Woody Paige: Broncos trampled amid start of free agency

DENVER — The NFL’s version of the Running of the Bulls occurred Thursday, and the Broncos were trampled.

Annually, in July, in Pamplona, Spain, the tradition is to release six bulls, and hundreds of brave (or stupid) souls race in front of, beside, occasionally underneath, the, uh, raging bulls. It becomes a cluster.

The first day of free agency felt like that Silly Spanish Stomp – with teams going bonkers after the bulls. But while the Jaguars, the 49ers, the Eagles and others were scurrying about signing free agents, the Broncos seemed more like a bystander looking out the window.

Yes, the Broncos signed Ronald Leary, late of the Cowboys, as their new left tackle. Yet, he is not an Irishman, despite one sports radio gabber geek referring to the player as Don O’Leary (here just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.)

And they did make an effort to lure Calais Campbell home to Denver (where he attended South High). But the powerful defensive end decided to take his talent to the Jaguars. I will make no Jacksonville jokes here. But Campbell said the Jags had signed a lot of good free agents, and he liked the team’s direction. 

He might as well have said “It’s not about the money,’’ except, really, it was all about the money, just as it was for Malik Jackson the year before.  Unlike NBA players, NFL players don’t consider the bright lights and the big cities, or even the winning teams. They would play in Mobile if the money was the most.  (Players don’t mind playing in Green Bay or Detroit or Jacksonville, although they learn when they get to Jacksonville, the city is actually more Georgia than Florida.

And truth is, because Florida has no state income tax, it is more attractive to NFL players and PGA golfers.  (Nevada, BTW, has no state income tax, either, so remember that when the Raiders move.)

Texas has no state income tax. Will that be the reason Tony Romo stays in Texas rather than comes to Colorado?

“Romo Says It’s Not About Money, But Does Mention Lack Of State Income Tax.’’ Will that be the headline when he ends up with the Texans

Yeah, but we got marijuana.

I didn’t particularly care that the Broncos didn’t fill all their needs – defensive end, nose tackle, tight end, running back and inside linebacker. John Elway probably will bring back Vance Walker, who was good before being injured, and Sylvester Williams, and he will find a left tackle off the bargain rack, and they’ll draft a tight end and a couple of offensive lineman and a linebacker, and a wide receiver, and a running back. And they’ll probably draft a left tackle or a tight end or Christian McCaffrey in the first round.

But I wonder about this Romo thing.

The Broncos keep saying quietly over and over that they won’t trade for Romo; they will wait until he’s a free agent.

Then the Brock Osweiler news hit. The Cleveland Browns are a football team headed by baseball guys who made a basketball trade. They basically bought a 2018 second round pick from the Texans for $16 million. They had to take Osweiler, who will be traded or released. The Texans won because they got rid of a BIG mistake, and there is no Lemon Law in football so they couldn’t return him to the Broncos, who want no part of him going forward, so don’t plan on that every happening, any more than Jay Cutler coming back.

The Texans, as everyone in Colorado fretted, now had the edge to beat the Broncos again – and would land Romo.

But the issue in Houston is the Texans say quietly over and over they won’t make a trade for Romo.

Jerry Jones told Romo he would release him, then pulled the ball back, and thought he could trade him for something of value. Only the Broncos and the Texans are not cooperating. This is one of those men being macho men deals with all sides trying to prove who has . . . you get the idea.

I say: Pull the trigger, John.

Elway once used that line to me in a phone conversation when I asked what he would tell Tim Tebow before the playoff game: “”Pull the trigger,’’ he said. Translated:  Stop hesitating. Throw the football. Go all footballs out.’’ It became a national sensation story after I wrote it, and Tebow would be asked to respond. “”He’s right,’’ Timmy said of Elway. (And the Broncos beat the Steelers.)

Elway should take his own advice. Pull the trigger. Make the trade.

The Broncos should send Trevor Siemian to the Jets for a fourth or fifth round draft choice, then send that pick to the Cowboys for Romo.  Clean deal. Elway doesn’t have to give up his own draft picks. He gets Romo, and he removes Siemian so his boy, Paxton Lynch, can train under Romo for two years before becoming the Broncos’ starter.

Run with the bulls. 

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