Broncos Update Insider - Monday, Mar. 28

The Denver Broncos hope that tight end Stephen Alexander can give their offense some different looks. The Broncos signed Alexander in hopes that having he and Jeb Putzier on the field together will give Denver's offense more options.

"The addition of Stephen, along with Jeb, gives us what we feel is a very dynamic, if not lethal, combination at tight end," Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist said.

Putzier was retained after the Jets signed him to an offer sheet. Putzier was a restricted free agent who had a breakout season last year. He can line up at many different positions on the field, and the Broncos often lined him up split wide last season.

Alexander is also a capable pass catcher, and the Broncos can mix and match the two in different positions on the field when they're both in the game.

"I think this gives us two big, talented receivers that we can use to create various mismatches in the passing game," Sundquist said.

The Broncos hope that having two targets playing tight end can help them in the red zone. Denver was 14th in the AFC last season in red-zone efficiency, scoring touchdowns in only 24 of their 53 trips inside the 20-yard line.

Alexander caught 41 passes for 377 yards last year with Detroit. He twice has had 510-yard seasons, in 2000 with Washington and two years later with San Diego.

NOTES, QUOTES

--The Broncos re-signed punter Jason Baker, hoping his inconsistency last season was because he joined the team in midseason. Baker was signed after the Broncos tired of Micah Knorr's inconsistency. Baker struggled at times kicking off and punting but got better as the season wore on.

Whoever wins the Broncos' punting job -- the Broncos also have Tyler Fredrickson and Jeff Crowell on the roster -- will also kick off for Denver.

--Denver was awarded two third-round picks as free-agent compensation by the NFL. The Broncos lost free agents Ian Gold, Bertrand Berry and Keith Burns last season.

Denver has plenty of needs to fill with those picks and needed them to help their draft depth. Before getting the compensatory picks the Broncos didn't have any picks from the second to the sixth round of the draft.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "The only reason for that would be the opportunity to start. I'm looking at it from that manner only. I want to be on the field the whole time." -- Former Broncos cornerback Kelly Herndon, on his hope that Denver wouldn't match the offer sheet given to him by Seattle.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

NEEDS/DRAFT PRIORITIES:
1. Defensive line. Even before the team decided to trade Trevor Pryce, defensive line was a priority. They need players who can beat offensive linemen in a one-on-one situation and get to the quarterback. 2. Cornerback: The Broncos lost cornerback Kelly Herndon to Seattle and now are thin behind starters Lenny Walls and Champ Bailey. The free-agent market for cornerbacks is pretty thin so the Broncos might need to focus on getting another cornerback in the draft. 3. Offensive line: The starting five is set -- either P.J. Alexander or Cooper Carlisle can start at right guard -- but gaining depth would be nice. The Broncos will undoubtedly draft a lineman at some point, and he will be a player who can play multiple positions along the line. FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: DE Marco Coleman; DT Luther Elliss; TE Patrick Hape; RB Garrison Hearst; DT Ellis Johnson.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: S Sam Brandon; DT Dorsett Davis; DE Anton Palepoi; DT Monsanto Pope; CB Lenny Walls.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: S Chris Young.
PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: P Jason Baker; OG Cooper Carlisle; OG Ben Hamilton; TE/LS Mike Leach; TE Jeb Putzier.
PLAYERS ACQUIRED: TE Stephen Alexander; LB Keith Burns; LB Ian Gold; DT Gerard Warren.
PLAYERS LOST: DE Reggie Hayward; CB Kelly Herndon; S Kenoy Kennedy.

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