Elvis Dumervil Is Now A Free Agent Because The Denver Broncos Couldn’t File The Paperwork On His New Contract In Time

  • Dylan Murphy

If you go to ESPN.com right now, you’ll see this story: Broncos’ defensive end Elvis Dumervil has restructured his contract to remain with the team. After 4:00 p.m. eastern today, Dumervil’s base salary of $12 million was to become fully guaranteed; in order to save cap room and align his contracts with other defensive ends around the league, the Broncos asked Dumervil to take a pay cut to around $7.5 million. Before today, John Elway had previously called the contract “out of whack,” and Dumervil was refusing to take a paycut. To say the least, things were in flux.

But earlier this afternoon, Dumervil finally ceded ground and accepted a reduced contract at a base of $8 million. Though it was last minute, there was still time to file the paperwork and squeeze in the restructured deal before the 4:00 p.m. (2:00 p.m. local time) deadline and avoid having to cut him outright. Because remember: the Broncos under no circumstances were going to pay the full $12 million, which was guaranteed as of 50 minutes ago. So if 4:00 p.m. passed and no deal was filed to the league, Dumervil would be released.

Well, it turns out that Dumervil cut it a little too close, because the Broncos weren’t able to get their act together in time – they faxed in the paperwork at 2:06 p.m. local time, six minutes too late, and now Dumervil is a free agent. Here’s how it went down, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post:

The Broncos could still re-sign Dumervil, but according to Klis, there are various salary cap complications that make this more difficult than it needed to be – namely that the Broncos might now have $4.869 million in dead cap space due to the release. As for who’s to blame, it has to be Dumervil: while we can make jokes about John Elway having lost a step or what not, it was Dumervil who gave the team exactly 35 minutes to get its paperwork in order. Either way, this is wonderful.

UPDATE: Dumervil’s agent blamed the mess on the Broncos abruptly changing the terms of the deal late in the process:

Magid claims the team changed the terms of the contract the sides had been negotiating all week and didn’t send him a correct copy of the final deal until after 3:30 p.m. EDT – less than a half hour before the deadline to submit the new contract to the league office in New York before his full salary of $12 million for 2013 became guaranteed.

Magid claims the Broncos initially had told him that, in exchange for chopping $4 million off of Dumervil’s 2013 base salary, the team would add $500,000 to his 2014 base salary of $10 million while also fully guaranteeing $3.5 million of that figure.

Magid said instead, when the new deal was presented shortly after 1 p.m. EDT Friday, the language had been changed to only guarantee the $3.5 million for injury. The Broncos said they made the change because Dumervil had taken all week to accept their offer, according to Magid.

This is damned bizarre.