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PDB Sports and Bowlen Sports responded that the pact from Kaiser's 1984 sale of his 60.8% stake to Bowlen is no longer valid because it was a personal one which ended when Kaiser died in 2012.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
Randall Cobb Oct 16 6:40am ET
Randall Cobb

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb will try to bounce back in Week 6 against the Chicago Bears after reeling in 2-of-3 targets for 30 yards in Sunday's 25-22 overtime win against the Cincinnati Bengals. The 31-year-old averages 10.6 air yards per target and owns 9% of the team's target share, ranked 92nd among all wideouts. Cobb will continue to have an expanded role while Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hamstring) remains on the injured reserve. This season, the Bears have been obliterated by WR1s (30th in DVOA) but have been solid against the opposing team's WR2s, which ranks 10th in DVOA versus the opponent's secondary receiver. Cobb is considered a flex play in deep-league formats and is a dart throw at best in Week 6.

From RotoBaller

Robert Tonyan Oct 16 6:20am ET
Robert Tonyan

Green Bay Packers' tight end Robert Tonyan (knee) doesn't have an injury designation for Sunday's Week 6 game against the Chicago Bears. He was a limited participant in practice throughout the week but is all systems go in Week 6. The 27-year-old has caught just 9-of-17 targets for 82 yards and a touchdown over five games in 2021. He averages 8.9 air yards per target (9th in position rank) and 10% of the team's target share, 26th among all tight ends. The Bears are ranked ninth in DVOA against tight ends this year, and a bounce-back week for Tonyan most likely won't happen this Sunday. Fantasy managers can search the waiver wire for a streaming tight end as Tonyan is a mid-range TE2 at best in Week 6.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Jones Oct 16 6:10am ET
Aaron Jones

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (ankle) doesn't have an injury designation for Sunday's Week 6 game against the Chicago Bears. He was a limited participant in practice throughout the week but is all systems go for Week 6. The 26-year-old has rushed for 309 yards on 70 attempts and two touchdowns while catching 17-of-19 targets for 132 yards and three scores over five games in 2021. The Bears have been tough against the run this season and rank fourth in rush DVOA. Despite the tough matchup, Jones is a low-end RB1, and fantasy managers can start the Packers running back with confidence in Week 6.

From RotoBaller

Davante Adams Oct 16 6:00am ET
Davante Adams

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams is coming off his best game of the season in last Sunday's Week 5 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. He hauled in 11-of-16 targets for 206 yards and a touchdown. The Packers star receiver gets the Chicago Bears in Week 6, has been dreadful against WR1s, and is ranked 30th against the opposing team's top targets. Adams has dominated the Bears in the past, reeling in 67 catches for 814 yards and eight touchdowns over 14 games against Chicago in his career. The 28-year-old should have success again versus the Bears, and a is a surefire WR1 in Week 6.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Rodgers Oct 16 5:40am ET
Aaron Rodgers

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has thrown exactly two touchdowns in three straight games and is coming off his first 300-yard effort in last Sunday's Week 5 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The future Hall of Famer gets divisional rival the Chicago Bears in Week 6. Chicago has allowed the fifth-fewest points to quarterbacks and ranks third in pass DVOA this season. Rodgers has completed 107-of-163 attempts for 1,241 passing yards and a 10:3 TD: INT ratio while rushing for eight yards on seven attempts and a score over five games in 2021. The 37-year-old has typically done well against the Bears and has a passing rating of 107.2 with 55 touchdowns over 25 games versus Chicago in his career. Fantasy managers can fire up Rodgers as a low-end QB1 in Week 6.

From RotoBaller

Derek Carr Oct 15 11:00pm ET
Derek Carr

The Denver Broncos defensive line should have the advantage in Week 6 against a Las Vegas Raiders offensive line that ranks 20th in pressure rate allowed and 31st in yards per carry. The key will be limiting big plays in the passing game, as they've allowed seven completions of 30-plus yards this year, which is tied for seventh-most in the league. Kyle Fuller has struggled in one-on-one matchups, but the return of Ronald Darby from Injured Reserve should help this secondary. If Denver can keep Derek Carr from succeeding deep -- only four QBs have completed more 30-plus-yard passes than him -- they have a shot to really slow Vegas' offense down. The Broncos defense has allowed the second-fewest points (76) through five weeks and should have a solid fantasy week if they can get consistent pressure on Carr.

From RotoBaller

Brandon McManus Oct 15 10:50pm ET
Brandon McManus

Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus will be looking to stay perfect in a big matchup against the division-rival Las Vegas Raiders in Week 6. McManus has made all 11 of his field-goal attempts and all nine of his extra-point tries through five weeks to rank him as the No. 8 fantasy kicker. The move from Drew Lock in 2020 to Teddy Bridgewater at QB this year has made a world of difference for Denver's offense in terms of efficiency and lack of turnovers. In turn, McManus has become fantasy relevant on a weekly basis, and it also has helped that Denver ranks 10th in red-zone attempts but just 29th in red-zone success rate. The Broncos have scored touchdowns on just 42.11% of their trips inside the 20-yard line, which means McManus should continue to get his chances this Sunday. He'll easily be a top-10 fantasy kicker in Week 6.

