DENVER - The Denver Broncos were forced to release Elvis Dumervil after paperwork to reduce the defensive end's salary missed a 2 p.m. Friday deadline by 6 minutes, according to reports.
Minutes after several news organizations reported that the Broncos and Dumervil had agreed to a $4 million pay cut in time -- keeping him on the team -- reporters were stunned to learn the paperwork missed the NFL filing deadline.
"Hold on, contract not filed in time. Elvis Dumervil has been officially released, " The Denver Post's Mike Klis reported on Twitter. The NFL Network also confirmed the contract fumble.
The tick-tock on the blown deal played out on Twitter feeds.
Broncos Executive Vice President John Elway issued a statement late Friday afternoon making it clear that team officials were not responsible for the debacle.
“For the last week, Elvis Dumervil and his agent were aware of our desire to change the financial terms of his contract to ensure he would remain a Denver Bronco," Elway said. "After numerous conversations with both Elvis and his representative, we submitted our final contract proposal to Elvis today at 11 a.m. MDT."
Elway said said the Broncos had "imposed a 1 p.m. MDT deadline for a decision, one hour before the NFL’s waiver wire at 2 p.m. MDT. Our deadline was clearly communicated to Elvis’ representative."
If the deadline was missed, the Broncos faced having to release Dumervil -- or pay him $12 million next season.
“At 1 p.m. MDT, we were informed by Elvis’ representative that he declined our offer," Elway said. "We then prepared Elvis’ termination notice to officially file his release with the NFL office."
“At approximately 1:25 p.m. MDT, however, we were informed that Elvis changed his mind and accepted the same contract we proposed nearly two-and-a-half hours earlier," Elway said.
Dumervil had agreed to take a pay cut in 2013 from $12 million to $8 million, the NFL Network reported.
"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," Elway said.
The Broncos told Dumervil's representatives they needed the signed contract faxed back by 1:59 p.m., NFL.com's Albert Breer reported.
Complicating matters, Dumervil's agent Marty Magid was in his Pennsylvania office, while Dumervil was in Miami, heading for a Kinko's, reported USA Today's Mike Garafolo.
The Broncos received the signed deal back from Dumervil with a fax time-stamp of 2:06 p.m. MDT -- 6 minutes past the league deadline, according the Post.
Magid said Dumervil told him he has confirmation that his fax was transmitted to the Broncos 5 minutes before deadline, according to USA Today.
Said Elway: “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."
Suddenly, Dumervil is a free agent -- and several NFL teams are in the hunt for a good pass rusher.
The blunder creates financial obstacles for the Broncos if they want to re-sign Dumervil.
Already, cutting Dumervil will cost the Broncos $4.869 million against the team's salary cap., Breer tweeted. But reworking the deal after his release would be a $9.623 million salary cap hit for Denver.
“Due to this situation, there are now salary cap implications associated with this transaction that we must consider with regard to potentially re-signing Elvis," Elway said. "At this moment, we are discussing all of our free-agency options to determine what’s best for the Denver Broncos.”
Breer wise-cracked on Twitter: "Paul Revere's ride #ThingsThatMoveFasterThanDumervilsFaxMachine."
The Broncos began pressing Dumervil to renegotiate his contract earlier this month, with Elway saying Dumervil's contract was "out of whack."
Dumervil signed a six-year, $61.5 million contract in 2010 when Josh McDaniels was coaching the team -- long before Elway took over the Denver' front office.
Dumervil has made $28 million the last two years and the team did not believe he was worth another $12 million next season.
Dumervil was voted into the Pro Bowl last season. He has 20.5 sacks over the last two seasons.
But the Broncos already have a young passing rushing star in Von Miller -- and a chance to sign a free agent defensive end.
The Broncos pushed for Dumervil's salary cut to clear salary cap space in hopes of signing free agents.