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Did Derek Wolfe break 'the code' with contract talk?


Did Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe violate a long-held player code of silence when it comes to the motivations his teammates might have involving their contracts?

Speaking on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday, Wolfe told hosts Jeff Rickard and Brady Quinn that he took a "significant haircut" to remain with the Broncos and keep their championship-caliber team intact. He noted that others (perhaps Von Miller?) weren't quick to do the same.

"Business is business, and that's his business. And he has to do what he's gotta do," Wolfe said. "Obviously, I took a different route and decided that this is where I want to be so I'm going to take a significant haircut to stay here, and that's fine with me. But some people don't feel that way."

To those of us sideline dwellers, the comment seems rather bland. In listening back to his words, there really isn't any animus in his voice or tone.

But according to NFL Media's Jamie Dukes, a 10-year NFL vet, Wolfe's words broke the code.

"No, I'm not (alright with the comments)," Dukes said Wednesday on NFL HQ. "There's a code in the locker room that you never talk about anybody else's money because you're always up and it's going to be your opportunity. So, No. 1, don't be a hypocrite. You can choose whatever path you choose but players have always generally supported other players.

"You make the business decision that is in your best interest."

Added Chris Canty, another 10-year vet appearing on NFL HQ: "It is a cardinal sin to talk about what is in another man's wallet. This ain't Sam Jackson in the Capital One commercial, and furthermore, Derek Wolfe, you took a team-friendly deal because you wanted to play with a player of Von Miller's caliber...that was your decision."

Wolfe, just so we're clear, signed a four-year, $36.7 million contract with $17.5 million in guaranteed money on Jan. 15, right in the middle of the team's Super Bowl run.

Though the "code" seems to be a fairly standard business practice that can apply to everyone thinking about knocking their co-worker's salary or desire, there will certainly be some people who understand Wolfe's position. Many people have felt the way he does but they aren't interviewed on a national radio program. Fans have come a long way in recent years in terms of understanding a player's desire to maximize his financial leverage during the prime of his career, but the Team First faction is still strong.