Elvis Dumervil had made up his mind.
He would slash $4 million from his salary in order to stay with the Denver Broncos, the team that drafted him in 2006, rather than take a chance on the free agent market and risk playing for less money or a for a team that wouldn't be a Super Bowl contender.
Dumervil informed both his agent, Marty Magid, and the Denver Broncos of his decision around 3:25 p.m. ET, 35 minutes before the 4 p.m. deadline. The negotiating was the hard part. All that was left was to file the paperwork. And that's where it all fell apart.
In a messy situation involving soft and hard deadlines, e-mails and faxes, and late changes to the deal, Dumervil's signed contract didn't spit out of a fax machine at Broncos' headquarters until six minutes after deadline, at 4:06 p.m. Seven minutes earlier, the Broncos had filed paperwork of their own, formally releasing Dumervil and voiding the rest of his contract that was to pay him $12 million guaranteed in 2013.
The latter transaction is the one that will count with league, not the verbal agreement Dumervil and the team reached a short time earlier, and the end result is that Dumervil is a free agent.