The sudden turn of events in the contract negotiations between the Denver Broncos and Elvis Dumervil suddenly send a great pass rusher no one expected onto the market, someone the New England Patriots might really be interested in signing.

Now we also know, as do most of the teams, what Dumervil’s price will be. He was slated to make $12 million in 2013 for the Broncos, who threatened to release him if he wasn’t going to bring that number down to $8 million. Dumervil and his agent agreed, but didn’t send the papers out in time, and he was automatically released.

Now, before we continue, don’t be so sure that is what actually happened. Maybe Dumervil wanted to leave if he was getting a 33% paycut, and maybe the Broncos decided they’ll go for someone older yet cheaper, like John Abraham or Dwight Freeney instead. They can still re-sign Dumervil, but that’s going to take a bigger hit on their cap situation.

Dumervil has three seasons in the past five with double digit sack numbers, including 11 last season. One of his big pluses is being able to play as both a defensive end in the 4-3 or a linebacker in a 3-4, moving to DE on passing downs during his breakout 2009 campaign under Mike Nolan’s defensive system.

The Patriots have the money and the need to start getting a lot better when it comes to chasing the quarterbacks, and for known and unknown reasons, are usually a preferred destination for free agents, even if it means taking a pay cut when compared to other teams, but the option of going to the Super Bowl is often quite enchanting. Dumervil will also look around the market and see the deals given to defensive ends in Seattle for example (Cliff Avril with $7.5 million per season), and understand that $8 million is probably the best he’s going to get.

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