Plummer said he understood that the Broncos rarely have a chance to pick in the top half of the first round. Denver sent the 15th overall pick and a third-rounder to St. Louis to move up four spots and draft Cutler at 11th overall. Cutler has a strong arm and his mobility will fit well in Denver's offense, and Plummer admitted he thought Cutler would have a chance to be really good in the NFL.
The timing of the pick was curious, because Plummer is only 31 years old and coming off the best season of his career. Plummer cut down his mistakes and led Denver to a 13-3 record and the AFC Championship Game. In that title game against Pittsburgh, Plummer had four turnovers and the Broncos lost.
General manager Ted Sundquist said that title game performance nor anything else Plummer did led to the team picking Cutler. Denver just couldn't pass up drafting a potential franchise quarterback in the first round.
"Jake has absolutely nothing to apologize for," Sundquist said. "The guy won 14 games for us and we were on the brink of going to the Super Bowl last year. I think it's unfair to say that we didn't advance to the Super Bowl because of the play of Jake Plummer."
Plummer said he wasn't worried about when Cutler would eventually take over as the starter, or that the Broncos picked another quarterback. Plummer said the team showed its commitment to him when it paid him a $6 million option bonus last off-season, and he didn't think picking Cutler was a reflection on his performance last year.
"Last year they stood behind me, (Broncos owner Pat) Bowlen and Shanahan, and said 'He's our guy,'" Plummer said. "They're not going to say that and then one year later, after I had the best year of my career, go out and get a quarterback to slap me in the face and say 'You're not our guy.'"
--Receiver Javon Walker is expected to report to the Broncos' off-season workout program on May 8. He is still rehabilitating a knee injury that cost him most of his 2005 season.
The Broncos checked out Walker's knee before they traded for him, and said he is coming along well. They won't push him hard in the off-season so he is ready for the start of training camp. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he thinks Walker will be full speed for camp.
--Denver finally signed linebacker Nate Webster to a one-year contract. Webster played only four games the past two seasons with Cincinnati because of knee problems. The Broncos think Webster can be a versatile backup at linebacker, something they were lacking.
"He's healthy," Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist said. "He'll be good to go."
--The Broncos agreed to terms with undrafted free agent running back Mike Bell from Arizona hours after the draft. Denver didn't draft a running back and doesn't have a lot of depth at the position so Bell will have a chance to compete for a roster spot.
"He's absolutely thrilled about it," Bell's agent Steve Feldman said. "It's a great opportunity for him.
--Denver brought in six undrafted free agents to go with their seven draftees: Louisiana State outside linebacker Cameron Vaughn, Temple defensive tackle Antwon Burton, Notre Dame fullback Rashon Powers-Neal, North Carolina State wide receiver Brian Clark, Arizona running back Mike Bell and Ohio State defensive back Tyler Everett.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers): S Chris Young.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: WR Charlie Adams; LB Louis Green.
PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: S Sam Brandon; LB Keith Burns; LB Patrick Chukwurah; RB Ron Dayne; DE John Engelberger; LS/TE Mike Leach; OT Matt Lepsis; DT Demetrin Veal; DT Gerard Warren.
PLAYERS ACQUIRED: DE Kenard Lang; WR Javon Walker; LB Nate Webster.
PLAYERS LOST: RB Mike Anderson; DE Marco Coleman; DT Monsanto Pope; DE Trevor Pryce; TE Jeb Putzier.
MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.
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