Broncos seeking to clear decks for potential sale of team

Tue Sep 21 6:40pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer

DENVER (AP) The next quarterback clash in Denver could very well pit John Elway and Peyton Manning vying to serve as the public face of any new Broncos ownership group.

The decks must be cleared of any possible pitfalls before any multibillion-dollar bid, however, much like homebuyers wanting to make sure the title is clear to their new dreamhouse.

So, the Broncos' parent companies are asking Denver County District Court Judge Shelly L. Gilman to rule that former owner Edgar Kaiser's estate no longer has the right of first refusal to any potential sale of the franchise, which Forbes values at $3.75 billion.

The trial pitting the partnership which owns the Broncos and the Vancouver-based ROFR Holdings begins Wednesday and is expected to last at least a week with a ruling anticipated in November or December.

Pat Bowlen, who died in 2019 after a long bout with Alzheimer's, bought the team from Kaiser in 1984. His will stipulated that his seven children from his two marriages must agree on which one succeeds him as controlling owner to keep the club off the market.

Two daughters from his first marriage withdrew a lawsuit in July that contested Bowlen's will, appearing to pave the way for a sale. Later that month, team president and trustee Joe Ellis said he hoped to have the long-running ownership saga settled by the start of the 2022 season.

The lawsuit comes in response to a May 2020 letter lawyers for PDB Sports Ltd. and Bowlen Sports Inc. received from ROFR Holdings suggesting it had the right to match any offer in the event the team is sold.

The letter said Kaiser had transferred his stake in the agreement with Pat Bowlen to ROFR Holdings, a corporation he started in 2005. ROFR is an acronym for Right of First Refusal.

PDB Sports and Bowlen Sports responded that the pact from Kaiser's 1984 sale of his 60.8% stake to Bowlen is no longer valid because it was a personal one which ended when Kaiser died in 2012.

A ruling in the partnership's favor would facilitate the transfer of the team from the Pat D. Bowlen Trust to one of Bowlen's children - Brittany Bowlen, 31, is the preferred choice - or the sale of the franchise to an outside buyer.

NFL franchise values have skyrocketed with new broadcast deals and the league's embrace of sports gambling, which is now legal in many states, including Colorado.

The Broncos would be expected to draw bids of $4 billion or more, a record for a U.S. sports franchise and nearly double what the Carolina Panthers sold for three years ago when David Tepper bought that team for $2.275 billion.

Kaiser twice lost cases to Bowlen in court, once after Bowlen bought out two of his siblings' shares of the team and another time in 1999 when Kaiser contended Bowlen's offering a 10% slice of the team to Elway triggered his right of first refusal.

Manning said during the Super Bowl in February that he's keeping a close watch on the Broncos' ownership saga. He and his family have remained in Denver following his stellar four-year run as the Broncos quarterback that culminated with a win in Super Bowl 50.

Elway, the team's president of football operations, would be another intriguing front man for any multibillionaire seeking to buy the team. He won two titles during his Hall of Fame playing career and was the architect of the franchise's third championship.

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RTSports Weekly: Week 5

Player Notes
Christian McCaffrey Oct 16 1:40pm ET
Christian McCaffrey

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) was placed on the Injured Reserve Saturday, sidelining him for the next three weeks. McCaffrey was able to practice in a limited fashion for four straight sessions spanning from last week to the beginning of this week but was downgraded to a non-participant on Thursday and Friday, suggesting a setback likely occurred at practice. It's an eerily similar situation to last year for the All-Pro running back, who missed a total of 13 games due to a variety of injuries, with the team constantly deeming him "hopeful" to suit up but later ruling him out. It's fair to question if this move is something that should have happened a few weeks ago, given McCaffrey's recent injury history. The Panthers may have to seriously consider reducing the workload of their $64 million star halfback when he returns to preserve his body. In the meantime, Chuba Hubbard, coming off his first career 100-yard game, will be an every-week starter at running back for those lucky enough to scoop him up off waivers.

