It's official: Elvis Dumervil, a vaunted sack-master and feared presence on the Broncos defensive line for seven years, is now officially a member of the Baltimore Ravens.
How did this disastrous turn of events take place? For reasons that are at least as stupid as the ones that ended with quarterback Jay Cutler being traded to Chicago in 2009 -- and maybe even worse.
Follow the Twitter trail to the latest disaster below.
What led to Dumervil's departure? Well, the Broncos asked the defensive lineman to take a big pay cut, from around $12 million per annum to approximately $8 million. And shockingly enough, Dumervil agreed, albeit at nearly the last minute.
Reports vary about what happened, and so do claims from various principals. From what we understand, Dumervil's agent, Marty Magid, verbally committed to the deal 35 minutes or so before the trade deadline, but the signed contracts weren't faxed back in time -- so, with one minute to go before the Broncos would have been stuck paying the original $12 million, the team cut Dumervil, making him a free agent.
Linebacker Von Miller certainly didn't want to see his partner in quarterback abuse go, as he made clear in this tweet....
#KEEPELVIS92 "Batman Returns"!!! Swoosh, boom, bang, wow, SACK!!!
— Von Miller (@MillerLite40) March 22, 2013
...but while Denver is said to have tried to lure Elvis back into the building, the complications of the NFL salary structure made doing so difficult. In the end, Dumervil (who now has new representation, having given Magid the heave-ho) shopped his services to other squads, signing with the Ravens yesterday. Here's how ESPN's Adam Schefter describes the arithmetic:
Elvis Dumervil got $1 mil base salary this season, plus $7.5 million signing bonus. He makes $8.5 mil this year, with cap number at $2.5 m.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 24, 2013
The arrangement was made so quickly that Dumervil hasn't gotten around to changing his Twitter icon and status. At this writing, it still looks like this:
However, the Big E has already bid farewell to Broncos fans via tweet. The extended text reads: "Can't say enough about the Broncos fans, my great teammates, equipment staff, training staff, media staff, Mr. Bowlen, Coach Fox, John Elway and the city of Denver. Its been an unforgettable 7 years. I am looking fwd to this next chapter of my career."
As for Elway, he's put out an it's-not-our-fault statement. It reads:
"As we have from the start of this process, we worked diligently over the last week to find a way for Elvis Dumervil to remain a Denver Bronco. Although we made multiple contract offers to Elvis after being forced to release him, we were unable to reach an agreement and are now moving forward without him.
"Elvis was a team captain and a talented player who made a great impact during his seven seasons in Denver. I appreciate all of his effort on the field and the work he did in the community.
"I wish Elvis all the best as he continues his NFL career."
Who's to blame? Magid seems like the easiest fall guy; his fax is said to have arrived either six or seven minutes late. But it also appears that the Broncos didn't do enough to soothe Dumervil's bruised ego after everything went to hell -- which recalls the Cutler situation in 2009.
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As you'll recall, Cutler freaked out after hearing that new coach Josh McDaniels had floated him as trade bait in a deal for Patriots backup Matt Cassel (who wound up going to the Kansas City Chiefs and sucking really hard). The relationship between Cutler and McDaniels soon went down for the count, with the latter eventually trading the former to the Chicago Bears for QB Kyle Orton, who won't be heading to the Hall of Fame anytime soon.
Afterward, at least one expert predicted that the trade would set Denver back five years. Fortunately, things turned around more quickly than that: After imploding for a season-plus, the Broncos enjoyed the bizarre dream that was the Tim Tebow era before signing Peyton Manning and instantly becoming a contender. And the Wes Welker acquisition had local fans dreaming of a Super Bowl championship.
Will the Dumervil debacle derail this prospect? No -- but it certainly won't make it any easier to attain. And that's especially frustrating in light of the fact that this mess didn't have to happen.