The only action at the NFL’s trade deadline on Tuesday came in Denver, where tight end Vernon Davis arrived to take his physical and begin learning the language of Peyton Manning’s suddenly revved-up offense.
Joe Thomas will not be joining them.
Switching teams in pro football is not as easy as it is in other sports, so there is usually a scarcity of midseason moves, and even Sunday’s rash of injuries to key players served to quash talks rather than ignite talks.
After filling a void at tight end, Broncos GM John Elway explored an even bigger splash, but the Broncos and Browns could not reach agreement on a blockbuster deal for Thomas, Cleveland’s eight-time Pro Bowl left tackle.
“The trading deadline creates a lot of controversy and a lot scuttlebutt that generally results in nothing,” Browns general manager Ray Farmer told reporters after the deadline passed quietly. “We had some conversations and, at the end of the day, they all resulted in the same thing — nothing.”
After acquiring Davis and a late-round draft pick Monday for a pair of sixth-round picks, Elway said his philosophy was to make a deal if it made both organizational and financial sense.
“I think that we’re always trying to get better,” Elway said. “We’re not going to mortgage the future to do it, but if we can add to our football team now and feel like it makes us better, we’re going to look at opportunities like that.”
Denver will stick with a platoon of left tackles Ryan Harris and Tyler Polumbus protecting Manning’s blindside. Both players were jettisoned by the Broncos several years ago, only to be brought back this season when injuries riddled the O-line.
Ryan Clady tore an ACL in May and his replacement, rookie Ty Sambrailo, is headed for surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder that has sidelined him since September.
Although there were no deadline deals, there were plenty of moves across the league on Tuesday: The Chargers placed star receiver Keenan Allen on season-ending injured reserve with a lacerated kidney.
The Cowboys released embattled running back Joseph Randle.
The 49ers signed running back Pierre Thomas.
And the Titans fired coach Ken Whisenhunt after a 1-6 start and hired Mike Mularkey interim coach.
The Broncos are one of the league’s four 7-0 teams, but had two big concerns: tight end and left tackle after losing third-round pick Jeff Heuerman and Clady to knee injuries during off-season workouts this spring.
The Broncos have long had their eye on Davis, the sixth overall draft pick in 2006 and the 49ers’ franchise leader at his position in catches and touchdowns. However, they wanted to make sure he had overcome a recent knee injury. With 10 catches for 85 yards over San Francisco’s past two games, they were satisfied and signed off on the deal on Monday.
Elway figures Davis can help clear out the middle of the field where opponents have bunched their defenders, throttling Denver’s ground game and crowding Manning’s passing lanes.
“Obviously it’s going to take him a little bit of time to get used to what we’re doing,” Elway said. “We’d like to get him in there as soon as we can.”
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