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.
McGahee tore his MCL and fractured his leg during the Broncos' Week 11 win over San Diego and ended the season on IR; he's due to earn $2.5M in 2013, and would count for $1M in dead money against Denver's cap if released.
Moreno injured his knee in the divisional playoff loss to Baltimore, and underwent arthroscopic surgery during the offseason. He's entering the final season of his rookie contract, will draw a $1.7M salary, but would count for $2.342M in dead money if he were to be released.
For the second straight year, Fannin spent the entire season on IR. In 2011, he suffered a torn ACL, while a torn Achilles cost him his 2012 season.
Johnson was on Denver's practice squad for much of 2012 and was signed to a futures contract in January.
Hester was signed in late November following the injury to McGahee, and is under contract for this season at a salary of $715K.
The Broncos used a third-round pick last year to select Hillman, who was the league's youngest player. Even still, the drumbeat from the Denver Post is that the Broncos will likely draft another back later this month, and are looking to add more size to the position. Michigan State back Le'Veon Bell reportedly worked out for the team recently.
Punter Britton Colquitt and tackle Chris Clark have yet to sign their restricted tenders, which carry the same $1.323M value as Ball's, with no draft choice compensation. Restricted free agents are able to negotiate with teams until April 19, but as has become typical in recent years, no RFAs have been signed to offer sheets so far this offseason.
Update 8:29am ET 4/9/13 - Story originally omitted Jacob Hester, who is still under contract