The Denver Broncos want Pro Bowl pass rusher Elvis Dumervil to take a pay cut or they will release him, according to NFL.com's Albert Breer. If Dumervil, 29, is unwilling to play ball, the Broncos have a backup plan.
The Denver Post reports that the team is interested in signing Dwight Freeney. The longtime Indianapolis Colt no longer is a superstar player, but neither is Dumervil. He's just paid like one.
It's a tricky spot for Dumervil. He's set to make $12 million next season and can point to the 20.5 sacks he has recorded the last two years as proof he still has "it."
The Broncos can point to the fact Dumervil has made $28 million the last two seasons, and he's not a great player against the run. Dumervil is a good pass rusher, but he's not dominant like his teammate, Von Miller.
Most players at Dumervil's age would want to hit free agency, but there are risks involved. It's a deep draft class on the defensive line, and there are younger pass rushers like the Detroit Lions' Cliff Avril and the Baltimore Ravens' Paul Kruger on the free-agent market. It's a fairly deep group of pass rushers. Dumervil has to ask: Is a pay cut from the Broncos still more than I can earn elsewhere?
Floating Freeney's name out into the media is smart business for the Broncos. They are letting Dumervil know that they can survive if he's not in Denver. They wouldn't ask him to take a pay cut otherwise.
Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.