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On Wednesday, the Denver Broncos signed free agent linebacker Stewart Bradley to a one-year deal, team executive John Elway announced via Twitter.
Bradley is expected to compete with Nate Irving and Steven Johnson to win the starting middle linebacker gig in Denver’s 4-3 defense. A misfit in the Arizona Cardinals 3-4 defense, Bradley hasn’t started since 2010, when he was a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Bradley (6′-4″, 258 lbs.) had his best statistical season in 2008, when he started in all 16 games and recorded 108 tackles, defended 6 passes, forced a fumble and recorded a sack. The Broncos are also reportedly trying to sign free agent wide receiver Wes Welker.
Bradley visited the team on Wednesday at Dove Valley and left with a contract. The team also has meetings scheduled with defensive tackle Terrance Knighton and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
UPDATE: The Broncos have signed Welker.
Wes Welker may be hooking up with a future Hall of Fame QB after all.
The former New England Patriots standout wide receiver is in “serious talks” with the Denver Broncos today, the second day of free agency, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. The team reportedly wants to “hammer out a deal” with the All-Pro slot receiver.
Welker, 31, had 118 catches for 1,354 yards last year, his fifth year hauling in over 110 receptions (an NFL record). He was paid $9.5 million for those services as the Patriots’ franchise player in 2012.
Landing Welker would give quarterback Peyton Manning a third star receiver in Denver, joining Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.
According to Schefter, a decision is expected sometime Wednesday.
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And the free agent running backs are starting to go off the market.
On Wednesday, Reggie Bush, who drew interest from Denver, signed a four-year deal with the Lions. The Cardinals then landed Rashard Mendenhall with a one-yer deal.
Among running backs, Mendenhall was believed to be the most likely candidate to land with the Broncos, who are expected to announce several signings today. Denver currently has four RBs—Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Hillman, and Lance Ball—on the roster, but one (or both of) McGahee and Moreno are expected to be axed this spring.
With Bush and Mendenhall off the market, Steven Jackson now becomes the top free agent RB still available. Jackson has drawn a lot of interest from the Packers, but Denver has not reportedly targeted the 29-year old RB—yet.
Last season, McGahee led the team with 731 yards and four scores on the ground (while also fumbling four times and missing the final six games of the season due to injury). Jackson rushed for 1,042 yards and four touchdowns with the Rams in 2012, his eighth consecutive 1K season.
Denver has been linked to eight free agents and have already signed former Chargers offensive guard Louis Vasquez to a four-year deal and re-signed defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson to a two-year deal on Tuesday.
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The Broncos are expected to have a busy Wednesday, meeting with three players while drawing closer to signing RB Rashard Mendenhall and landing DT Terrance Knighton.
According to CBS4‘s Vic Lombardi, the Broncos hope to sign “up to three” players today, with Mendenhall and Knighton figuring to be two of the reported three. Two other candidates are cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and linebacker Stewart Bradley, who are both visiting Dove Valley today.
Meanwhile, a few other players have hit Denver’s free agent radar. With Elvis Dumervil‘s contract dispute unresolved, the Broncos have shown continued interest in defensive end Dwight Freeney and may consider landing pass rusher Shaun Phillips, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
A third option to replace Dumervil would be Osi Umenyiora, who drew initial interest from Denver prior to the start of free agency. Phillips is an interesting candidate because he was an OLB in San Diego’s defense. Used mainly as a rusher, Phillips recorded 9.5 sacks last season and would probably transition to DE smoothly.
Finally, the team is also interested in Lions safety Louis Delmas, who is visiting the Rams today. According to the Denver Post‘s Mike Klis, the Broncos view safety as a position of need and will try to land Delmas.
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Update: Mendenhall signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals on Wednesday.
Since the beginning of free agency, the Broncos have shown interest in former Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall.
What started as interest led to a visit which will likely lead to a contract, as a source tells PFT that the team is likely to sign the former first round pick. Mendenhall will also meet with the Cardinals, but Denver appears to be his most likely destination.
Mendenhall (5′-10″, 225 lbs.) is 25 with five years of service under his belt. Since 2008, he has rushed 864 times for 3,549 yards and 29 touchdowns while posting a pair of 1,000-yard seasons (’09, ’10) along the way.
