Broncos Update Insider - Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Denver Broncos acquired controversial punter Todd Sauerbrun in a trade with the Carolina Panthers, which should improve their special teams. However,there is an unresolved issue with Sauerbrun's contract.

The Broncos sent a seventh-round pick in next year's draft and punter Jason Baker to Carolina in the trade. The trade had been held up because Sauerbrun wanted about $1.8 million of base salary converted to a guaranteed signing bonus. The contract was not renegotiated, but Broncos pulled the trigger on the deal anyway.

The Broncos would be in a tough spot if Sauerbrun doesn't report, because Baker was the only punter on the roster with any experience. Rookie seventh-round pick Paul Ernster, who punted for only one season at Division I-AA Northern Arizona, would be the top candidate aside from Sauerbrun to punt and kick off.

However, the Broncos do have leverage now that they own Sauerbrun's rights.

Sauerbrun's base salaries over the final three years of his contract are $1.2 million this season, $1.295 million in 2006 and $1.4 million in 2007.

"I have not talked to Todd, I have not talked to his agent, but he is under contract with us," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said.

Sauerbrun's agent, David Canter, said before the trade was agreed upon that Sauerbrun wanted the bonus money but was willing to include language in the contract to protect the Broncos if Sauerbrun got in trouble off the field, and they were willing to extend the contract from three years to as many as seven to help reduce Sauerbrun's salary-cap figures.

"We're not asking for (more money) that's not already there (in the existing contract)," Canter said.

Sauerbrun has had plenty of off-the-field controversy, including a verbal war with Martin and Bill Gramatica and a "60 Minutes Wednesday" report last March that he and former Panthers teammates Jeff Mitchell and Todd Steussie had steroid prescriptions filled by a doctor in South Carolina.

Shanahan said he met with Sauerbrun before the trade and went through the issues in his past that have been a problem.

"With the conversations I have had with him, I felt good about those conversations, about the way we run our organization, what we expect, how we handle ourselves," Shanahan said. "Hopefully it works out."

NOTES, QUOTES

-- Denver started a quarterback camp last week. Defensive linemen Courtney Brown (foot) and Ebenezer Ekuban (knee, shoulder) did not participate. Running back Quentin Griffin (knee) was a limited participant. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said Griffin should be full speed by the team's next camp in June. Griffin is coming off surgery for a torn ACL he suffered last season. He had arthroscopic surgery in May to clean out some cartilage.

-- Dwayne Carswell will practice at offensive tackle this offseason, as he did last offseason. Last year, Carswell was switched back to tight end right before the regular season started when the team was thin there, and that could happen again. But Carswell said he expects to start the regular season at tackle.

"He played tackle last year, he can still play the tight end position and I wouldn't be surprised if he can play the guard position," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "He has that type of ability."

-- Undrafted rookie cornerback Brandon Browner was the only player who was unable to participate in Denver's quarterback camp because of a rule that prohibits a rookie from participating in offseason activities until his college class graduates.

Coach Mike Shanahan said Browner should be able to participate in the team's June camp.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm kind of picking up where I left off. I was getting into it at first and in the preseason when they decided to move me." -- TE Dwayne Carswell, who is practicing at tackle during the offseason for the second straight year.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: RB Garrison Hearst; DT Ellis Johnson.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: P Jason Baker; S Sam Brandon; OG Cooper Carlisle; DE Marco Coleman; DT Dorsett Davis; DT Luther Elliss; OG Ben Hamilton; TE Patrick Hape; TE/LS Mike Leach; DE Anton Palepoi; DT Monsanto Pope; TE Jeb Putzier; CB Lenny Walls; S Chris Young.
PLAYERS ACQUIRED: TE Stephen Alexander; DE Courtney Brown; LB Keith Burns; OT Anthony Clement; RB Ron Dayne; DE Ebenezer Ekuban; LB Ian Gold; DT Michael Myers; P Todd Sauerbrun; DT Gerard Warren; G Cameron Spikes.
PLAYERS LOST: P Jason Baker; RB Reuben Droughns; DE Reggie Hayward; CB Kelly Herndon; S Kenoy Kennedy; G Dan Neil, CB Lewis Sanders.

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