ENGLEWOOD – Instead of playing for the Buccaneers, it looks as if Jake Plummer would rather not play at all.
Tampa Bay and Denver finalized a deal Friday morning that would have sent the Broncos’ unhappy quarterback to the Buccaneers for draft considerations, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
But a few hours later, the paper reported Plummer had decided to retire, nixing the deal. Plummer’s agent, David Dunn, did not immediately return a phone message left by the Daily Times-Call.
Plummer, who lost his starting job in Denver to rookie Jay Cutler in Week 13 because of poor play, had a strong chance of becoming the starter in Tampa Bay. The Bucs’ projected starter, Chris Simms, had surgery to remove his spleen last September, and has not established himself as an effective NFL quarterback.
It is unclear whether Plummer’s retirement plans are final, or if he would change his mind if traded to another franchise. The Houston Texans, coached by former Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, are reportedly interested.
If Plummer doesn’t retire, the Broncos’ bargaining position will likely be significantly weakened by Friday’s ordeal. Denver controls Plummer’s rights for the next three seasons, but could decide to release him – and the $5.3 million in base salary he’s scheduled to make in 2007.
Tampa Bay reportedly offered Denver a middle-round draft pick in return for the quarterback.
The Plummer talks are one of several negotiations in which the Broncos were involved Friday, the first day of the NFL free-agency period.
Thursday evening, before the window officially opened, Denver finalized a deal to send running back Tatum Bell, offensive lineman George Foster and draft considerations to Detroit in exchange for Pro Bowl cornerback Dre’ Bly.
When coupled with All-Pro cornerback Champ Bailey, Bly could give the Broncos one of the most fortified pass defenses in the league.
Also on Friday, the Broncos will meet with free agent tight end Daniel Graham, who has played five seasons with New England, according to Graham’s agent, Jack Mills.
A Web site reported midday Friday that Graham had already signed with the Broncos, but Mills said the report was “totally false.” However, Mills said the former Colorado Buffaloes standout was interested in playing for Denver.
“It’s one of two or three things that are at the top of his list,” Mills said. “We’re just getting things started.”