The Broncos are also close to agreeing to terms with free agent defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, who played for Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted just after 1 AM EST that the Denver Broncos and defensive tackle Terrance Knighton are close to agreeing on terms:
Knighton landed in Denver Tuesday and may not leave without a contract. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Knighton was drafted in 2009 by Broncos current defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio (and former head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars), who anointed him a team captain during that same year as a rookie.
Following the final game of Knighton’s rookie season Del Rio said, “Terrance Knighton is going to be a real good player. It wasn’t an accident before the game that he was made a team captain for the game. I’m counting on him to lead the way.”
Four seasons later, Del Rio is still counting on Knighton apparently. The former Temple University true Freshman weighed in for the 2012 season at 335 lbs. and measured 6’3″, he would add immediately to a Denver defensive line that is getting bigger by the day. The Broncos re-signed defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson on Tuesday the first day of Free Agency.
It should be noted that while Knighton played in 16 games, he only started four for the Jaguars in 2012 recording 32 tackles and two sacks.
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The Denver Broncos‘ second free agent signing of 2013 was agreeing on a new two-year deal with defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson.
The news was first reported by ESPN‘s Adam Schefter and later confirmed by the Denver Post‘s Mike Klis. Details of Vickerson’s contract are unknown, but he will likely eat up to $2.5 million of Denver’s 2013 cap room.
Last season, Vickerson started alongside Justin Bannan (who is also a free agent). The 6′-5″, 290-pound Vickerson had his best statistical season in 2012, when he recorded 40 tackles and 2 sacks.
According to the Denver Post, the team is still planning to visit with free agent DT Terrance Knighton. More free agent visits are noted here.
Maybe Elvis Dumervil isn’t headed out of Denver after all.
The Broncos and Dumervil’s agent, Marty Magid, starting talking again on Tuesday, according to the Denver Post‘s Mike Klis.
Magid sent back a proposal Tuesday that lowered his client’s asking price from $12 million in 2013, but then added that reduction onto his contract in the form of guarantees for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
Fundamentally, pay cut vs. restructure remains the central issue in the contract disagreement. As it has been since Day One of their re-opened negotiations.
“We’re saying the same thing today as we did yesterday: If you can’t accept this proposal, then release us,” said Magid. “The only thing that’s different today is we exchanged proposals.”
The Broncos hold all the cards. If they plan to release Dumervil before Saturday, they can find his replacement through free agency. The team has three days to decide Dumervil’s fate.
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
In addition to running back Rashard Mendenhall and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the Broncos have scheduled two other free agent visits, according to a Denver Post report.
The Broncos will talk with Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance Knighton and Cardinals backup linebacker Stewart Bradley at the team’s Dove Valley headquarters. Both players would provide needed depth on Denver’s defense.
Knighton (6′-3″, 330 lbs.) was drafted by Denver’s current defensive coordinator, Jack Del Rio, back in 2009. Since then, Knighton has recorded 140 tackles and 7.5 sacks, including 32 tackles and 2 sacks in four starts last season.
Bradley (6′-4″, 258 lbs.) was a starter for two seasons with the Eagles before moving to Arizona, where he has played in 32 games (with one start) since 2011. Over the past two seasons, Bradley has recorded 42 tackles and defended one pass. He has recorded 228 tackles and 3 sacks in his career.
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
The Denver Broncos were reported to be the front runners to land free agent running back Reggie Bush earlier today, but things have cooled down since then.
Bush is now headed to visit with Detroit, seemingly making the Lions the favorite to land the popular free agent. Denver, meanwhile, has other options.
The team will bring in Rashard Mendenhall for a visit, showing continued interest in the former Steeler. The Broncos will also look at former Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Two players that have not reportedly drawn interest from the Broncos yet but figure to are Rams running back Steven Jackson and former Dolphins middle linebacker Karlos Dansby. Miami made waves when they signed Dannell Ellerbe and released Dansby, who would be a fit in Denver’s 4-3 defense.
Jackson is a powerful back that would be a more exciting addition to Denver’s backfield than Mendenhall. But as of now, Mendenhall seems a more likely candidate to land with the team as a low priced, low-risk, high-reward free agent.