Broncos Update Inside Slant - Monday, April 5

Read all the latest notes, quotes, annecdotes and personnel updates about the Broncos in today's edition of the Broncos Update Inside Slant.

Quarterback Jake Plummer is Denver's starter, but look for plenty of competition for the No. 2 job. Just don't include Jarious Jackson in that mix. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he has given Jackson two options - move to safety or be released.

"I think he'd rather go to the Canadian (Football) League and play quarterback there than play safety in the NFL," Shanahan said.

Jackson was a seventh-round pick of the Broncos in 2000 but never developed into the quarterback they had hoped he would. Part of it was a lack of opportunity. But when he was given an opportunity, the results weren't impressive.

He started one game last year - the regular season-finale against Green Bay - completing 4 of 9 passes for 41 yards, with one interception and a 9-yard scramble. His four-year totals: 11 of 22 for 114 yards and a 46.4 passer rating.

"We like him as a guy and we like him as an athlete," Shanahan said of Jackson. "But right now we don't think we're going to give him enough reps at quarterback to keep him around."

Denver recently signed Mike Quinn, and still has Danny Kanell on the roster. Steve Beuerlein is in the mix for now, but there is no indication Denver wants him back. It is more likely he will retire.

Kordell Stewart visited Denver, but nothing has transpired along that front and probably won't.

NOTES, QUOTES, AND ANECDOTES

When free agency started, the Broncos called re-signing "The Big Four" - Al Wilson, Ian Gold, Bert Berry and Reuben Droughns - a top priority. Well, two out of four ain't bad.

With April here, the odds that linebacker Ian Gold will be back in Denver are growing slim. Berry already left to sign with Arizona.

--QB Jake Plummer went to Hawaii to get married March 19, but came home without a wedding ring or a bride. Plummer waited until the last minute to board a flight back to the mainland, settling into first class by himself.

QUOTE TO NOTE

"Those will be their positions to lose." -- Mike Shanahan on officially naming Matt Lepsis the starting right tackle and George Foster the starter on the right side.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

The Broncos, who were hoping Ephraim Salaam might come back for a bargain-basement price, signed veteran tackle Cornell Green upon learning Salaam was headed to Jacksonville. Green gives the Broncos depth at tackle, with Matt Lepsis expected to move from right to left, and former first-round pick George Foster stepping into Lepsis' old spot.

NEEDS/DRAFT PRIORITIES: RB - Garrison Hearst is in the fold, but the Broncos know they can never have enough running backs; DT - The Broncos likely will part ways with Daryl Gardener after a March arbitration hearing, and they're still looking for that impact player in the middle; WR - Rod Smith is still one of the best in the game but he's getting up in the years and Denver needs to start grooming someone to take his place especially now that Ed McCaffrey has retired. It would help if this pick is a big-time return guy as well.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (6): OT Blake Brockermeyer; WR Chris Cole; LB Ian Gold; TE Patrick Hape; S Ryan McNeil; LB Johnny Rutledge.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (3): OG Ben Hamilton; DE Reggie Hayward; LB Donnie Spragan.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS (2): CB Kelly Herndon; S Chris Young.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: FB Reuben Droughns; TE/LS Mike Leach; CB Jimmy Spencer; CB Scott Turner; LB Al Wilson.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED: CB Champ Bailey; DE Marco Coleman; DT Luther Elliss; OT Cornell Green; RB Garrison Hearst; WR Willie Jackson; DE Raylee Johnson; S John Lynch; QB Mike Quinn; CB Reggie Stephens; TE Jed Weaver.

PLAYERS LOST: DE Bert Berry; LB Keith Burns; OG Steve Herndon; RB Clinton Portis; OT Ephraim Salaam.

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