@Ted_Sundquist A player w/ $1.5M signing bonus that doesn’t make Final 53, that IS a Big Deal, not to mention a BAD one too. Guess it depends who made it.
My recent tweet generated some questions, so I thought I’d explain. You might want to read my earlier post before you finish this one; NFL Articles – Be careful what you watch, read, listen (and believe)…
Broncos release CB Drayton Florence; Caleb Hanie stays
Denver Post – August 31, 2012
To reach their 53-man limit Friday, the Broncos had to make 22 roster moves. Easily the most surprising was the outright release of veteran cornerback Drayton Florence. It was an expensive cut as the Broncos had already paid Florence a $1.5 million signing bonus.
But the Broncos signed Florence before they drafted cornerback Omar Bolden in the fourth round. Before he suffered a knee injury prior to his senior season at Arizona State, Bolden had a late-first, early-second-round grade inside the scouting community.
The Broncos gave Florence his $1.5 million assurance before Chris Harris showed marked improvement as a nickelback in his second year. And the money was spent before Florence was beaten out during the preseason by fourth-year cornerback Tony Carter.
This was a move where it’s both fair to criticize the Broncos for wasting $1.5 million and credit them for not letting money affect their decision-making. Carter is 26; Florence is 31.
3 Pinnochio’s and 4 Pants on Fire
At first glance this seems to be a rather benign article, but close inspection says differently.
The Broncos didn’t sign Florence before drafting Bolden. Bolden was selected on April 28, 2012, with Denver’s 4th round pick of the 2012 NFL Draft. Florence wasn’t released from Buffalo until May 4th and signed his contract with Denver on May 11th.
Cash is king in the NFL. It’s easy not to let money affect your decision making when the money doesn’t belong to you. But to not look at this (in context) as one of the more poor personnel decisions over the last twenty years is to ignore NFL history.
The process of signing a free agent
Understand how this process works and backup to early spring when the Bronco front office identified corner as a position of need. Champ Bailey was a given, but questions loomed on the opposite side. Andre Goodman was released April 13th after the signing of former Saint Tracy Porter on March 22nd. Bolden carries a big rep and big injury report, and was waiting for Denver in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Depending on your evaluation process, Florence had a rollercoaster season in 2011. I found a number of independent scouting reports that had him dropping considerably from previous years, some not so much. Consistency of play didn’t warrant the $4.0M due for 2012 and the Bills released him.
Normal circumstances have the GM asking what the evaluations were from Pro Scouting? How had Florence played the past season? Where did he rank amongst the top corners? What type of bonus and contract would be suitable?
Florence’s agent is Drew Rosenhaus. If Florence was to make $4.0M, then Rosenhaus would slightly devalue that number and look for something marginally lower. That number was $3.0M and some would come in the form of a guarantee. Denver appeared more than willing to give up the $1.5M in signing bonus. Remember, Bolden had already been drafted, Porter was under contract and Harris Jr. by some evals had played exceptionally well at times the previous season. Florence was indeed a luxury.
Poor decision making across the board
The process of evaluation and valuation broke down. Someone within the Broncos wanted Florence bad enough to make sure it would happen. Enough so that $1.0M of the total was to be paid in September, cutting into the regular season coffers.
I queried deals since the inception of the CBA and pulled up players with signing bonuses of $1.0M plus, lasted a maximum 200 days, yet didn’t make the final cut. These players never played a game after having been paid at least $1.0M signing bonus.
The Florence deal tied 4th worst since the inception of the CBA. ”Worst” is paying a player who never actually made your club. There are more monumental deals where the player was released after a couple games or a season. But I’m talking terminated prior to making the 53. Spin it how you’d like, this was a poor decision – period.
A BIG deal and a BAD one too.