Broncos Team Report

Denver Broncos quarterback Danny Kanell paid attention to the team's movements this offseason. Among the Broncos' moves in free agency, they almost signed quarterback Jeff Garcia, who ended up in Detroit, and showed interest in quarterback Gus Frerotte. Frerotte signed with Miami. The Broncos' desire to upgrade their backup quarterback position was nothing new. Last year they tried to sign Kordell Stewart and Billy Volek but landed neither.

Entering the 2005 season, Drew Brees is coming off a Pro Bowl season that led to the Chargers using their franchise tag to prevent him leaving in free agency.

Brees will earn $8.087 million next season while at the helm of one of the best up-and-coming offensive units in the league.

That's pretty impressive, considering this time last year Brees was on the verge of losing his starting job to first-round pick Philip Rivers after three disappointing seasons. He was already labeled a 'bust' and staring -- everyone assumed -- at a very uncomfortable final season in San Diego before looking for a second chance in the NFL somewhere else.

You can bet Patrick Ramsey knows the story well.

Like Brees last year, the Redskins' quarterback is entering his fourth season with a very tentative grip on a starting job. And like Brees last year, Ramsey has a first-round pick (Jason Campbell) breathing down his neck with a fan base just looking for a reason to call for a switch.

But the comparisons will end there if Ramsey can't step up and lead a Redskins offense that added speed in wide receiver Santana Moss and altered its blocking schemes to better utilize running back Clinton Portis' strengths.

By all accounts, Ramsey is having a strong offseason and has improved on the touch passes that he has struggled with in the past. In addition to rave reviews from coach Joe Gibbs, Ramsey is clearly gaining the trust of his teammates.

"If you ask me, Pat is night and day from last year," running back Clinton Portis said. "Pat looks like Peyton Manning. He's not a Peyton Manning, but the difference in him -- the leadership role, where he's putting the ball, the accuracy, the patience he has -- you can tell he's comfortable."

You can also bet Ramsey knows how much money Brees will earn next season. Because like Brees last year, Ramsey is entering the final year of his contract.

DENVER BRONCOS
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Denver Broncos quarterback Danny Kanell paid attention to the team's movements this offseason.

Among the Broncos' moves in free agency, they almost signed quarterback Jeff Garcia, who ended up in Detroit, and showed interest in quarterback Gus Frerotte. Frerotte signed with Miami.

The Broncos' desire to upgrade their backup quarterback position was nothing new. Last year they tried to sign Kordell Stewart and Billy Volek but landed neither.

Kanell said he figured that is just part of the game. He is used to competition, and will get some this offseason from second-year players Bradlee Van Pelt and Matt Mauck, and maybe another veteran if the Broncos decide to add one at the last minute.

"Danny is our second-team quarterback and he has a lot of competition behind him," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "We'll find out as time goes on if he keeps that position."

Kanell went 0-2 as a starter in 2003, a season in which the Broncos went 1-3 when Jake Plummer was hurt for a month. That's the lingering memory of Kanell, because he didn't take the field last season.

Jake Plummer became the first quarterback in team history to take every snap in a season. Kanell, however, did play well in the preseason. He said last year that having a full offseason to learn the offense made a huge difference for him and he felt much more comfortable than he did in 2003, his first year with the Broncos.

Kanell said he thinks his knowledge of the offense makes him a frontrunner to be the No. 2 quarterback again, because he can help Plummer during the week and between series in a game. However, Kanell will have to take advantage of his reps in training camp to nail down the backup spot.

"It's hard to impress the coaches when all you get is a few throws here and there in practice and you don't get to take the field," Kanell said. "But that's what the offseason is for."

NOTES

--The Broncos were assigned defensive lineman Patrice Majondo-Mwamba as an international practice squad player. He is one of eight players involved with the NFL's International Development Practice Squad program this season.

Majondo-Mwamba is a native of Brussels, Belgium. He played for NFL Europe's Rhein Fire this past season.

--The Broncos filled a NFL Europe exemption with guard Zach Wilson. Wilson has been out of the NFL the past two seasons. He was a four-year starter at Southern Cal and started the past two seasons for NFL Europe's Cologne Centurions.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

--RB Garrison Hearst didn't play poorly when he was called upon last year, but the Broncos don't have much use for him with their crowded backfield.

--DT Ellis Johnson is a productive pass-rushing interior lineman and the Broncos would love to get him back for another season.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

--S Sam Brandon: RFA; $656,000/1 yr.
--T/G Cooper Carlisle: UFA; $2M/2 yrs, $500,000 SB.
--DE Marco Coleman: UFA; terms unknown.
--DT Dorsett Davis: RFA; $656,000/1 yr.
--DT Luther Elliss: UFA; terms unknown.
--OG Ben Hamilton: UFA; $16.25M/5 yrs, $5.5M guaranteed.
--TE Patrick Hape: UFA; terms unknown.
--TE/LS Mike Leach: UFA; terms unknown.
--DE Anton Palepoi: RFA; $656,000/1 yr.
--DT Monsanto Pope: RFA; $656,000/1 yr.
--TE Jeb Putzier: RFA/matched Jets offer; $12.5M/5 yrs, $2.5M SB.
--CB Lenny Walls: RFA; $1.43M/1 yr.
--S Chris Young: ERFA; $380,000/1 yr.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

--TE Stephen Alexander: UFA Lions; $4.2M/3 yrs, $1M bonuses.
--DE Courtney Brown: FA Browns; terms unknown.
--LB Keith Burns: UFA Buccaneers; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--OT Anthony Clement: FA Cardinals; terms unknown.
--RB Ron Dayne: UFA Giants; terms unknown.
--DE Ebenezer Ekuban (trade Browns).
--LB Ian Gold: FA Buccaneers; $25M/6 yrs, $5.75M SB/$2.5M RB '06.
--DT Michael Myers (trade Browns).
--WR Jerry Rice: FA Seahawks; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--P Todd Sauerbrun (trade Panthers).
--OG Cameron Spikes: UFA Cardinals; terms unknown.
--DT Gerard Warren (trade Browns).

PLAYERS LOST

--OG P.J. Alexander (injured).
--P Jason Baker (trade Panthers).
--RB Reuben Droughns (traded Browns).
--DE Reggie Hayward: UFA Jaguars; $25M/5 yrs, SB unknown.
--CB Kelly Herndon: RFA Seahawks; $15M/5 yrs, $3.6M SB.
--S Kenoy Kennedy: UFA Lions; $14M/5 yrs, $4M SB.
--OG Dan Neil (released).
--LB Donnie Spragan: UFA Dolphins; $1.9M/2 yrs, $500,000 SB.

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