Regardless of the machinations or the motivations, blame for the fact that defensive end Elvis Dumervil no longer is a member of the Broncos falls on all parties involved.
The NFL, like many businesses, runs on deadlines. When making decisions up against a deadline, both sides need to allow enough time to get the deal done.
And if the deal doesn’t get done in time, both sides share the blame equally.
If Dumervil’s agent, Marty Magid, needed more time to study the revised documents, he needed to say so. If the Broncos needed more time to process the paperwork, they needed to say so. The end result was a clusterfudge that makes everyone look bad.
That said, the real question is whether one side or the other was up to something. The Broncos had nothing to gain by creating the impression that they were forced to cut Dumervil, unless they somehow decided from a P.R. perspective that the accidental departure of Dumervil would be received more favorably by the fan base than the intentional release of Dumervil.
In contrast, Dumervil could have duped the Broncos into guaranteeing his entire contract if the team failed to cut him before the end of the business day. Alternatively, Magid may have decided to force the release after word got out that Dumervil would make $8 million in 2013 — and after possibly hearing from another team that would be willing to pay Dumervil more than that.
We suspect the latter, based on Magid’s comments to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com.
“We haven’t talked yet, but I think we all needed to take a deep breath and then we’ll see where it goes,'” Magid said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t work out the way we wanted, but everything happens for a reason and it’s not like this anybody’s fault. This wasn’t just a case of an agent taking too long to send something. It’s not anyone’s fault, but Elvis is a free agent now and we’ll see how that process plays out.”
If both sides intended to honor the deal that was negotiated on Friday, both sides will promptly fix the situation and move forward with a new deal. It was painted as an accident; any other outcome indicates that the accident really wasn’t.
Still, if the truth is that the Broncos were snookered, they helped make that happen by not establishing a clear deadline and ensuring that all documents were signed in sufficient time to permit the revised contract to become official.