Broncos very active in free agency

The Denver Broncos didn't tiptoe into free agency. They added plenty of fresh blood to the roster with a signing spree in the first week.

The biggest signing was safety Brian Dawkins, a seven-time Pro Bowl player with the Eagles. He fills a huge need, considering the Broncos were very weak at safety last season and needed two new starters. The Broncos tried new starting safeties most of the season, never finding a satisfactory answer at both spots.

With all the free-agent movement, Dawkins was impressed with the direction the team is headed. "We are not trying to rebuild something," Dawkins said. "We are trying to build right now and win right now."

Every area of the Broncos roster was addressed. Receiver Jabar Gaffney, running backs Correll Buckhalter and LaMont Jordan were added to the offense. After a snag in the contract halted Denver's first attempts at signing him, running back J.J. Arrington was finally signed. The Broncos also tried signing David Anderson, a restricted free agent, but the Texans matched the offer.

The Broncos weren't expected to add much to an already talented offense aside from tailback, which is now very crowded. There isn't one clear-cut starter among the group, but new coach Josh McDaniels comes from New England, where multiple tailbacks were used to fill different roles in the running game. Receiver depth was also an apparent concern for the club, given the signing of Gaffney and the attempt to land Anderson, despite the presence of Eddie Royal, Brandon Marshall and Brandon Stokley on the roster.

Defensively, the Broncos had a lot of holes and went about filling them. Linebacker Andra Davis, safety Renaldo Hill and defensive tackles Darrell Reid and Ronald Fields and cornerback Andre Goodman were added to a defense that struggled most of last year.

Many of those defensive players can fit in the 3-4 defense, which will be used by the Broncos this season, although the coaching staff insists it won't be the look they use on all downs. Denver needed new players on defense after releasing five players who started on defense last year just before free agency began.

Also, the Broncos signed long-snapper Lonie Paxton, a former Patriot, to show that all areas would be addressed. Denver subsequently released long-time long-snapper Mike Leach.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Broncos addressed most of their needs in the first week of free agency. They still weren't done, however. Quarterback Chris Simms was officially signing with the team, which would clear up the backup quarterback spot. Patrick Ramsey was last year's backup, and he is a free agent.

Denver won't stop looking for good bargains on defense. Depth on the defensive line, at cornerback and linebacker are still priorities, although those spots will also get addressed in the draft.



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