NFL: Broncos place a first-round tender on receiver Brandon Marshall
By Frank Schwab
Every NFL team that needs a receiver had a serious front-office conversation Wednesday afternoon, because Brandon Marshall was unofficially made available for a first-round pick.
The Broncos put a first-round tender on Marshall, one of five restricted free agents the team tendered Wednesday. That means if a team signs Marshall to an offer sheet, the Broncos have a week to match. If the Broncos don’t match, they’ll get a first-round pick this year as compensation.
While the Broncos officially have the right to match any offer, their tender implied they are ready to take the first-round pick in exchange for Marshall. Denver could have placed a first- and third-round tender on the two-time Pro Bowler, as it did with outside linebacker and last season’s NFL sack leader Elvis Dumervil, but it chose a lower tender for the controversial receiver.
In doing so, the Broncos made it easier for teams to make Marshall an offer. The Broncos placed first-round tenders on quarterback Kyle Orton and guard Chris Kuper, and a second-round tender on tight end Tony Scheffler, but those players are unlikely to receive the buzz Marshall will.
As the Broncos have done the entire offseason, their public stance mentioned nothing about the players leaving.
“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 statement. “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.”
The Broncos made a statement about Dumervil’s importance by attaching the high tender, which includes a $3.168 million salary. The tenders for Marshall and Kuper are worth a $2.521 million salary as fourth-year players, and Orton gets $2.621 million as a fifth-year player. Scheffler’s is worth $1.759 million.