From RotoBaller

Noah Fant Oct 15 10:40pm ET
Noah Fant

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant had just three catches for 20 yards and wasn't targeted until the fourth quarter in the Week 5 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The reason? His lack of involvement was a direct result of the team's decision to slow down Pittsburgh's edge rushers. The Las Vegas Raiders have some impressive pass-rushers of their own, but look for the Broncos to get Fant more involved in the passing game in Week 6. The 23-year-old remains one of Denver's top targets with Jerry Jeudy still out with a high ankle sprain, and the Raiders defense has been generous to opposing tight ends the last three weeks, allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game. At the weakest fantasy position, Fant will remain a midrange TE1 with a prime bounce-back opportunity this Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Tim Patrick Oct 15 10:30pm ET
Tim Patrick

Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick hasn't put up gaudy numbers or done anything overly special with Jerry Jeudy sidelined by a high ankle sprain, but he is quietly one of the NFL's best receivers. Through five weeks, Patrick leads the NFL by a wide margin with a plus-15.8% catch rate over expected. Oh, and he also hasn't dropped a pass in 127 targets since the 2019 season. He's gradually seen an increase in targets as the season has progressed, and he had a season-high seven catches on nine targets for 89 yards in the Week 5 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But because he's not much of a big-play receiver in a middling offense, Patrick has been merely a WR4/flex option in fantasy with Jeudy out. There won't be a ton of upside in Week 6 against a Las Vegas Raiders defense that has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points per game to the receiver position this year.

From RotoBaller

Courtland Sutton Oct 15 10:20pm ET
Courtland Sutton

Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton woke up in the Week 5 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, catching seven of his 11 targets for 120 yards and his first touchdown of the season. Aside from his two 100-yard games, though, Sutton has been pretty quiet despite ranking second behind Davante Adams with 644 air yards in 2021. The 26-year-old was also helped by the fact that Denver was forced to throw while being down multiple scores in the second half last Sunday. The targets will be there for Denver's top option in the passing game, but Sutton will also be facing a Las Vegas Raiders defense in Week 6 that has allowed the fewest fantasy points per game (9.0) to opposing pass-catchers in the last three weeks. He'll be a midrange WR2 for fantasy managers against the division rivals.

From RotoBaller

Javonte Williams Oct 15 10:10pm ET
Javonte Williams

Denver Broncos rookie running back Javonte Williams seems to waiting patiently for his true breakout game with Melvin Gordon III (hip), who is questionable for Week 6 against the Las Vegas Raiders, dealing with nagging injuries in recent weeks. Williams has gains of 31 and 49 yards, respectively, in the last two games and is a true big-play back that can break tackles. He is fifth in the NFL in adjusted yards after contact per rush at 4.3 since Week 2, and he has 5.05 yards per carry for 202 yards and a score on 40 carries in the last four weeks compared to 3.69 yards per carry on 49 attempts for Gordon. There's a chance that Williams finally takes the majority of touches over Gordon this week, which would give him RB2 upside against a Raiders defense that has been vulnerable to running backs in the last three weeks -- 23.1 fantasy points per game allowed to RBs (seventh-most).

From RotoBaller

Teddy Bridgewater Oct 15 10:00pm ET
Teddy Bridgewater

Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and the offense will be looking to carry over their fourth-quarter success in the loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers into a Week 6 meeting with the division-rival Las Vegas Raiders. The Broncos scored 13 points on 10 first downs and 205 yards of total offense in comeback mode in the fourth quarter last week, but the Steelers also were playing softer coverage. Bridgewater has only gone over 300 yards passing once in five games, but he does have a nice TD-to-interception ratio of 7:1 and is completing a career-high 69.8% of his passes. The 28-year-old is taking care of the football, taking plenty of deep shots and taking what the defense gives him. Against a Raiders defense that has looked much better this year, Bridgewater will remain a midrange QB2 in superflex leagues.

From RotoBaller

Russell Wilson Oct 15 9:50pm ET
Russell Wilson

The Seattle Seahawks defense has been inconsistent all season, but they have interesting upside in Week 6 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers offense, outside of Week 5 against the Denver Broncos when they scored more than 17 points for the first time since Week 1, has struggled to consistently put up points. The Steelers have turned the ball over at least once in every game, except for their win against the Buffalo Bills, and the Seahawks defense has gotten at least one takeaway in four out of five games while averaging at least two sacks per game. If the Seattle offense can take care of the ball and sustain drives, which is asking a lot with Geno Smith now in for the injured Russell Wilson (finger), the defense could come out of the game with a solid fantasy performance this week.

