The contract mix-up on Friday that turned what was supposed to be a restructured contract for Denver Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil into Dumervil's release because the paperwork wasn't transmitted in time was due in part to late changes to the financial details on the part of the Broncos, Dumervil's agent Marty Magid told USA TODAY Sports.
Magid claims the team changed the terms of the contract the sides had been negotiating all week and didn't send him a correct copy of the final deal until after 3:30 p.m. EDT - less than a half hour before the deadline to submit the new contract to the league office in New York before his full salary of $12 million for 2013 became guaranteed.
Magid claims the Broncos initially had told him that, in exchange for chopping $4 million off of Dumervil's 2013 base salary, the team would add $500,000 to his 2014 base salary of $10 million while also fully guaranteeing $3.5 million of that figure.
Magid said instead, when the new deal was presented shortly after 1 p.m. EDT Friday, the language had been changed to only guarantee the $3.5 million for injury. The Broncos said they made the change because Dumervil had taken all week to accept their offer, according to Magid.
In other words, per Magid's account, the team would have been able to cut Dumervil after this upcoming season without owing him a dime.
The Broncos changed the language because they signed a handful of free agents and had committed more money toward 2014 than they had when they made their original offer to Dumervil.
"That stopped all the negotiations. We had to restart," Magid said. "I had to explain it to him what this meant for him. He took some time to think about it and, in the end, he said, 'I'll take it. I'll go back and play for it and show them what a great player I am.'"
By Magid's recollection, this was shortly before 3:30 p.m. EDT.
It was 3:30 p.m. EDT exactly when the first report of Dumervil's agreeing to a pay cut broke.
"Per team source, Dumervil REMAINS a Denver Bronco!!!!," Michelle Beisner of the NFL Network tweeted.
Roughly 3 minutes later, Magid sent a text to USA TODAY Sports that read, "He is a bronco if we get paperwork."
Magid claims the first contract sent to him by Broncos director of football administration Mike Sullivan contained a smaller base salary in the final year of the contract (2015) than he believed the team had offered. Magid said Sullivan then resent the contract via email with a new, higher number.
Magid was in his office in Pennsylvania. Dumervil was in Miami, headed for a Kinko's, according to Magid.
Magid claims Dumervil sent a fax but the Broncos gave him a second fax number because the fax wasn't coming through. Magid said Dumervil told him a fax was transmitted at 3:55 p.m. EDT, and that Dumervil has a confirmation to prove it.
(USA TODAY Sports requested a copy of the receipt and email transmissions. Magid said he would provide them.)
Regardless, it was too late for the team. They informed Magid they had to release his client instead of triggering the $12 million guarantee.
"Twenty-three minutes to read it, scan it, fax it, get Elvis to a machine and get it through," Magid said. "We tried."
The Broncos surely feel Magid and Dumervil tried too late, and that they had given them ample opportunity to work out a deal earlier in the week.
Now, Dumervil is a free agent. Whether he'll be a Bronco again remains to be seen. The team took a salary-cap hit of nearly $5 million and now has less than $8 million in cap space. So even if they wanted to sign Dumervil to the same deal they had offered, they wouldn't be able to do so right now without clearing some space first.
(Written by Mike Garafolo)
(Copyright © 2013 USA TODAY)