According to Mike Klis, director of personnel Matt Russell was responsible for the deal, meaning the former CU Buff has essentially assumed the job of recently fired GM Brian Xanders, in addition to his own duties running the scouting department.
Chris is the middle of the NFL's three Gronkowski brothers; older brother Dan, currently a TE for the Cleveland Browns, was acquired by Denver in a trade for notorious Josh McDaniels draftee Alphonso Smith. Rob, the youngest and best of the trio, announced his presence as the NFL's preeminent TE in 2011 before going on to dominate the offseason as well.
Updated 3:04 pm ET
The Broncos announced the signing of sixth-round choice Danny Trevathan today. Denver selected the former Kentucky linebacker 188th overall in the 2012 Draft, and he is the third draftee to sign with the team, joining Omar Bolden and Malik Jackson. Derek Wolfe agreed to terms but has not yet signed his contract.
Three players have yet to agree to terms: Brock Osweiler, Ronnie Hillman, and Philip Blake. Today marks the second day of Denver's initial 2012 OTA.
Updated 1:32pm ET
Per the official Twitter page of the Denver Broncos:
The Broncos have signed DE Malik Jackson, the second 2012 draft pick to sign with the team.
So that's two down and five to go. A day before, the Broncos took care of Omar Bolden--not in a Sopranos way, mind you, but in a hey, rookie, you can carry these sweaty jockstraps to the laundry room now way.
Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has announced that legendary WR Rod Smith will become the next member of the team's Ring of Fame. Said Mr. B in a statement:
Players like Rod don’t come through your door very often, but he came through ours every day with a purpose and hunger to be great. Rod’s production and numbers -- as outstanding as they were -- paled in comparison to his commitment to winning and the respect he commanded from each and every one of his teammates throughout his career. Emerging from an undrafted player to one of the best to ever play his position, Rod has truly earned his place among the greatest Broncos of all time.
I am thankful for everything Rod contributed to this franchise during his time with the Broncos, and I congratulate him on his well-deserved election to the Ring of Fame.
Smith, who was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Missouri Southern State in 1994, was a Bronco for 12 seasons, setting regular and postseason franchise records for receptions, receiving yards, and TD catches. His numbers also rank as the best in league history for an undrafted receiver.
Updated 7:49 pm ET
Broncos defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely announced his retirement today after 36 years of coaching. Jay Rodgers, who served as a defensive quality control coach last season, has been promoted to replace Nunnely.
Nunnely worked at the college level for 18 years before coaching the D-lines of the Saints for two years (1995-96), the Chargers for twelve years (1997-2008), and the Broncos for the past three (photos).
The 35-year-old Rodgers is entering his fourth year with the Broncos and is the younger brother of special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers, who begins his second year in that position for Denver.
According to Mike Klis, the Broncos have waived DT Jeremy Jarmon, presumably to create room on the roster for newly-signed CB Drayton Florence.
Denver originally acquired Jarmon in exchange for veteran WR Jabar Gaffney, who recently headed back to New England following his release by Washington after one season.
Jarmon was among the Broncos' final cuts last season and had signed a future contract on January 2.
|83||Hill, Jason||WR||6-0||202||27||Signed 2-15; 1 year, $700K|
|20||Adams, Mike||S||5-11||200||31||Signed 3-15; 2 years, $4M ($2M guaranteed)|
|18||Manning, Peyton||QB||6-5||230||36||Signed 3-20; 5 yrs, $96M ($18M guaranteed)|
|17||Caldwell, Andre||WR||6-0||190||27||Signed 3-21; 2 yrs, $1.8M ($200K guaranteed)|
|22||Porter, Tracy||CB||5-11||186||26||Signed 3-22; 1 year, $4M (likely fully guaranteed)|
|81||Dreessen, Joel||TE||6-4||245||30||Signed 3-23; 3 years, $8.5M ($2.5M guaranteed)|
|84||Tamme, Jacob||TE||6-3||236||27||Signed 3-23; 3 years, $9M ($3.5M guaranteed)|
|16||Hanie, Caleb||QB||6-2||222||27||Signed 3-24; 2 years, $2.25M (no guarantees)|
|97||Bannan, Justin||DT||6-3||312||33||Signed 4-11; 1 year, $1M (likely fully guaranteed)|
|14||Stokley, Brandon||WR||6-0||192||36||Signed 4-16; 1 year|
|29||Florence, Drayton||CB||6-0||193||32||Agreed 5-10; 2 years, $4.5M ($1.5M guaranteed, plus $1M in incentives)|
Mike Florio reports that Florence will receive a $1.5M signing bonus and base salaries of $1.5M in 2012 and $1.5M in 2013, with an additional $1M of incentives available in $250K increments based upon 2012 playing time.
Florence had visited the Titans earlier in the week and was reportedly also pursued by the Chargers, who originally drafted him in the second round (46th overall) of the 2003 Draft out of Tuskegee. The 31-year-old spent five seasons in San Diego, the past three in Buffalo, and he played for Jacksonville in 2008 under then-Jaguars coach and new Denver DC Jack Del Rio.
Cantor Gaming, a Las Vegas sportsbook, has released point spreads for the 2012 season through Week 16.
For now, Denver is favored in seven games, is the underdog in five, three games are pick'ems, and there are no Week 17 lines. The Broncos are significant favorites against Oakland (-7), Tampa Bay and Cleveland (-8.5 vs both), with their trip to New England (+7) the only time they're getting more than 3.5 points.
Florence, originally drafted by the Chargers in 2003, was cut by the Bills on Friday after three seasons with the team. Reports out of San Diego that day indicated the Chargers were interested in bringing the 31-year-old corner back to his original team, although there have been no reports since of a visit.