From RotoBaller

Christian McCaffrey Oct 16 1:23pm ET
Christian McCaffrey

The Panthers placed Christian McCaffrey on Injured Reserve on Saturday, meaning he will be out at least the next three games.He apparently had a setback with his hamstring injury this week, leading him to land on Injured Reserve.

T Y Hilton Oct 16 1:10pm ET
T Y Hilton

The Indianapolis Colts activated wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (neck) from Injured Reserve on Saturday, and he's likely to make his season debut in Week 6 against the Houston Texans. It remains to be seen how many snaps Hilton will actually play this Sunday after Hilton was pumping the brakes earlier this week on whether he'd actually play in Week 6. The 31-year-old should eventually return to a starting role on the outside across from second-year receiver Michael Pittman Jr., and his return is bad news for Zach Pascal and Parris Campbell moving forward. The four-time Pro Bowler started off excruciatingly slow in 2020 before picking things up late, and he finished with 56 catches (93 targets) for 762 yards and five touchdowns in 15 games. It wouldn't be wise to throw Hilton into starting lineups immediately, and his chemistry with quarterback Carson Wentz will be worth watching.

From RotoBaller

Rodrigo Blankenship Oct 16 1:10pm ET
Rodrigo Blankenship

The Indianapolis Colts placed kicker Rodrigo Blankenship (groin) on Injured Reserve on Saturday and elevated kicker Michael Badgley and safety Jordan Lucas from the practice squad to the active roster in corresponding moves. Blankenship had already been ruled out for Week 6 against the Houston Texans, but he'll now be forced to miss at least an additional two games now. The 24-year-old had been a weekly streaming option at the kicker position by making 11 of his 14 field-goal tries (5-for-7 from 40-plus yards) and seven of his eight extra points. Badgley was cut by the Tennessee Titans after he missed his only field goal and one of his two extra points in the season opener. He should be avoided for fantasy purposes while Blankenship is out.

From RotoBaller

T Y Hilton Oct 16 1:03pm ET
T Y Hilton

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton on Saturday, Oct. 16, was activated off the Reserve/Injured list, and is expected to play Sunday against the Houston Texans.

Fantasy Spin: You'll need to make sure he's active first, but Hilton is finally looks ready to go after recovering from a neck injury. Plug him in if you're desperate for wide receiver help, but otherwise it might be best to keep him on the bench this week and see how he fits into Indy's plans.

From TheHuddle

Matt Milano Oct 16 12:53pm ET
Matt Milano

Buffalo Bills LB Matt Milano (hamstring) on Saturday, Oct. 16, is practicing for a third straight day after missing Week 5.

From TheHuddle

Justin Fields Oct 16 12:40pm ET
Justin Fields

Green Bay Packers cornerback Kevin King (shoulder) has been ruled out in Week 6 against the Chicago Bears because of a shoulder injury he suffered in last week's win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Green Bay will also be without starting corner Jaire Alexander (shoulder) after he went on Injured Reserve last week. It may not matter, though, as Chicago has the fewest passing yards (566) in the league and the second-fewest pass attempts (122) through five games. The Packers will only have one of their top three corners available on Sunday in first-rounder Eric Stokes. Stokes and Yiadom will likely start on the outside, with Chandon Sullivan in the slot in nickel packages. Green Bay will obviously be more vulnerable in the secondary this weekend, but they'll still be worth streaming consideration in Week 6 against rookie quarterback Justin Fields.

From RotoBaller

Cam Newton Oct 16 11:20am ET
Cam Newton

Former New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton is now fully vaccinated and is still looking to find a team in 2021, according to sources. The topic of Newton not being vaccinated was a big topic of discussion in the preseason when he was still a member of the Patriots after he was forced to miss five days due to the league's COVID-19 testing protocols. Some wonder whether the Patriots decision to cut Newton had anything to do with the fact that he was not vaccinated at the time. It's questionable how much the 32-year-old has left in the tank, but he could latch on with another team as an experienced backup or emergency starter. It remains to be seen if Newton will find another team in 2021, but the fact that he's now vaccinated should make him more attractive to interested teams.