From RotoBaller

Alex Collins Oct 15 9:40pm ET
Alex Collins

Seattle Seahawks running back Alex Collins will be getting his second straight start in Week 6 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but we could see him struggle in this matchup. The Steelers haven't been lights-out on defense this year, but they've been pretty good against the run, allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. They remain the lone defense that has yet to give up a touchdown to the running back position. Collins has scored one touchdown thus far, with the majority going to teammate Chris Carson (neck), who was placed on Injured Reserve on Friday. As the primary ball-carrier last Thursday against the Rams, Collins averaged just 3.13 yards per carry, and this matchup doesn't figure to make life easier on him. Collins will be a shaky touchdown-dependent RB3/flex with Geno Smith now at quarterback, while DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer figure to share change-of-pace work.

From RotoBaller

Daniel Jones Oct 15 9:40pm ET
Daniel Jones

This Los Angeles Rams defense has struggled to start the year after looking like one of the best units in the NFL last season, but they're in a great bounce-back spot in Week 6 against the New York Giants. After five games, the Rams D has come away with six turnovers, including five interceptions. The Giants are dealing with a number of injuries across their offense and will be without starting running back Saquon Barkley(ankle) and wide receiver Kenny Golladay (knee). Quarterback Daniel Jones has done a good job of taking care of the football so far this season, but the Rams have the pass rush to get home and really make him uncomfortable, as their 14 sacks are tied for fifth in the NFL. If they can get early pressure on Jones, they have the potential to turn in their best game of the season.

From RotoBaller

Rodrigo Blankenship Oct 15 8:30pm ET
Rodrigo Blankenship

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich said that kicker Rodrigo Blankenship (groin) will be out for Week 6 against the Houston Texans. Blankenship has been a low-end streaming option in fantasy through the first five weeks of the season by making 11 of his 14 field-goal opportunities and seven of his eight extra points, but he tweaked his groin in last week's game and won't be available this Sunday. The Colts have signed Michael Badgley to do the kicking against the Texans, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing kickers to begin the season. Despite the good matchup against the one-win Texans, there are plenty of better kicking options out there.

From RotoBaller

Zach Allen Oct 15 8:30pm ET
Zach Allen

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss the Week 6 game against the Cleveland Browns this Sunday. Quarterbacks coach Cam Turner and defensive lineman Zach Allen also tested positive and will be out this weekend. Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, who has head-coaching experience from his time in Denver, and assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers will split the head-coaching duties against Cleveland. This shouldn't have much effect on Arizona's game plan against the Browns, but it's worth noting as the Cardinals look to remain the NFL's lone unbeaten team.

From RotoBaller

Justin Jackson Oct 15 8:20pm ET
Justin Jackson

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said that running back Justin Jackson (groin) will play in Week 6 against the Baltimore Ravens after missing last week's 47-42 barnburner of a win over the Cleveland Browns. The Chargers will decide between rookie Larry Rountree III and Joshua Kelley for the third running back spot on Sunday. Jackson wasn't listed on the final injury report for this weekend. The 25-year-old has played just 12.2% of the offensive snaps so far this year in four games and has only 10 carries for 22 yards while catching all six of his targets for 27 yards. Behind workhorse Austin Ekeler, no Chargers running back has standalone fantasy value.

From RotoBaller

Danny Amendola Oct 15 8:10pm ET
Danny Amendola

Houston Texans wide receiver Danny Amendola (thigh) and running back Rex Burkhead (hip, knee) are both listed as questionable to play in a Week 6 contest against the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday. Amendola was limited in practice last week as well but remained inactive. In limited action in the first two games of the season, the veteran slot man caught all six of his targets for 43 yards and a touchdown, but he'll be a desperation flex play in the deepest of leagues if he returns to the field against Indy. Chris Moore came out of nowhere to lead the team with five catches, 109 yards and a touchdown in last week's loss to the New England Patriots, but there's a good chance that's an outlier, especially if Amendola returns this weekend. Fantasy managers can't really trust any Houston receiver outside of Brandin Cooks.

From RotoBaller

Josh Jacobs Oct 15 8:10pm ET
Josh Jacobs

Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (illness) was removed from the final injury report for Week 6 against the division-rival Denver Broncos after he missed practice on Thursday but returned to a limited practice on Friday. He'll have his work cut out for him against a Broncos defense that's allowed only 344 rushing yards and two touchdowns to RBs through the first five weeks. Fantasy managers should feel a bit more comfortable rolling Jacobs out as an RB2 this weekend, though, after he had 15 of the team's 17 rushing attempts in the Week 5 loss to the Chicago Bears. He also caught four of five targets for 19 yards and scored a rushing touchdown. Peyton Barber's return from turf toe is a bit concerning, but Jacobs is getting healthier after looking sluggish in his first couple of games.

From RotoBaller