Broncos Update Insider - 5/28

None of the Broncos quarterbacks are going anywhere. At least not now, at least according to what coach Josh McDaniels said.

Responding to reports that quarterback Kyle Orton was available earlier this offseason, McDaniels shot down the notion immediately.

"There's not been one quarterback on our roster that's been discussed or would be discussed at this point in any trade talks or anything else," McDaniels said. "We're going to let them compete and the best guy is going to play."

At some point the Broncos are going to face a tough decision. They have Orton, the starter, then Brady Quinn, Tim Tebow and Tom Brandstater after them. Although Brandstater seems like the obvious odd man out, he played well last preseason as a rookie and could help his cause with another good training camp and preseason.

So the Broncos will either have to go with four quarterbacks, try to get Brandstater through to the practice squad, or trade one of the current quarterbacks in August after they make a decision.

There has been some speculation about Orton's role this season. But at the moment he is the starter, coming off a 3,802-yard season and has far more NFL success than Quinn. Tebow is a hot-button topic but it's hard to believe he could start as a rookie.

That leaves Orton. Although McDaniels has always stressed competition, not much should be read into that. He did the same last year ? he didn't even name Orton his starter over Chris Simms until June, then continued to say the best player would play.

"The starter is the starter until someone beats him out," McDaniels said this year, about Orton. "The best player will play, that's all I'm saying. It doesn't matter if it's a defensive end, punter, quarterback, center, if he's the best player he's playing.

"Right now Orton is the best player and he's in there first in the huddle, he knows the most. Does that mean that's a guarantee for the season? No, and he knows that. Every quarterback knows that, every player knows that."

NOTES, QUOTES

--Someone has to lead the Denver Broncos in receiving this season. It obviously won't be Brandon Marshall, who was traded to Miami.

Marshall's departure leaves a lot of catches and yards for everyone else. Eddie Royal, Jabar Gaffney and rookie Demaryius Thomas are the top three options.

"We don't think about pressure," Royal said. "Our focus on the offense is everybody do their job and we'll be OK."

Although Royal and Thomas are more popular names, but Gaffney seems like a good bet to have a breakout year. Last year he put up a career high 732 yards despite not being one of the Broncos' top two options for the first 14 games. Royal and Marshall were the top two for most of the season, and Royal didn't live up to that billing.

Royal had 345 yards and no touchdowns all season. When he was out for the final two games of the season, Gaffney got a chance to shine. Gaffney had 21 catches for 282 yards and two touchdowns in the final two games, including a 213-yard game against Kansas City in the finale.

"I always felt like I can play in this league and am capable of games like that," Gaffney said. "If situations call for it, I hope I can go out and duplicate that success."

The Broncos like to spread the ball when things are going well, so all of the receivers' upside could be limited. With Marshall now gone, the Broncos promise to get back to the spread-it-around offense that coach Josh McDaniels prefers.

"I hope that we have a lot of guys that end up being our No. 1 receiver at different times during the year," McDaniels said. "A tight end that catches 10 balls, two different receivers that can catch that many balls during the course of the season on a certain week."

--The Broncos are currently without three starting offensive linemen: tackles Ryan Clady (knee) and Ryan Harris (toe) and guard/center Russ Hochstein. Despite that, Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said he was not concerned.

"We expect and hope for everybody to be back by August," McDaniels said. "Whether or not a guy is ready to participate fully by then, we'll have to wait and see."

--Even though New York/New Jersey was awarded the 2014 Super Bowl, there isn't much hope for other cold-weather cities hoping to host the game. The Broncos have expressed interest in hosting a Super Bowl in years past, but CEO Joe Ellis said the team has no plans to bid soon. However, they won't completely rule out the idea.

"Pat (Bowlen) would never rule it out," Ellis said.

--The Broncos so far are impressed with second-year cornerback Alphonso Smith, a second-round pick last year who did little as a rookie. So far, he has been the team's nickel cornerback in offseason practices.

"He has grown a lot," cornerback Champ Bailey said.

--All signs are good with 2009 first-round pick Robert Ayers, an outside linebacker who has been handed a starting job coming into this season. The Broncos say he has matured going into his second season.

"I've definitely noticed a difference," McDaniels said.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's another chance to go out here and play the game. Hopefully I can go out and get a couple more plays or whatever, but I just love to go out and play regardless." - Broncos receiver Jabar Gaffney.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

Although the Broncos lost out on center Cory Procter, who signed with the Dolphins, the team could still look into signing another center in free agency. Their current starting center is rookie J.D. Walton.

The Broncos have been active in the free agency period following the draft. The team has also shown interest in running back Brian Westbrook.

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. --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.

DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED
--CB Syd'Quan Thompson (7/225): Terms unknown.
--LB Jammie Kirlew (7/232): Terms unknown.

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).
--DE Vonnie Holliday: UFA Redskins; terms unknown.
--RB LaMont Jordan (released).
--WR Brandon Marshall (traded Dolphins).
--OG Matt McChesney (retired).
--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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