From RotoBaller

Tua Tagovailoa Oct 16 11:10am ET
Tua Tagovailoa

The Miami Dolphins officially activated quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (ribs) off Injured Reserve on Saturday, and he is on track to start in Week 6 against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. The Dolphins also elevated wide receivers Isaiah Ford and Kirk Merritt from the practice squad to the active roster for this weekend's game. Tagovailoa returned to practice this week and avoided any setbacks, so the 23-year-old second-year signal-caller will take over as the starter after fracturing his ribs in Week 2. His return is good news for the offense, but the dual-threat QB has largely underwhelmed since becoming the starter in Week 7 last year. Tagovailoa was 16-for-27 for 202 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the season-opening loss to the New England Patriots. The Jags are a nice matchup to return to, but Tagovailoa will remain a low-end QB2 until further notice.

From RotoBaller

Jonnu Smith Oct 16 11:10am ET
Jonnu Smith

New England Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith hasn't been able to make much of an impact with his new team. Through five games, Smith has 15 receptions for 115 yards and one touchdown. Smith has failed to surpass 28 yards in each of the last four games, which is certainly frustrating considering the amount of upside he possess. Fellow tight end Hunter Henry has scored in each of the last two games. He appears to be the much better option between the two. Smith will be a deep league TE2 for their Week 6 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys.

From RotoBaller

Chris Carson Oct 16 11:10am ET
Chris Carson

Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson (neck) hasn't had any setbacks in his recovery from a neck injury, according to a source, but he's still not 100 percent symptom-free. The Seahawks wanted to give him more time to heal, which is why they placed him on the short-term Injured Reserve on Friday, which will keep him out for at least the next three games. Carson also missed last Thursday's loss to the Los Angeles Rams, and the earliest he'll be able to return is Week 10 against the Green Bay Packers. The 27-year-old should be stashed in the majority of formats while he heals. In the meantime, Alex Collins should continue to operate as the primary back, with DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer serving as change-of-pace backs. Collins has a low ceiling as an RB3/flex with quarterback Geno Smith taking over for Russell Wilson (finger), who is also on IR.

From RotoBaller

Hunter Henry Oct 16 11:00am ET
Hunter Henry

New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry has scored a touchdown in each of the last two games. He appears to be finally getting into a groove after a slow start to the season. Now, he'll get a matchup against a Dallas Cowboys defense that has struggled to contain tight ends. This could be a pass-heavy type of game for New England, which should be good for Henry. Quarterback Mac Jones is beginning to build chemistry with his teammates. Fantasy managers should consider Henry a low-end TE1 for their Week 6 matchup with Dallas.

From RotoBaller

Kendrick Bourne Oct 16 10:50am ET
Kendrick Bourne

New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne has done his job whenever he is called upon. Sadly for him, the Patriots have a handful of other options and don't look his way often. Last week, Bourne hauled in all three of his targets for 26 yards in the win. He usually makes the play when targeted, but has only been thrown the ball 22 times through five games. There could be an uptick in value for Bourne heading into the Week 6 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. It'll likely be a pass-heavy gameplan, which means possibly more chances for Bourne. However, he won't be anything more than a desperation PPR option while everyone is healthy in the receiving game.

From RotoBaller

Nelson Agholor Oct 16 10:40am ET
Nelson Agholor

New England Patriots wide receiver Nelson Agholor hasn't been able to make much noise since the season opener. In fact, he has three receptions or less in every game since Week 1. That's unlikely to change against a Cowboys defense that ranks ninth in pass DVOA so far in 2021. The Patriots brought in Agholor to be their deep threat, but they don't take too many risks with the ball. Quarterback Mac Jones tends to lean on short passes, which cuts Agholor out of the gameplan. He'll be a desperation flex option against the Cowboys in Week 6.

