in March, but they addressed things they should address. They're going all in. That's what fans want to see." CSNBayArea.com's Ray Ratto said, "They pushed all-in because they know their window with Peyton Manning is not going to be open much longer. But long-term, they may have mortgaged an awful lot of future for this one year" ("Yahoo Sorts Talk Live," CSN Bay Area, 3/12). NFL Network's Mike Silver said, "Loading up and screwing up your cap for later isn't always the right plan." However, Elway "smartly realizes, 'We're close. I've got Peyton now, let's just go after it'" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 3/12).

PAYING FOR THESE MOVES LATER? ESPN.com's Mike Sando wrote while the money the Broncos allocated for Talib and Ward "sent a clear message on its own," the team's "immediate interest in the recently released DeMarcus Ware left little doubt." Sando: "The question is whether the Broncos can have it both ways. Will their win-now mentality cause them to pay a steep price later?" (ESPN.com, 3/12). SI.com's Don Banks wrote, "I still can't dismiss the lingering sense that Denver's spending spree might not work out as planned. ... When has any team's free agency splurge -- at least on the Super Bowl-or-bust level -- truly gone as planned?" (SI.com, 3/12). ESPN's Bomani Jones said the Broncos "brought in good players … but the team that wins the first day of the offseason is usually not the one that wins the Super Bowl." Jones: "The teams that have won Super Bowls have won by building through the draft" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 3/12). 

BEAN COUNTERS?
 In Boston, Ben Volin writes the Patriots "generally don't make big splashes in free agency," but the ability to sign CB Darrelle Revis "was too tempting to pass up." Revis and the Patriots reportedly agreed to a one-year deal worth $12M. Losing Talib to the Broncos makes Revis' signing a "relative bargain with very little risk." The Patriots "had to make a move to keep up with the Broncos." Talib's departure "left a huge void in the Patriots' defense, but there's little debate they upgraded with Revis" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/13). Also in Boston, Howe & Guregian write because Revis will only count $12M against the cap -- a "few bucks more than it would have cost to franchise Talib -- the Pats made the right move to keep the draft pick and avoid the burden of the remainder of Revis' contract" (BOSTON HERALD, 3/13). The GLOBE's Dan Shaughnessy writes the Patriots got a "better guy than the guy they lost," and they "didn't have to commit any money beyond this season." The Patriots "didn't have to bend on their everlasting principles." It was the "best of both worlds" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/13). In Boston, Karen Guregian writes the Patriots "had to pull out all the stops" to sign Revis. They had to "do whatever it took to land the big prize." It is not coach Bill Belichick's "way to shower any free agent with extra special attention." But in this case, he "couldn't leave anything to chance" (BOSTON HERALD, 3/13). NFL Network's Amber Theoharis asked, "When's the last time the Patriots went out and spent $12 million a year on a big-name free agent? It's just something they don't do usually. But it works for them right now" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 3/12). In Providence, Jim Donaldson writes under the header, "Revis Contract Is A Win For The Patriots" (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 3/13).

SEE YOU IN JANUARY? ESPN's Mike Greenberg said, “Look at this little arms race you’ve got going here. ... East and West, you’ve got Tom Brady’s team on one side and Peyton’s team on the other. They are loading up and they are overwhelming favorites now in the AFC.” ESPN’s Mark Schlereth said, “There’s a bitter rivalry brewing right now between the Broncos and the New England Patriots. I think they both look at themselves like, ‘We’re going to meet in the AFC Championship.’ It’s just a matter of who’s got the hot hand and who’s got the better talent. They are both loading up right now” (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN Radio, 3/13).
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