After a week of living on Twitter feeds, flipping through multiple sites over and again to spot signings and trends, a few things stuck out in my mind. I thought that I’d hit on some things that caught my eye as they rolled on past.
A Crowd at Tight End: The Broncos have agreed to terms with both former Carolina Panthers tight end Dante Rosario (6’4, 250 lb) and former St. Louis Rams tight end Daniel Fells (6’4”, 272 lb.). Rosario was drafted by the Panthers in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft and in his four seasons with Carolina, he made 82 receptions for 894 yards and five touchdowns. Rosario reunites with former head coach John Fox in Denver. Fells was an undrafted free agent in 2006 who was signed by the Atlanta Falcons. He’s also a former member of the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before he finally found playing time in St. Louis. In his three years with the Rams, Fells made 69 receptions for 745 yards and five touchdowns.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! There's no hotter topic in Dove Valley than the Broncos' tight ends, as Denver is about to have six of them, pending the results of Dante Rosario's physical. Andrew Mason says that rookie Julius Thomas has already been showing rapid progress over the first several days of camp, and that while Virgil Green has also been impressive, it's Thomas who has shown more refinement. Mason figures the signing of Rosario and Daniel Fells could spell trouble for incumbent TEs Richard Quinn and Dan Gronkowski.
Meanwhile, Mike Klis writes that Fells will compete with Quinn for the starting blocking TE job, while Rosario, Gronkowski and perhaps even Thomas will fight to be the starting receiving TE. According to Klis, the Broncos' FO decided to pursue Fells and Rosario only recently - days before the start of training camp.
Plus, Klis says that Ty Warren is expected to decide today where he'll be playing this season.
For once, I agree with an agent.
Here's what Richard Bernoski, agent for recently signed Marcus Thomas, had to say only moments ago:
We're excited about the scheme that John Fox is running, it will give Marcus Thomas a chance to reach his potential and do what he does best which is penetrate to get up field to cause chaos in the backfield. He's been the most productive defensive tackle in Denver playing in a system that didn't fit his skill-set.
Bernoski knows his client well. There was perhaps no player who had to fight his natural tendencies more in the 3-4 defense that Josh McDaniels wanted to run during his time in Denver.
Thomas was never a fit as a two-gap defender. He was simply out of place. Despite this, he played with a lot of effort and held his own as a defensive end.
Marcus Thomas is your classic 3-technique penetrator. He split gaps and uses his quick first step to his advantage.
Then he tries to unleash hell.
The Broncos have agreed to terms with 26-year-old TE Dante Rosario, who spent his first four years with the Panthers and has 82 career receptions for 894 yards and five touchdowns. Although Rosario set a new career high in 2010 with 32 catches, his YPR was a career-low 8.3 after he averaged 12.6 yards per reception over his first three seasons.
Rosario (6'3" 244 lbs) becomes the fifth member of Denver's TE group, along with third-year players Richard Quinn and Dan Gronkowski, plus draftees Julius Thomas and Virgil Green. It's hard to envision the Broncos keeping five tight ends on their final roster, and John Fox's familiarity with Rosario from their time together in Carolina has to factor in, so it will be interesting to see who loses out in this numbers game. Could Green perhaps be headed for the practice squad, or is Gronkowski on his way out?
Update 5:34pm ET - The Broncos have also reportedly agreed to terms with former Rams TE Daniel Fells, and John Clayton says the 27-year old is expected to become Denver's starter. Fells (6'4" 252 lbs - PFR lists Fells as 252 lbs while NFL.com and ESPN list him at 272 - obviously a substantial difference) has 69 career receptions for 745 yards and five TDs in three seasons with the Rams, including a 41/391/2 slash in 2010. Adam Schefter reports that Fells has agreed to a one-year deal.
6:06pm ET - Brief moment of confusion there, as Jason La Canfora had tweeted that Denver signed DT Daniel Muir. Rather, he's heading to the Rams.
6:04pm ET - The Broncos have released LB Dominic Douglas, who had been signed to a future contract following the 2010 season and is quite the active tweeter.
4:29pm ET - Ty Warren, a Texas native and A&M alum, is leaving Denver without a contract to visit with the Texans.
