Rod Smith, who had hip surgery in late February, will have a chance to retain his starting spot but Broncos coach Mike Shanahan opened up the competition between Smith and Brandon Marshall, an up-and-coming second-year player.
Smith's health created a problem. If Smith, who will be 37 in May, is slow to recover, the Broncos did not have many options at the No. 3 spot. Smith should be ready for the start of training camp, but that's not guaranteed.
So the Broncos signed former Colts receiver Brandon Stokley to a one-year contract. Stokley himself is coming off a major injury, having ruptured his right Achilles' tendon late last season.
Stokley could be limited during training camp but he is on pace to be ready for the season opener.
"It's not easy going on the market as an injured player but he has confidence he'll be 100 percent," his agent Rick Smith said. "It's a one-year situation and hopefully it's a lot longer."
When healthy, Stokley can make an impact. In 2004 he had more than 1,000 yards as a slot receiver for Indianapolis. The Broncos have stocked up on offense this offseason, adding running back Travis Henry, tight end Daniel Graham and now Stokley.
"He thinks he can do very similar things to what he did in Indianapolis," Smith said.
--Linebacker Al Wilson understands why he is being shopped in trade talks, his agent said.
"Al loves Denver and has a lot of respect for the organization and players, but he knows there's a business side to it," Wilson's agent Peter Schaffer said.
The Broncos are shopping Wilson in part because he is scheduled to make $5.2 million this season.
--If the Broncos trade middle linebacker Al Wilson, D.J. Williams will get a bump in playing time and maybe a position change. Williams, who has come off the field in nickel situations, could replace Wilson in the middle. The team also has Nate Webster as a backup at all three linebacker positions.
--Defensive end Courtney Brown was released by the Broncos. Brown was the top pick of the 2000 draft but he couldn't stay healthy. Minor knee surgery last August kept him out of the preseason, and his knee never healed. He had microfracture surgery, went on injured reserve without playing a game last season, and his career could be over.
--The Broncos finally announced the signing of quarterback Patrick Ramsey. Ramsey has some experience, which the Broncos were looking for. They didn't want another young quarterback backing up Jay Cutler in his second year.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I've had some injuries that have made it tough, but you have to get over it." -- DE Courtney Brown, last September on his injury-filled career
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--LB Keith Burns will probably be back. He is a good leader and a special-teams fixture.
--OG Cooper Carlisle will likely test the open market. The Broncos want the versatile Carlisle back, but they have solid depth if he leaves.
--DT Michael Myers is a solid, steady performer in the middle. Quality defensive linemen usually get attention in free agency, so the Broncos will wait to see if it is prudent to re-sign him.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--FB Cecil Sapp (tendered at $1.3M with 2nd-round pick as compensation) is a talented player who fills many roles. Even though he's coming off an injury, he should be back.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: Not available.
--LB Louis Green: Potential RFA; 3 yrs, terms unknown.
--WR Quincy Morgan: UFA; terms unknown.
--DT Kenny Peterson: UFA; terms unknown.
--CB Dre' Bly (trade Lions).
--TE Daniel Graham: UFA Patriots; $30M/5 yrs, $15M guaranteed.
--RB Travis Henry: FA Titans; 5 yrs, $12M guaranteed; other terms unknown.
--OG Montrae Holland: UFA Saints; $1M/1 yr, SB unknown.
--DT Alvin McKinley: UFA Browns; $8M/4 yrs, SB unknown.
--QB Patrick Ramsey: FA Jets; $4.5M/2 yrs, SB unknown.
--FB Paul Smith: UFA Rams; $2.55M/3 yrs, $300,000 SB.
--WR Brandon Stokley: FA Colts; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--DT Dan Wilkinson (trade Dolphins).
--RB Tatum Bell (traded Lions).
--DE Courtney Brown (released).
--DE Patrick Chukwurah: UFA Buccaneers; $5.5M/5 yrs, SB unknown.
--OT George Foster (traded Lions).
--RB Damien Nash (deceased).
--QB Jake Plummer (traded Buccaneers).
--CB Darrent Williams (deceased).
Broncos Update Community Forums