From RotoBaller

Jakobi Meyers Oct 16 10:40am ET
Jakobi Meyers

New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers has not scored a touchdown this season, which continues to hinder his value. Despite that, he has been able to hold his own because he appears to be rookie Mac Jones favorite target. Meyers has seen double digit targets twice in five games this season. He might see another with Damien Harris (ribs) questionable for the Week 6 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. The Patriots will likely go pass-heavy, assuming Harris is sidelined. That means, Meyers should be a fine WR3 for this game against a surprisingly decent Cowboys defense.

From RotoBaller

Brandon Bolden Oct 16 10:30am ET
Brandon Bolden

New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden could be in line for a bigger workload heading into the Week 6 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. Lead back Damien Harris (ribs) is questionable to suit up in this game. That means, Bolden and a committee of others could see increased roles. Last week, Bolden rushed the ball twice, but also hauled in four receptions through the air. No one should compare Bolden to James White, but it seems New England wants Bolden to be their receiving back. There isn't a ton of upside here and Bolden should be considered a low-end streaming option in PPR formats.

From RotoBaller

Rhamondre Stevenson Oct 16 10:30am ET
Rhamondre Stevenson

New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson finally was able to get into some action last week. Coming into Week 5, Stevenson had one carry on the season, but that changed versus Texans. Sadly, there wasn't much success as Stevenson carried the ball 11 times for 23 yards in the win. Lead back Damien Harris (ribs) is questionable heading into their Week 6 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. That means, Stevenson could be asked to carry the ball 10 or so times again. There isn't much upside here with Stevenson, so he should be considered a desperation deep league option. He wasn't able to move the ball versus Houston, so that's unlikely to change this week.

From RotoBaller

Mac Jones Oct 16 10:20am ET
Mac Jones

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has failed to impress over the first five games of the season. He has posted one multi-touchdown game, but has only surpassed the 280-yard mark once through five contests. The rookie quarterback will now head into a tough matchup against the Dallas Cowboys defense. Normally, the Cowboys defense wouldn't be intimidating, but they rank ninth in pass DVOA so far in 2021. It wouldn't be surprising to see Jones struggle to move the ball in this one. He'll be a desperation streaming option, but should be avoided in most formats.

From RotoBaller

Demetric Felton Oct 16 10:00am ET
Demetric Felton

Cleveland Browns running back Demetric Felton could have an expanded role in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals. Browns star RB Nick Chubb (calf) was ruled out ahead of Sunday's game, and RB Kareem Hunt (wrist, knee) is questionable with a knee/wrist injury. Felton will have a complementary role and should see an uptick in carries along with D'Ernest Johnson as the backups to Hunt. The 23-year-old logged three snaps on offense and returned two punts for 17 yards in Sunday's Week 47-42 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. While Hunt is expected to suit up, the Browns have a game scheduled for Thursday next week; Felton and Johnson could see additional touches in Week 6. The UCLA product is worth stashing in deep-league formats while Chubb is sidelined and Hunt is banged up.

From RotoBaller

D'Ernest Johnson Oct 16 9:50am ET
D'Ernest Johnson

Cleveland Browns running back D'Ernest Johnson could have a vital role in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals. Browns star RB Nick Chubb (calf) was ruled out ahead of Sunday's game, and RB Kareem Hunt (knee, wrist) is questionable with a wrist/knee injury. Johnson will have a complementary role on Sunday and is the only other running back on the Browns to see carries this season besides Hunt and Chubb. While Hunt is expected to suit up, the Browns have a game scheduled for Thursday next week; Johnson, along with Demetric Felton, could see additional touches in Week 6. The 25-year-old is worth stashing in deep-league formats while Chubb is sidelined and Hunt is banged up.

From RotoBaller