Tuesday, July 7, 2015, 6:51pm
The Broncos placed their $12.82 million franchise tag on Demaryius Thomas in March and have until 2 p.m. on July 15 to secure a long-term deal. If not, Thomas can sign the one-year contract and play on the guaranteed tag this season. Elway sits two-for-two in these situations, having worked out deals with kicker Matt Prater and left tackle Ryan Clady. Going three-for-three represents a challenge even for a former top Major League Baseball prospect like Elway. The sides began discussing an extension a year ago but have been unable to bridge the gap. Thomas ranks among the game's elite. The Broncos have said they want to sign him long term. However, they would like it at a fair cost that represents a compromise by both sides.
The author says: the Broncos are attempting, it appears, to find a balance between respect and restraint. They know Thomas is a playmaker. The also know Thomas is better than Mike Wallace, the game's second-highest paid receiver with $30 million guaranteed on his contract. They also realize that the entire industry views the contract of top-paid wideout Calvin Johnson, whom Thomas has said he believes he's better than, as an outlier. It has tangled the web with Dez Bryant's talks with the Cowboys; he's in the same franchise-tag situation as Thomas. Thomas is third on our WR list but his ADP shows he's been the fourth WR off the board at the position. We project him for 106 catches and over 1,500 yards.
The Broncos were in the market for a new kicker after McManus clanked a 33-yard field goal off the right upright in Denver's 39-36 win over Miami on Sunday. That came on the heels of a game in St. Louis where they passed up field goal attempts of 54 and 55 yards indoors.
McManus' longest field goal was from 44 yards, and he didn't really get the chance for a pressure kick for the AFC West-leading Broncos.
While solid on kickoffs, McManus was 9 for 13 on field goal attempts. His 69.2 percent conversion rate was dead last among NFL kickers, ranking ahead of only Nate Freese and Alex Henery, both of whom were released by Detroit earlier this season.
Barth, who spent four of his five seasons in Tampa Bay, has plenty of experience in crunch time, although not for a team with quite the Super Bowl aspirations of the Broncos, the story said. Barth has made 84 percent of his career field goal tries. He was the most accurate kicker in Buccaneers history but missed all of last season after tearing the Achilles tendon in his right foot during a charity basketball game. He returned this year but was beaten out by rookie Patrick Murray. The Broncos, of course, kept McManus over Matt Prater who was suspended the first four games of the season and is now with Detroit. Barth has a ton of fantasy potential for those looking to upgrade.
In eight seasons, the last seven with the Denver Broncos, Prater made 81.6 percent of his field goals. He went 25-26 last season, including an NFL record 64-yarder. For his career, he's 21 for 27 from 50 yards and beyond.
He was released by the Broncos last week, days before his four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy was set to end.
Prater replaces Nate Freese and Alex Henery, who combined to go a league-worst 4-of-12 during the first five weeks of the season. Only one other team has more than two misses. Prater should be a very solid, weekly play as your fantasy kicker, especially with the Lions banged up on offense and possibly missing WR Calvin Johnson and RBs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell.
Henery was just 1-of-4 in his two games with the Lions, including an 0-of-3 performance Sunday in a 17-14 loss against the Buffalo Bills. That includes missing a would-be game-winner from 50 yards in the final seconds.
Caldwell said the process has already begun to find Henery's replacement. He'll value experience in the process, but won't rule out any options.
The Lions are expected to hold tryouts this week in Allen Park.
Friday, October 3, 2014, 6:19pm
Broncos K Brandon McManus (right groin, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 5. McManus got great news today when the Broncos decided to cut Matt Prater.
Matt Prater, who is serving the final days of his four-game suspension for violating the league's alcohol program, was notified around 11 a.m. Friday that he would be released.
"I'm a little surprised," Prater said from Florida. "The Broncos look like they're going to do some great things this year. It's too bad I won't be a part of it. I'm just going to concentrate on keeping myself in shape and hopefully I'll be kicking for someone this year."
McManus has only kicked three field goals through three games, but he should be a quality start on an every week basis given the strength of the Denver offense.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 6:08pm
Last month, Denver coach John Fox suggested K Matt Prater hadn't worn out his welcome in Denver, saying, "He's part of our family."
Then, a contrite Prater apologized and pledged to stay out of clubs to avoid the temptation to drink again, which could result in a yearlong ban. His suspension is costing Prater $750,000 of his $3 million base salary. There's the rub.
The Broncos are paying big bucks for their specialists — Prater will count $3.812 million against this year's cap and punter/holder Britton Colquitt another $3.25 million.
Current K Brandon McManus signed a deal that would pay him $420,000 this year and $510,000 in 2015, when Prater's base salary jumps to $3.25 million.
McManus wants to stay here with them. He sees Denver not as a stopover but as his destination.
So far he's turning this into a decision for the Broncos, but the life of a kicker can change with one missed kick. Prater has two more games to serve and the Broncos take on Seattle and Arizona, both teams with good defense that could keep those contest close - meaning McManus could have a chance to play a big role.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 5:55pm
“It’s been an honor to play for the Arizona Cardinals,” Feely wrote on Twitter. “Michael Bidwill, thank you for your leadership and friendship. AZ will still be home!”
Chandler Catanzaro, a rookie out of Clemson, has been competing with Feely through training camp and the preseason. Catanzaro has made all of his field goals in the preseason, while Feely missed a field goal in Sunday’s preseason game.
The violation was alcohol-related. Prater has been in the league's alcohol program since soon after he was charged with driving under the influence Aug. 12, 2011.
The four-game suspension, which is expected to be announced Monday, was part of an agreement reached between Prater's attorney, Harvey Steinberg, and the league, so an appeal is not expected. The NFL had initially threatened a one-year suspension.
Prater should return to be one of the best fantasy kickers in the league, but he won't be available for the first month of the seasons. Owners who have already drafted him should clear a roster spot for another kicker. He's still draftable, but owners would need to draft another kicker to fill in while Prater serves his suspension. If he's still lingering on the waiver wire in Week 2 or Week 3, he will be worth a pickup.
Friday, January 31, 2014, 6:32pm
Friday, October 11, 2013, 7:17pm
Thursday, October 10, 2013, 6:41pm
Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 6:55pm
Friday, October 4, 2013, 6:03pm
Broncos K Matt Prater (right calf, probable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is probable for Week 5. Keep him in your lineups and consider the crisis averted.
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