May 4, 2007
- Legwold: Red flags? Bowlen doesn't fret
- Legwold: Broncos may be movin' on up
- Legwold: Leader from start to finish
- Legwold: Two don't lose staying power
- Legwold: Rare finds revealing hidden talents
- Legwold: 'Da Commish' plays it tough
- Legwold: Youth is served by windfalls
- Legwold: Plummer may pay $7 million
- Legwold: O'Brien brings special talent
- Legwold: Hampton fab five thinking big
- Legwold: Pro choice: Boise State tops CU
- Legwold: Shop talk: It's buyer beware
- Legwold: Colts' success is quite telling
- Legwold: Shanahan's staff can't sit still
- Legwold: Crosby is going the distance
- Legwold: Juniors will make draft a class act
- Legwold: Brady still packs powerful playoff punch
- Legwold: Familiar names crash surprise party
- Legwold: For loose ends, think Owens
- Legwold: Hunt's death affects NFL on many levels
- Legwold: Poetic justice: Two home wins and Broncos are in
- Legwold: Better mending possible for ACL victims
- Once the Broncos' friend, time becomes an enemy
- Legwold: Stretch run at record adds a nice touch
- Legwold: Broncos are in the midst of severe identity crisis
April 27, 2007
April 20, 2007
April 13, 2007
April 6, 2007
March 30, 2007
March 23, 2007
March 16, 2007
March 9, 2007
March 2, 2007
February 23, 2007
February 16, 2007
February 9, 2007
February 2, 2007
January 26, 2007
January 19, 2007
January 12, 2007
January 5, 2007
December 29, 2006
December 22, 2006
December 19, 2006
December 15, 2006
December 12, 2006
December 8, 2006
December 5, 2006
I believe he's one of those folks equipped to deal with the decisions he makes, to live with them, good or bad. Up or down.
I believe he loves football, that he's also made a good living from it.
I believe he's retired.
And, most of all, I believe he just might be willing to pay $7 million to stay that way.
Plummer has, in his words, "run" away from the NFL, moved on, to go forth and do something else with the prime of his life. After a brief public appearance in Denver, he certainly looked ready for what is out there beyond the horizon of the end zone.
"I will miss the game," Plummer said. "The game has been very good, it has been challenging, it's been something I've loved to do for a long time. But, like I said, life is grand, life is exciting, and I'm excited to move on and, like I said, encounter and take on new challenges with my life."
However, the Broncos and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are hoping the lure of a $5.3 million salary for 2007 and the threat of a roughly $7 million payback will lure Plummer back to the league.
Good luck, fellas.
The Broncos traded Plummer's rights to the Buccaneers earlier this month for a conditional draft pick. And many in the league say the conditions of that pick are that should Plummer report to the Buccaneers or any other team (if Tampa Bay opts to trade his rights) before the first pick is made in the 2008 draft, the Broncos get a fourth-round pick in that draft.
Should Plummer fail to report to the Buccaneers, or any other team, by draft day 2008, the Broncos get a seventh-round pick. The Buccaneers want Plummer, the Broncos would much rather have a fourth-round pick for him - the same fourth-round pick they had secured before he announced his retirement - than a seventh-round pick.
Which leads everyone to the $7 million.
There are already published reports that the Buccaneers are ready to go after some of Plummer's money to try to get him into their complex.
Plummer has three years left on his current contract, which was traded to the Buccaneers with him. Plummer received some bonus money in that contract in 2005 and 2006 in a renegotiation - $6.76 million in 2005, $2 million in 2006.
Plummer received the money, but for salary-cap accounting, the bonuses were counted on a prorated basis over the life of the contract. It's the remaining part of the prorated bonuses that amounts to close to $7 million.
Teams, having paid out money, have had some success retrieving that money if players suddenly, unexpectedly leave the game. The Miami Dolphins won the right to retrieve $8 million from running back Ricky Williams.
And while the Broncos were the ones who paid out the money, it appears they have made that possibility part of the trade to help the Buccaneers try to get Plummer in. It was likely the reason the Buccaneers still made the trade despite Plummer's announced retirement.
The Broncos also would like the fourth-round pick.
Plummer said briefly last week there were "some things" that still had to be worked out. Well, this is the thing.
His representatives and attorneys figure to challenge this. Whether they succeed is still an item that's well down the road.
Looking at all of that, though, and after looking him in the eye, I believe he's retired.
This is a guy who has gladly rowed against the league's current before. One who was ready to pay $30,000 because he refused to take a sticker off his helmet, the one with the "40" on it to honor his friend and former teammate Pat Tillman.
An unblinking Plummer pushed the league to the edge, received letters of support from Senators Wayne Allard, R-Colo., and John McCain, R-Ariz., at the Broncos complex, and in the end, the league knew it simply could not fine the man.
And in 2005, every player in the league wore a decal on his helmet to commemorate the first regular-season NFL game played outside the U.S. Every player except one.
Jake Plummer. The league simply rubbed its temples that time, not fining Plummer, hoping that, too, would pass.
So it looks like Plummer has made up his mind to make up his mind, to move on, to close the door behind him.
"I can't sit here and discuss anything further," he said. "But you don't have to chase me around any more or speculate on what I'm going to be doing. There will not be a jersey that has an NFL patch . . . on my body."
I believe he'll fight to stay retired, I believe he'll exhaust every avenue to stay retired, file a grievance, go to court, whatever.
"I'm ready to move on with my life . . . ," Plummer said. "I am retiring."
So in the end, if it costs him $7 million to not play in the NFL, I also believe he just might be the guy who would pay it.
Free agent scorecard
The free agency rundown so far, according to contracts filed with the league as of Tuesday:
Free agents when market opened March 2 448
Unrestricted free agents who signed with new team 61
Unrestricted free agents who signed with old team 52
Restricted free agents who signed with old team 4
legwoldj@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-954-2359
About Jeff Legwold
Jeff Legwold covers the Broncos for the Rocky Mountain News. He had been the Tennessee Titans/NFL reporter for the Nashville Tennesseean since the franchise announced its move from Houston to Nashville in 1995. Legwold also has been a sports columnist for the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle, Gannett Newspapers in Pittsburgh, the Danville (Ill.) Commercial-News and the Saratogian of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. He is a 1985 graduate of the University of Illinois. Legwold has served on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors since 1999.