Broncos Update Insider - 5/14

The Broncos have a unique rookie this season, one who will try to balance making an impression with his new team with serving his country.

Defensive lineman Ben Garland was one of Air Force's best players, a disruptive and productive player even though he played a less-than-glamorous nose guard position in the Falcons' defense. He caught the Broncos' eye because they thought he could fit in as a defensive end in their 3-4, and had the character and effort qualities they look for.

So despite other offers after not being drafted, the Colorado native decided to go with his home-state team. However, Garland isn't like the rest of Denver's rookie undrafted free agent class, because he still has a military commitment. He plans to do double duty, working with the Air Force to serve his two years while practicing with the Broncos.

"Anytime you have two separate dreams like that, it motivates you to work for it," Garland said.

Garland admits it will be challenging, but he has the desire to do both. He is taking a cue from a recently graduated Air Force hockey player who is serving his commitment while playing in the minor leagues.

Garland thinks he'll be able to make all of the minicamps, and he'll use his annual leave to be with the Broncos for training camp. Most likely, he'll end up on the reserve/military list, which will give him a chance to stick with the organization while he serves and continues to pick up a little NFL experience, even if it's just in the offseason.

Garland made a positive impression at his first rookie minicamp. The team is willing to work around his schedule because it sees some potential.

"It's a unique situation, but he's a kid that is excited to be here and will work his tail off to try and create a role for himself here," Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said. "I think he cares about this game and being from this area I think he's fond of this place."

NOTES, QUOTES

--The Broncos have a quarterback camp this week, their first full team organized practice of the offseason. There was a rookie minicamp after the draft, and the mandatory minicamp is in June.

This camp is another opportunity to see the progress of rookie quarterback Tim Tebow as he tries to adjust to the pro game.

--Defensive tackle Ronald Fields' arrest, first reported by Denver television station KDVR-TV, was for misdemeanor charge of unlawful carrying of a weapon. He was arrested after witnesses say they saw him flashing a gun. Fields could possibly face disciplinary action from the NFL.

--Rookie receiver Demaryius Thomas' development will be a big storyline for the Broncos over the summer. The team is thin at receiver and needs him to contribute right away. He played in a simple passing offense at Georgia Tech, but the coaches were impressed with his ability to pick up their offensive tendencies during a pre-draft visit.

"I think that's a thing that he can process and allows him to get on the field and contribute to our team," Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't really look at it as pressure; I don't really look at it as an expectation. I look at it like, 'What can I control?' I'm going to go in there and I'm going to work as hard as I can every day." -- Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--P Mitch Berger was a midseason signee who had an up-and-down year. With the late-season addition of Britton Colquitt, don't expect Berger back.
--S Vernon Fox added some depth on special teams late in the year. He could return for camp.
--OT Brandon Gorin gave the Broncos some experience at tackle but was not the primary backup at the position. Denver could look elsewhere.
--DE Vonnie Holliday was a pleasant surprise as an addition right before the season started and would seem like a good bet to return for another year.
--CB Ty Law played well after being picked up during the season but did deal with some injuries and is near the end of his career. If he is re-signed, it's a sign the Broncos don't have much faith in 2009 second-round pick Alphonso Smith.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (*indicates restricted because of uncapped year)
--*OLB Elvis Dumervil (tendered at $3.168M with first- and third-round picks as compensation) should be a high priority for the Broncos after leading the NFL in sacks.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED --S Josh Barrett: ERFA; terms unknown.
--LB Nick Greisen: UFA; terms unknown.
--G Russ Hochstein: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--*G Chris Kuper: RFA; (tendered at $2.521M with first-round pick as compensation); $2.521M/1 yr.
--WR Brandon Lloyd: UFA; terms unknown.
--*QB Kyle Orton: RFA; (tendered at $2.621M with first-round pick as compensation); $2.621M/1 yr.
--K Matt Prater: ERFA; terms unknown.
--*TE Tony Scheffler: RFA; (tendered at $1.176M with second-round pick as compensation); $1.176M/1 yr.
--*DE Le Kevin Smith: Not tendered as RFA; terms unknown.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED
--RB J.J. Arrington: FA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--LB Akin Ayodele: FA Dolphins; terms unknown.
--DT Justin Bannan: UFA Ravens; $22M/5 yrs, $6.3M SB.
--DE Jarvis Green: UFA Patriots; $20M/4 yrs.
--CB Nate Jones: UFA Dolphins; $4.33M/4 yrs.
--QB Brady Quinn (trade Browns).
--NT Jamal Williams: FA Chargers; $16M/3 yrs, $7M guaranteed.
--G/T Maurice Williams: FA; terms unknown.

PLAYERS LOST
--LB Andra Davis (released).
--OG Mitch Erickson (released).
--OG Ben Hamilton: UFA Seahawks; terms unknown.
--FB Peyton Hillis (traded Browns).
--RB LaMont Jordan (released).
--WR Brandon Marshall (traded Dolphins).
--DL J'Vonne Parker (released).
--DE Kenny Peterson (released).
--TE Tony Scheffler (trade Lions).
--QB Chris Simms (released).
--C Casey Wiegmann (released).



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