The Broncos have extended offers to several key restricted free agents. The team tendered LB Elvis Dumervil with a first- and third-round designation, while WR Brandon Marshall and QB Kyle Orton each received a first-round tender.
The difference is worth noting, especially with Marshall, because the Broncos didn’t use the highest-possible tender as they did on Dumervil. The team could have also put a first- and third-round tender on Marshall, which would have paid him $3.168 million for one year and required any team that attempted to sign him to an offer sheet to surrender those draft picks if the Broncos decided not to match the offer.
Instead, Marshall received the second-highest tender, which will pay each $2.521 million and would require any team that signed him to send their first-round pick to the Broncos.
Marshall’s rocky relationship with the Broncos has been well documented as he sought a new contract. The wideout, publicly feuding with management for an extension, was suspended for the end of the 2009 preseason. After going over 100 receptions for the third straight season, Marshall was then deactivated for the team’s regular-season finale against the Chiefs by coach Josh McDaniels with a playoff spot still a possibility.
Marshall’s contentious relationship with McDaniels has led many to speculate the receiver will ultimately be traded this offseason, and Wednesday’s designation may only fuel the fire.
Dumervil, like Marshall, made the Pro Bowl this season after leading the league with 17 sacks.
The team also gave a first-round tender to guard Chris Kuper, while tight end Tony Scheffler was given an original round tender (second round).
“Tendering these restricted free agents was a step we took to solidify our roster during these uncertain times with a group of players who are valued a great deal by the Broncos,” general manager Brian Xanders said in a team release. “Our ultimate goal as an organization remains to acquire and keep players who give us the best chance to win.
“These are all high-quality football players, and we look forward to their contributions during the 2010 season and beyond.”