Broncos Update Insider - Sunday, June 25

Re-signing defensive tackle Gerard Warren was a big priority for the Denver Broncos in the offseason. The Broncos were thrilled with Warren after acquiring him from the Browns last season. Check out some of the other important offseason moves the Broncos made in today's edition of Broncos Update Insider.

The Broncos' three most important offseason moves:

1. Getting receiver Javon Walker in a draft-day deal with the Green Bay Packers was a huge boost to a generally quiet offseason for the Denver Broncos. Walker, who was acquired for a second-round pick, isn't without risk. He missed almost all of last season with a knee injury. But the Broncos expect him to be ready by training camp, and if he's healthy he is a gamebreaker the Broncos haven't had in a few years.

Combining Walker with Rod Smith should keep defenses honest. Walker is a dangerous threat, and Smith is coming off a Pro Bowl season. The dual threats should also open up things for Denver's already potent running game.

2. Re-signing defensive tackle Gerard Warren was a big priority for the Broncos in the offseason. Denver hasn't had a top-notch defensive tackle for a long time, and the Broncos were thrilled with Warren after acquiring him from the Browns last season.

Denver has to be a bit wary that Warren's work ethic might slip now that he has a big contract, but there's no evidence that has been the case this offseason. The Broncos want to feature Warren more in their defensive scheme this year, so look for Warren to have many more chances to impact games.

3. The Broncos made three significant cuts on the same day in March. Running back Mike Anderson, defensive end Trevor Pryce and tight end Jeb Putzier were all let go before free agency began. All three were key members of last year's AFC West championship team.

Anderson and Pryce were aging, but the Broncos didn't do much to replace them. Defensive end Kenard Lang was signed, but he is more of a situational player than Pryce was for the Broncos. Denver stood pat at running back, hoping Ron Dayne and Tatum Bell can handle the load. Putzier's spot will be filled by rookie second-round pick Tony Scheffler, which is a gamble considering Putzier was Denver's third-leading receiver last year.

NOTES, QUOTES

--The Broncos returned to their offseason conditioning program on June 19, after a week off. The coaching staff gave them a week off after three straight weeks of organized team activity camps.

"I think it is a good break for the players," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said.

Denver will have its mandatory minicamp from July 6-8, the only NFL team that holds its minicamp in July.

--Despite plenty of rumors, the Broncos haven't yet traded receiver Ashley Lelie. They could wait until training camp to get better value for him from a team that has some injuries at receiver. Lelie, who wants to be a No. 1 receiver, could hold out deep into training camp and maybe into the regular season if he is not traded.

The Broncos are deep at receiver and thin at tight end and running back, so using Lelie in a trade to bolster those positions could be a possibility.

--Broncos coach Mike Shanahan recently spoke at a motivational seminar at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and Gen. Colin Powell were among the other speakers there. Shanahan is a good public speaker who does less than 10 speaking engagements per year because of his schedule.

Shanahan said he enjoys public speaking but wouldn't consider doing it regularly once his coaching career is done.

"That's not me," Shanahan said. "I would do it in certain situations, but that's not my personality to do a bunch of them. I do a few and try to do a real good job."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "They know it's a process. You've got to get better day-by-day. If you, you have a chance to make something happen." -- Broncos coach Mike Shanahan.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

The two major issues the Broncos still need to attend to are signing their rookie class and figuring out what to do with disgruntled receiver Ashley Lelie.

Although none of the rookies are signed, it shouldn't be a major problem to get them all in by the time camp starts. The Broncos have an excellent track record of getting rookies into training camp on time.

Lelie is a tougher dilemma. Lelie is upset because he wants the chance to be a No. 1 receiver and has shown no indication he will be at Denver's mandatory minicamp on July 6-8 or show up to training camp on time. Lelie could be traded to add depth at another position of need.

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; CB Willie Middlebrooks; WR Javon Walker; LB Nate Webster.
PLAYERS LOST: RB Mike Anderson; DE Marco Coleman; TE Wesley Duke; DT Monsanto Pope; DE Trevor Pryce; TE Jeb Putzier.


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