Dale Carter and Broncos Fighting?

The Denver Broncos are still mad about losing Dale Carter -- or more accurately, the money they spent on Dale Carter. Now they could start a new trend by taking Carter to court.

For months before he was actually signed by the Vikings, VU learned that the team was interested in bringing in Dale Carter.

While their interest was no secret, getting him was tougher. First, the NFL had to reinstate him from a substance abuse suspension, which took longer than anticipated. Then, Denver had to release him.

The second part of that equation is bubbling to a head in Colorado, where the short-term future of the Broncos hangs in the balance with Carter in the middle of the controversy.

When signing with Denver, he was given a signing bonus of nearly $8 million -- $3.2 million of which the Broncos are convinced they should get back. If they don't get it back, it will count against their 2002 salary cap -- and they are willing to go to great lengths to get it.

VU has been told by a Broncos source that the team is willing to take Carter to court to get their money back. They can't reduce their cap amount until they get the money from Carter and that doesn't look likely.

Last week, Carter filed for bankruptcy, which in most cases clears out previous debt. For this reason, it may take a little longer to finalize a new contract, since some believe the need for bankruptcy isn't necessary when a potential $20 million deal looms on the horizon -- a figure being thrown out in New Orleans as a potential paying rate for Carter.

The Broncos are serious about trying to get their money back, because in the era of the salary cap, $3.2 million would be enough to pay for all of your rookies in a given draft year or be used to sign two or three veteran free agents.

It's unclear whether the Broncos can get the kind of courtroom justice they're convinced they're due, but it could set a new precedent for the NFL, as teams take players and the league to task for failings of the past.

* The Rams are officially off the list of suitors for Kailee Wong. The Rams signed former Buc Jamie Duncan over the weekend and have said Wong is no longer in their sights. Wong does have a visit scheduled this week with Houston.
* In other Rams news, the team is set to meet with Cris Carter Wednesday and, from what VU is hearing, could discuss a contract anywhere from one year to three years. However, coach Mike Martz said he wants to make sure that free agent Az-zahir Hakim doesn't want to stay -- or at least not accept the offer the Rams will make before moving on without him. In addition, a Rams source said the team will discuss a Carter signing with veteran Isaac Bruce to get his impressions on whether he thinks Carter would be bad karma. Don't expect a bad report from Reverend Ike.
* Shawn Worthen isn't going to be helping his own cause heading into the preseason. He had surgery on a torn pectoral muscle and is expected to miss both of the team's post-draft mini-camps.
* Byron Chamberlain and the Vikings aren't getting any closer to a deal and VU is being told that visits are expected to be scheduled with Chamberlain and the Lions, Cowboys and Patriots.
* The Vikings are trying to set up a visit with WR Donald Hayes of the Panthers. He is getting some interest from the Packers, Patriots and Texans, as well as a push by some within the Panthers organization to try to get him to stay in Carolina.
* Hunter Goodwin left Minneapolis without a contract offer and apparently isn't going to wait by the phone for the Vikings to call. Visits have been scheduled with the Lions and Raiders while the Vikings try to sort out their own situation at tight end.

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