On April 19, the voluntary portion of the offseason training program is kicking off across the NFL. We learned this past week through a press release via the NFLPA that the Denver Broncos' veterans are not going to show up, citing safety concerns relative to the pandemic.
The controversial decision made by the Broncos' collective sent some shockwaves through the fanbase, despite the fact that we're talking only about the 'voluntary' portion of OTAs (for now). However, there is a handful of Broncos veterans who stand to lose a lot of money if they don't report on April 19.
With some serious workout bonuses at stake, 9NEWS' Mike Klis reported on Saturday that superstar Von Miller is among a handful of veterans expected to report next week for OTAs. Offensive linemen Dalton Risner and Graham Glasgow each confirmed to Klis their intention to report.
Miller stands to earn a cool $500,000 for showing up next week, with Glasgow set to take home $100,000, and Risner $75,000. Quarterback incumbent Drew Lock also has a $75,000 workout bonus at stake — which might sound like pocket change relative to NFL mega-contracts but is more than the average American household earns in an entire year.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith wants players at large to skip voluntary OTAs, unless they have a sizable workout bonus, at which point, the players' union czar wants them to report, per Klis. Glasgow might not make the first week but he will show up. He's not going to forego that financial windfall for a workout.
“That’s the best way to go about it if I’m the NFLPA,’’ Glasgow told 9NEWS over the phone. “The way it’s been told to us right now, I don’t think I have to go in the first week. But after that, I think I might, so I’ll do what it takes to get the bonus.”
As for Risner, he wanted to clarify that his decision to show up for voluntary OTAs next week is not a shot across the bow of his teammates and their collective decision to skip it. It's about his commitment to excellence as much as the dollars at stake.
“I’ve stayed quiet through this whole process, but yeah, I’m showing up Monday,’’ Risner told 9NEWS. “I know there’s some other guys who are showing up as well. I’ve been at the facility all offseason, and what’s important to me is I like to train with Loren Landow. That’s where I’ve trained most of my whole offseason, and I want to continue training there. I addressed that with my team, and they were very supportive of my decision, so that was awesome.
“I do not want anyone to think I’m going against my team. I’ve been in there the whole offseason. I like to work with Loren Landow. If there wasn’t an offseason bonus, it wouldn’t matter. I’m coming off my second year. I have a lot of work to do. I want a second contract with the Broncos. I have a lot to prove. I respect my teammates’ decision, I really do. I love all my teammates. But for me personally, I was already in there, and I wanted to continue to work out there.”
For Risner, it's not just a matter of money. It's about being a pro and capitalizing on every opportunity to improve and get better. What better way to do that than under the guiding hand of Broncos' O-line coach Mike Munchak — a Hall-of-Fame former guard?
Risner is young. He needs time on task — as does Lock, Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant, KJ Hamler — and just about every offensive player on the Broncos' roster. Glasgow recognizes that but understands how some young vets could be torn.
“I think they’re very important to young players,’’ Glasgow told 9NEWS. “And by workouts, I’m not talking about the early workouts that you can get at a lot of places. But OTAs are very important. Do I think you need 10 OTAs? Probably not. But I think that having a number of practices is important.”
When the rubber meets the road, it'll be interesting to see exactly which vets show up on April 19 to UCHealth Training Center. With questions about how much leadership truly exists on this roster, especially on the offensive side of the ball, all eyes are on Lock to see if he reports.
As a team, the Broncos are moving forward next week with OTAs. Which players will join the team? Time will tell.
Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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