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Brandon Stokley will reunite with former teammate Peyton Manning after agreeing to a one-year contract with the Denver Broncos on Monday, Jason La Canfora reports. The journeyman wide receiver will be playing for his third different team in as many years, after spending time with the New York Giants in 2012 and the Seattle Seahawks in 2011.
Stokley returns to Denver, where he spent three seasons catching passes from Jay Cutler and Kyle Orton. He had at least 40 catches in 2007 and 2008, before catching just 19 passes in 2009 in his most recent season with the team.
Stokley also spent four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts from 2003 to 2006, where he and Manning created a solid rapport with another. