The clock is ticking, John Elway's stomach is churning and Elvis Dumervil has a tough decision to make. By no later than 1:59 p.m. Friday, Dumervil will either take a pay cut or be gone from the Broncos.
"These are the deals that wrench your gut," Elway said Thursday. Elway stood in team headquarters, one floor above the Denver locker room, in the executive offices where he must make tough decisions that impact the lives of athletes.
Dumvervil can take the offer. Or leave.
"As an ex-player, I hate to see that. I hated to see that happen to a teammate. And I hate having to do it, in the position I'm in. But I've got to do what's best for this football team," Elway said.
Question is: Would you take a 35 percent pay cut to keep a job you loved? So should Dumervil? It appears to be his only choice, if he wants to remain in Denver.
The Broncos have determined it would be foolhardy to pay Dumervil $12 million per year, a salary the team obviously thinks is extravagant.
"It's not all about dollars. But when it's way out of whack? Then it's so out of whack that you've got to say: That (salary) can't be it. Especially when you look at the market and what's out there now," Elway told me. "It's so far out of whack. Hopefully, he realizes that."
In the NFL, a soft heart can't get in the way of a tough negotiating stance.