1:56pm ET - The Broncos are among at least five teams expected to host DE Jamaal Anderson, the former eighth-overall pick by the Falcons, who just released the four-year veteran.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Former Patriots DE Ty Warren met with the Broncos last night (apparently it's okay for Denver to now show interest in ex-Pats), and according to Legwold, Denver is close to re-signing Marcus Thomas. Perhaps not a sexy or exciting move as he's not new, but a wise one following Thomas' emergence last year. And judging by the surprisingly small contracts (relative to expectations) being doled out to DTs like Cullen Jenkins and Brandon Mebane, it shouldn't cost the Broncos a whole lot. Just a WAG, but a four-year deal for around $16M would seem fair. We'll see, though.
Willis McGahee's four-year deal with the Broncos is pending the results of his physical.
Mike Klis offers up a terrific piece on the relationship between Shannon Sharpe and his late grandmother; Shay Shay is headed to the HOF next Saturday.
The Broncos have made a trio of moves this evening, releasing veteran safety Renaldo Hill after two seasons with the team and adding RB Willis McGahee and Colorado State alum and former Texans WR David Anderson. Hill had not been practicing with the team since the opening of training camp, with John Fox dubiously claiming the eleventh-year player was out due to dehydration on Thursday. Hill was due to make $2.4M with a cap number of $2.775M; he had been under contract through 2012 and will count for $750K against the 2012 cap*. He played and started in 31 of 32 games since being signed as a free agent by Denver before the 2009 season, amassing 98 tackles, two picks, and two forced fumbles.
* I wrote the other day that the release of Correll Buckhalter would accelerate the unamortized chunk ($900K) of his original signing bonus to hit the Broncos' 2011 cap, but that was not correct. All accelerated bonuses from this week and going forward will be charged to teams' 2012 caps. Probably should have figured this out before calling out the DP guys for their transgressions. Glass houses/stones, that whole thing. Anyway, I think I've got it all straight now.
8:05pm ET - The Broncos have announced the signing of WR David Anderson, formerly of the Houston Texans, via John Elway's Twitter feed. Anderson is a solid player, and he has a usually hilarious Twitter feed, which used to be named WhiteOut89. This seems like an addition to a position of strength, but in the Duke we trust. Well, not unconditionally, but let's see what else is brewing. (TB)
1:34pm ET - Andrew Mason is reporting that Tebow continues to struggle in training camp. Brady Quinn participated ahead of him in one team drill today. Is it fair to wonder if the Orton trade rumors affected him a lot more than Orton?
Keep checking back here through the day for mor Broncos rosterbation! But don't hesitate to give us your thoughts.
A few days into free agency, and I'm already feeling a little dirty inside.
I admit it. I was lusting for Brandon Mebane. Had myself a small man crush. Got a wee typsy on the YouTube highlights.
In fact, I got a little out of control, like the time I took off my top at the senior center and let the ladies from the bridge club do body shots off me--without their dentures. I stalked Mebane on Twitter for about 48 hours, along with some other deranged Seahawks, Rams, and (yes) Broncos fans. In the end, neither the power of the internet, nor Mebane's relatively cheap price ($25 million) was enough to bring him to Denver.
Was I Desperate? Absolutely. All I wanted for free agent X-Mas was my two front linemen to be names other than Vickerson or McBean. It could have easily happened at the price Mebane finally took from the Seahawks.
Cullen Jenkins is still out there on the market. Maybe I'll stalk him until he signs.
Nah, it's not worth it. If EFX is going to take a Wreckx-n-Effect approach to free agency, why bother getting too worked up?
Instead, I'll try and content myself with this lesson: the biggest free agent the Broncos brought in this year is Dennis Allen and his scheme.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mike Klis writes that Kyle Orton requested a trade following last season after correctly sensing the Broncos were leaning toward going with Tim Tebow. He also says the Dolphins and Orton were close to a renegotiated contract on Tuesday night before Miami got cold feet, and that the Broncos never submitted an offer to Miami as far as draft choice compensation goes. Klis writes that talks between the teams heated up again Wednesday but obviously failed, and he says the Broncos will not release Orton since they already paid him a $1.5M roster bonus and owe him $2.879M of his 2011 salary.