Broncos Update Insider - 6/1

As expected, first-round pick Ryan Clady started his Denver Broncos career as the first-string left tackle.

As expected, first-round pick Ryan Clady started his Denver Broncos career as the first-string left tackle.

The job is one of the most important for the franchise, considering it is building around third-year quarterback Jay Cutler. The good news for the Broncos is Clady did not seem overwhelmed by anything during his first team off-season camp.

"It's been good," Clady said. "Just been working hard and trying to learn the system."

Clady fills the spot vacated when Matt Lepsis retired. The Broncos suddenly have pretty good depth on the line. Chris Kuper, a starter at left guard last year, was penciled in at left tackle before Clady was drafted, but he has moved to first-team right tackle.

Ryan Harris, a promising third-round pick last year, and Erik Pears, who started at left tackle for most of 2006 and right tackle in 2007, are the backups at right and left tackle, respectively. Denver fortified its interior line in the off-season by getting center Tom Nalen and guard Ben Hamilton back from injuries that ended their seasons in 2007.

The key to the line could be how quickly Clady develops. He is athletically gifted -- his teammates have already dubbed him "Sweet Feet" -- and large enough to handle playing left tackle in the NFL.

The Broncos understand how much they are putting on Clady's shoulders as a rookie, but they're impressed with what they have seen so far.

"There's a lot of pressure on him mentally, there's going to be a lot of pressure on him physically," coach Mike Shanahan said. "We feel like he has the ability to compete. We're going to start him out as the No. 1, but he's got to earn that position."

NOTES, QUOTES

--Broncos tight end Tony Scheffler will wear a boot until early June, then the team will determine when he can return to practice. Scheffler is experiencing soreness in the same foot he broke last year, an injury that caused him to miss the start of training camp.

"We're more preventative right now, we don't want to aggravate it," coach Mike Shanahan said.

--The Broncos held defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson out of a few days of the May off-season camp. He is recovering from wrist and knee injuries and the team thought it best to get him 100 percent through rehab.

--Quarterback Jay Cutler, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in April, has put on about 20-25 pounds since the end of last season and said he is adjusting well to his new lifestyle.

"I feel fine," Cutler said. "I feel like I did last year at camp and before. I feel fine."

--The Broncos held a grand opening for the Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center, which is at the team-sponsored Boys and Girls Club. Williams was shot and killed on Jan. 1, 2007.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "If I start, that's a great thing. If not, I'll play the role as a backup. Whatever it takes to help this team win." -- New Broncos RB Michael Pittman.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--TE Stephen Alexander will probably retire. RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None. EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None. PLAYERS ACQUIRED
--LB Boss Bailey: UFA Lions; $17.5M/5 yrs, $4.35M SB.
--WR Keary Colbert: UFA Panthers: $7.3M/3 yrs, SB unknown.
--OG Dylan Gandy: FA Colts; terms unknown.
--WR Darrell Jackson: FA 49ers; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--LB Niko Koutouvides: UFA Seahawks; $7.5M/3 yrs, SB unknown.
--S Marquand Manuel: UFA Panthers; $4.5M/3 yrs, $500,000 guaranteed.
--S Marlon McCree: FA Chargers; terms unknown. --WR Samie Parker: UFA Chiefs; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--RB Michael Pittman: UFA Buccaneers; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--DT Dewayne Robertson (trade Jets).
--C Casey Wiegmann: UFA Chiefs; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED
--S Hamza Abdullah: RFA; $972,000/1 yr.
--DE Ebenezer Ekuban: UFA; 1 YR, terms unknown.
--DE John Engelberger: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--CB Domonique Foxworth: Potential RFA; $972,000/1 yr.
--TE Nate Jackson: UFA; $2M/2 yrs, SB unknown.
--CB Karl Paymah: Potential RFA; $972,000/1 yr.
--OT Erik Pears: Potential ERFA; terms unknown.
--FB Cecil Sapp: UFA; $645,000/1 yr, $40,000 SB; 2008 cap: $485,000.

PLAYERS LOST
--K Jason Elam: UFA Falcons; $9M/4 yrs, $3.3M SB.
--S Nick Ferguson: UFA Texans; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--LB Ian Gold (released).
--LB Warrick Holdman (released).
--OT Matt Lepsis (retired).
--C Chris Myers: RFA; traded Texans.
--FB Paul Smith (released).
--OG Isaac Snell (released).
--S Marviel Underwood (released).
--WR Javon Walker (released).



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