What is the Broncos' free-agency outlook for this offseason?
-- Jarod Lochtefeld
At the present time, 13 players are projected to become unrestricted free agents: outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, cornerback Tramaine Brock, guard Max Garcia, center Gino Gradkowski, tight end Jeff Heuerman, defensive end Zach Kerr, center Matt Paradis, nose tackle Domata Peko Sr., outside linebacker Shane Ray, cornerback Bradley Roby, cornerback Jamar Taylor, right tackle/guard Billy Turner and right tackle Jared Veldheer.
Denver's list of restricted free agents is headlined by defensive end Shelby Harris and long snapper Casey Kreiter. No matter what potential alterations to the defensive scheme lurk in the coming months, Harris wants to return for his third Broncos season -- and perhaps more.
"I would love to be here. The Broncos gave me my chance, and I would love to try to finish it out here and experience what it feels like to be a winning Broncos team," he said. "The last two years we've put the work in, and I'm trying to be here for the long haul.
"I'll let my agent handle all that stuff, but at the end of the day, I hope to be around; I hope to be a Bronco."
I work Sundays so I haven't seen a lot of NFL games except the Broncos on NFL Game Pass. I noticed in the Liberty Bowl that the officials resorted to replay to determine if targeting had been committed even though no flag was thrown.
Does the NFL have similar provisions? I think it's a great idea.
-- Fred Waiss
Not regarding targeting, and I hope that remains the case -- to a degree. While I think instant-replay review could offer clarity when it comes to assessing targeting penalties, I do not believe that these should result in ejections that potentially stretch over two games.
This is the case in college football, in which a second-half ejection for targeting -- even when it is made off of a replay review -- forces a player to miss the first half of the following game, as well. This penalty is too harsh, especially when it is fairly subjective, and has led to some controversial ejections, including two Iowa State players in the Cyclones' Alamo Bowl loss to Washington State on Dec. 29.
The NFL's current reluctance to use instant replay to review potential targeting penalties could change in the future. When the NFL announced the new targeting rules for 2018 at the Annual League Meeting in Orlando last March, Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay wanted to see exactly how it could be enforced.
"If you do put replay behind them [the officials], then I do think you have the opportunity for them to be able to feel more comfortable in ejecting them," McKay said at a press conference announcing the rules tweaks. "But in this rule, we just need to do a little work to understand exactly how the mechanism would work."
This could help clarify assessment of penalties, but I hope the NFL refrains from turning a targeting penalty assessed by replay into an ejectable offense.
Since Phillip Lindsay was voted to the Pro Bowl and now can't play, does he still get to go and participate in all the activities? Does he get paid at all?
-- Connie Morris
At this point, he will not get paid, as the Pro Bowl paycheck is based solely on participation in the game, nor is he scheduled to formally be involved in any of the activities.
This is something that has not come up in the past, but it reveals a flaw in the current structure of Pro Bowl week. While pulling out because of an injury or for other reasons is common, the NFL ought to allow injured players the option of taking part in the non-football events and being on the sideline for practice and the game, so they can marinate and receive proper recognition of their on-field accomplishments.
The Pro Bowl rosters end up being 44 players -- 43 named for each conference in December, plus a special-teams "need" player added in the weeks prior to the game. Thus, their rosters are smaller than that of a team for a regular-season game day. There appears to be no harm in letting injured players enjoy some spoils of their success.
I saw your New Year's Resolutions comment, although you didn't mention on the comment whether or not you have offseason plans since the Denver Broncos are now in the offseason. Do you have a long vacation like the Denver Broncos, or you would have to work?
-- Ahmed Chowdhury
The radio show must go on, five days a week, three hours a day, which for me usually means another three to five hours of preparation work each day. The show sometimes goes on Saturdays, as well -- as was the case this weekend. The site goes on. The podcast goes on, as you can see at the top of this page. In two weeks, we will fly to the Senior Bowl for a week of practices, interviews with draft prospects, radio shows and website reports.
As far as I'm concerned, regular-season mode continues until I can take a few days off sometime between the Super Bowl and the Scouting Combine. Then it's right back to the grind.
Years ago, an executive mentioned to me that in some team offices, offseasons were often about perfecting Nerf basketball skills. That sounds awesome, but times and standards change. In 1984, for example, you could lead the league by completing 61.3 percent of your passes, as Joe Montana did. This year, that same percentage would place you 29th, just ahead of Joe Flacco's percentage of 61.2. The game on the field has changed. So has the game off of it.