Denver Broncos Hot Topics - Sunday, May 14

When the Denver Broncos drafted quarterback Jay Cutler in the first round, it not only affected starter Jake Plummer, but it also didn't bode well for Bradlee Van Pelt.

Van Pelt, who spent all of last season as Plummer's backup after spending his first year on Denver's practice squad, will at some point be pushed to third on the depth chart. The Broncos would like to keep all three quarterbacks on the roster, but that's a commitment they have been unwilling to make in previous years.

The Broncos have spent most of the past three seasons with only two quarterbacks on the active roster. They might more strongly consider keeping three this year because Cutler will be a rookie, but Van Pelt realizes that he'll have an incredibly tough task holding off Cutler for long.

"This is a big business," Van Pelt said. "Sometimes money talks. Who are we joking?"

Van Pelt was a seventh-round pick who has great athleticism and made plenty of strides last season. The Broncos liked Van Pelt's progress, but not so much that they were going to pass up the chance to draft a potential franchise quarterback like Cutler.

Van Pelt said he won't give up his spot without a fight, no matter how steep the odds. Van Pelt, who is popular among most Broncos fans because of his outgoing personality and his rebellious play at Colorado State in college, will probably see his practice time limited as the team tries to get Cutler to grasp the offense as quickly as possible.

Van Pelt said he was unfazed because he has plenty of confidence in his own abilities.

"I have nothing to be worried about," Van Pelt said. "I'm going to play football for a long time. Whether it's here or somewhere else, I can't control that."


--Receiver Javon Walker was happy to secure a five-year contract extension with the Denver Broncos, which will start after this season.

"We are excited about reaching an agreement that rewards Javon for being the player he is," Walker's agent, Kennard McGuire, said.

--Denver has a passing camp the week of May 16-19, which will be the first time Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler can show how much of the offense he has picked up in the weeks after the draft.

Mike Shanahan's offense is famously complicated and even a veteran quarterback like Jake Plummer didn't fully grasp all of the intricacies of it until his third season in Denver.


UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers) --S Chris Young (not tendered as RFA) was injured last season, but he was a promising player and still could return.
--WR Charlie Adams had a decent season as Denver's third receiver and will be back.
--LB Louis Green is a good special teams player who fills a role for the Broncos.
--S Sam Brandon: Potential UFA; terms unknown.
--LB Keith Burns: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--LB Patrick Chukwurah: UFA; terms unknown.
--RB Ron Dayne: UFA; 3 yrs, terms unknown.
--DE John Engelberger: Potential UFA; 3 yrs, $750,000 SB.
--LS Mike Leach: UFA; 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--OT Matt Lepsis: Potential UFA; $25M/4 yrs, SB unknown.
--DT Demetrin Veal: ERFA; terms unknown.
--DT Gerard Warren: UFA; 6 yrs, terms unknown.
--DE Kenard Lang: FA Browns; $5.9M/3 yrs, $900,000 RB; 2006 cap: $1.9M.
--WR Javon Walker: Trade Packers.
--LB Nate Webster: UFA Bengals; $1.505M/2 yrs, $200,000 SB; 2006 cap: $685,000.
--RB Mike Anderson (released).
--DE Marco Coleman (retired).
--DT Monsanto Pope: UFA Jets; $625,000/1 yr, $40,000 SB.
--DE Trevor Pryce (released).
--TE Jeb Putzier (released).
MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.

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