The Associated Press
Elvis Dumervil was staying with the Denver Broncos.
And then, he wasn't.
On another busy day of NFL free agency, the highlight -- or lowlight -- came after a strange sequence of events in which the Broncos and the defensive end reached an agreement on a new deal that ended up not valid because the paperwork was filed too late.
And now, Dumervil is a free agent.
Also Friday, Greg Jennings left Green Bay to head to rival Minnesota, Dustin Keller became the latest member of the Jets to leave and Kevin Kolb was released by Arizona.
A person familiar with the negotiations gave The Associated Press details about the confusion involving Dumervil and the Broncos. The person did not want to be identified because the negotiations were not public.
According to that person, the day played out like this:
-- At 1:25 p.m., Denver time, Dumervil agreed to take a $4 million pay cut to remain with the AFC West champions for 2013.
-- The paperwork was ready to be signed and sent to the league. But with the clock ticking on a 1:59 p.m. deadline, the Broncos were not seeing any sign of the signed copy on their fax machine.
-- With no signed contract in hand as 1:59 approached, the Broncos were forced to cut Dumervil, because once the 1:59 deadline passed, they were on the hook for the $12 million they owed him in the original contract.
-- The team received the signed contract via fax at 2:06 p.m. That was seven minutes past the deadline and about 15 minutes later than they needed to receive it so they could review it and send it to the league.
Broncos front office chief John Elway said the team delivered its final contract proposal to Dumervil at 11 a.m. and set a 1 p.m. deadline for a decision. Elway said Dumervil accepted the contract at around 1:25 and "although we expressed our concern regarding the time constraints, we were assured that the signed documents would be submitted to us before the league's waiver deadline."
"We did not receive the documents from Elvis by the league's deadline and were forced to release him shortly before 2 p.m. MDT," Elway said.
Dumervil's agent, Marty Magid, did not return messages left by AP via text and voicemail.
Though the sides had agreed on a deal, the odds of Dumervil returning to Denver are hampered because cutting him could leave them with a salary cap hit of up to nearly $5 million.
Jennings spent seven years getting the best of the Vikings' secondary while playing for their bitter rivals in Green Bay. No longer feeling as important to the Packers after two seasons shortened by injuries, Jennings crossed the border and found a team that welcomed him with desperately open arms.
Jennings signed a five-year contract with the Vikings on Friday, leaving Aaron Rodgers and that high-octane passing offense in Green Bay for the unproven Christian Ponder and the ground-and-pound Vikings. In 2011, he missed three games with a sprained left knee. He said he felt lost in the shuffle behind younger Packers receivers such as James Jones, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb and sounded determined to prove that his best years are not behind him.
"I can definitely still do it," said Jennings, who will turn 30 on Sept. 21. "I can definitely still make plays and be as exciting as I was in my earlier years."
Arizona released Kolb, ending the quarterback's two injury-filled seasons with the team. The move came just ahead of the deadline for paying Kolb a $2 million roster bonus. The Cardinals paid Kolb some $20 million over two seasons after acquiring him in a trade that sent a second-round draft pick and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The move reportedly saved $7 million in salary cap space. Meanwhile, the Cardinals were spending the money left and right, agreeing to terms on one-year contracts with former San Diego and ex-University of Arizona cornerback Antoine Cason and ex-Oakland defensive end Matt Shaughnessy.
In Miami, Ryan Tannehill now has plenty of potential pass targets, thanks to a spending spree by the Dolphins.
Miami signed Keller and wideout Brandon Gibson to complete a much-needed upgrade of the receiving corps. The Dolphins earlier added Mike Wallace, the top pass-catcher in free agency, and re-signed wideout Brian Hartline last week.
The moves transform the passing game into a potential strength.
"We feel that we have added some very good pieces to our passing game," general manager Jeff Ireland said.