Updated: Saturday, 16 Mar 2013, 4:57 AM EDT
Published : Saturday, 16 Mar 2013, 4:57 AM EDT
Elvis Dumervil was staying with the Denver Broncos.
And then, he wasn't.
On another busy day of NFL free agency, the highlight — or lowlight — came after a strange sequence of events in which the Broncos and the defensive end reached an agreement on a new deal that ended up not valid because the paperwork was filed too late.
And now, Dumervil is a free agent.
Also Friday, Greg Jennings left Green Bay to head to rival Minnesota, Dustin Keller became the latest member of the Jets to leave and Kevin Kolb was released by Arizona.
A person familiar with the negotiations gave The Associated Press details about the confusion involving Dumervil and the Broncos. The person did not want to be identified because the negotiations were not public.
According to that person, the day played out like this:
— At 1:25 p.m., Denver time, Dumervil agreed to take a $4 million pay cut to remain with the AFC West champions for 2013.
— The paperwork was ready to be signed and sent to the league. But with the clock ticking on a 1:59 p.m. deadline, the Broncos were not seeing any sign of the signed copy on their fax machine.
— With no signed contract in hand as 1:59 approached, the Broncos were forced to cut Dumervil, because once the 1:59 deadline passed, they were on the hook for the $12 million they owed him in the original contract.
— The team received the signed contract via fax at 2:06 p.m. That was seven minutes past the deadline and about 15 minutes later than they needed to receive it so they could review it and send it to the league.
Broncos front office chief John Elway said the team delivered its final contract proposal to Dumervil at 11 a.m. and set a 1 p.m. deadline for a decision. Elway said Dumervil accepted the contract at around 1:25 and "although we expressed our concern regarding the time constraints, we were assured that the signed documents would be submitted to us before the league's waiver deadline."
"We did not receive the documents from Elvis by the league's deadline and were forced to release him shortly before 2 p.m. MDT," Elway said.
Dumervil's agent, Marty Magid, did not return messages left by AP via text and voicemail.
Though the sides had agreed on a deal, the odds of Dumervil returning to Denver are hampered because cutting him could leave them with a salary cap hit of up to nearly $5 million.
Jennings spent seven years getting the best of the Vikings' secondary while playing for their bitter rivals in Green Bay. No longer feeling as important to the Packers after two seasons shortened by injuries, Jennings crossed the border and found a team that welcomed him with desperately open arms.
Jennings signed a five-year contract with the Vikings on Friday, leaving Aaron Rodgers and that high-octane passing offense in Green Bay for the unproven Christian Ponder and the ground-and-pound Vikings. In 2011, he missed three games with a sprained left knee. He said he felt lost in the shuffle behind younger Packers receivers such as James Jones, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb and sounded determined to prove that his best years are not behind him.
"I can definitely still do it," said Jennings, who will turn 30 on Sept. 21. "I can definitely still make plays and be as exciting as I was in my earlier years."
Arizona released Kolb, ending the quarterback's two injury-filled seasons with the team. The move came just ahead of the deadline for paying Kolb a $2 million roster bonus. The Cardinals paid Kolb some $20 million over two seasons after acquiring him in a trade that sent a second-round draft pick and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The move reportedly saved $7 million in salary cap space. Meanwhile, the Cardinals were spending the money left and right, agreeing to terms on one-year contracts with former San Diego and ex-University of Arizona cornerback Antoine Cason and ex-Oakland defensive end Matt Shaughnessy.
In Miami, Ryan Tannehill now has plenty of potential pass targets, thanks to a spending spree by the Dolphins.
Miami signed Keller and wideout Brandon Gibson to complete a much-needed upgrade of the receiving corps. The Dolphins earlier added Mike Wallace, the top pass-catcher in free agency, and re-signed wideout Brian Hartline last week.
The moves transform the passing game into a potential strength.
"We feel that we have added some very good pieces to our passing game," general manager Jeff Ireland said.
Keller and Gibson agreed.
"In today's NFL, you've got to have more than one or two ways to get people the ball," Gibson said. "This is a young and talented group. If we stick together, we could be very good."
Gibson spent the past four seasons with the St. Louis Rams, where he made 38 starts. Last year, he had 51 receptions for a career-high 691 yards and five touchdowns while starting 13 games.
Keller, who had 17 career touchdown catches with the Jets, signed a one-year contract as a replacement for Anthony Fasano. Keller was slowed by a left ankle injury last year, when he made 28 catches for 317 yards and two scores in eight games.
"It was pretty frustrating," he said. "This is a fresh start for me. It's an opportunity to go somewhere and re-prove myself."
Meanwhile, the Jets had their busiest day yet of free agent signings after watching several of their key players leave during the early days of free agency.
New York signed running back Mike Goodson, offensive lineman Willie Colon and nose tackle Antonio Garay. The team announced the deal with Goodson, along with the re-signing of fullback Lex Hilliard. Two people familiar with the situations told The Associated Press that the Jets had signed Colon, a former favorite of Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, and Garay, who spent the last three-plus seasons in San Diego. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the signings.
Since free agency began, the Jets have lost several starters, including Keller, running back Shonn Greene (Tennessee), safeties LaRon Landry (Indianapolis) and Yeremiah Bell (Arizona), defensive lineman Mike DeVito (Kansas City) and nose tackle Sione Po'uha (released).
The San Diego Chargers made deals with two running backs, agreeing to a two-year contract with former New England Patriots fan favorite Danny Woodhead and a one-year deal to bring back Ronnie Brown.
Meanwhile, free agent safety Ed Reed left the Houston Texans with no deal in place. The nine-time Pro Bowl safety departed Reliant Stadium after two days of talks with the team. He arrived in Houston on Thursday morning aboard team owner Bob McNair's private jet and the team announced on its Twitter site that he was back at its facility on Friday.
The Texans are trying to sign Reed to make up for an otherwise disappointing free-agency period so far. Receiver Kevin Walter was cut, safety Glover Quin signed with Detroit and tight end James Casey and linebacker Connor Barwin signed with Philadelphia.
— Oakland found the potential replacement for disappointing former first-round pick Rolando McClain, agreeing to a free-agent contract with former Chicago linebacker Nick Roach. The Raiders announced the deal with Roach, who is the second linebacker signed by the team this week, following a three-year, $6 million deal given to Kaluka Maiava on Wednesday.
— Louis Delmas agreed to a two-year contract to stay with the Detroit Lions, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday because no announcement had been made. Delmas played only eight games last season but started them all. He was limited by left knee problems.
— Philadelphia acquired wide receiver Arrelious Benn and a seventh-round pick from Tampa Bay for the Eagles' sixth-round choice this year and a conditional draft pick in 2014. Benn, a second-round selection (39th overall) by the Buccaneers in 2010, has 59 receptions for 862 yards and five touchdowns in three seasons.
— Jacksonville signed cornerback Alan Ball, running back Justin Forsett and defensive tackle Roy Miller.
— Chicago agreed to a one-year contract with cornerback Zack Bowman.
— Kansas City signed veteran offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz, who can play both guard and tackle and spent last season as a backup in Minnesota.
— Linebacker Keith Rivers signed a new one-year deal with the New York Giants. Rivers, a former first-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, was traded to New York for a fifth-round pick on April 11, 2012. He missed five games with the Giants because of a slow-healing hamstring injury.
— Indianapolis released safety Tom Zbikowski after one season with the team.