Reserve running back Lance Ball became the first Bronco to sign his right of first refusal only restricted tender on Monday.
Ball saw the field for just 151 snaps in 2012, but as a restricted free agent, he'll make nearly double the $715K minimum for a player of his experience this season. However, none of his $1.323M salary is guaranteed, so if he fails to make the final 53-man roster out of training camp, Ball won't count a penny toward the Broncos' 2013 salary cap.
Aside from Ball, Denver has running backs Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Hillman, Mario Fannin, and Jeremiah Johnson on the roster. Jacob Hester is listed as a fullback but functioned more as a running back, since the Broncos abandoned the idea of using two-back sets rather early on.
Updated 8:29am ET 4/9/13
Former Broncos safety and punt fair-catcher Jim Leonhard is headed to New Orleans, where he'll reunite with the Ryan family.
Leonhard had played under Rex Ryan with the Ravens and LOLJets, and he'll now play under Sexy Rexy's twin brother Rob, who is coordinating the Saints defense.
According to Mike Klis, the Broncos are meeting today with Miami of Ohio QB Zac Dysert in preparation for the upcoming draft.
Dysert (pronounced DAHY-surt) was a four-year starter for the Redhawks, completing 63.8% of his throws for 6.7 adjusted yards per attempt and a 132.4 QB rating.
The NFL announced its preliminary preseason schedule today, with the Broncos being featured in one of the 11 nationally televised games, at home against St. Louis.
Denver's slate will feature one game against each team from the NFCW:
Less than eighteen months after having traded a 2012 first-rounder and 2013 second-rounder to Cincinnati to acquire him, the Raiders have dealt QB Carson Palmer to Arizona in exchange for a 2013 sixth-rounder and conditional 2014 seventh-rounder.
Oakland will receive the 2014 pick if Palmer starts 13 games this season for the Cardinals, who have agreed with the former first-overall pick on a restructured two-year deal. Reports on how much Palmer will be paid are already conflicting, as Adam Schefter says he's due $16M over two years, while Ian Rapoport says Palmer will get $10M in guarantees and as much as $20M in total.
Per Adam Schefter:
Raiders reached agreement on a one-year deal with former Broncos CB Tracy Porter.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 2, 2013
We knew Porter was on his way out of town. Whether he was an attitude problem (as suggested by Mile High Sports) or not, we'll let you decide.
Of course he had to sign with Oakland--everyone ends up with Oakland during their this-guy-could-have-an-attitude-problem phase.
As had been reported by Peter King on Monday morning, the Raiders have acquired QB Matt Flynn from the Seahawks, in exchange for a 2014 fifth-rounder and a conditional 2015 pick. Unexpectedly, Oakland upped Flynn's 2013 compensation to a fully guaranteed $6.25M.
Also in line with what PK had reported, Oakland is nearing an agreement to send previous starting QB Carson Palmer to Arizona, despite Adam Schefter's suggestion this morning that such a trade would not occur. In anticipation of that move, the Cards have waived QB John Skelton.
If Flynn nails down the first-team gig, he'll be the Raiders' seventh primary QB since 2005, following in the dubious footsteps of Kerry Collins, Kevin Walter, Daunte Culpepper, JaMarcus The Hutt Russell, Jason Campbell, and Palmer.
For a few weeks, following Kansas City's acquisition of Alex Smith, the AFCW has been home to three number-one-overall pick quarterbacks (Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer) and a fourth-overall choice QB (Philip Rivers) who was acquired in return for another one who had been taken first overall (Eli Manning).
That division-wide lofty pedigree is about to be downgraded a bit though, as the Raiders are reportedly nearing a deal to acquire one-time seventh-rounder Matt Flynn from Seattle to replace Palmer. Flynn had been the Seahawks' booby prize of last year's free agency, after the team's brass had flown to Colorado, only to be rebuffed by Peyton Manning.
According to Mike Klis's original article, the Broncos will turn their attention to signing former Falcons DE John Abraham, who has been a rumored target of Denver's for much of his career. Ex-Colts DE/LB Dwight Freeney would reportedly be the fallback plan beyond Abraham; both players visited Dove Valley on Thursday.
NFLN's Michelle Beisner cites a source who says the Broncos are "making a hard push for Freeney."
Updated 7:00pm ET
With the Broncos set to host aging vets John Abraham and Dwight Freeney tomorrow as potential replacements for Elvis Dumervil, another decorated thirtysomething defender is in the news tonight.
Ed Reed will reportedly bid Baltimore adieu and head to Houston on what is expected to be a three-year deal worth around $4M/year. If true, he'll be accepting a salary far below the $7M figure he was said to be seeking.
There's been some speculation that losing Reed would prompt the Ravens to up their offer to Dumervil, but landing the defensive end wouldn't solve their vacancies at safety. Baltimore had previously cut Bernard Pollard loose, and they will reportedly meet soon with ex-Raiders safety Michael Huff, who has drawn interest from Green Bay, Dallas, and Tennessee.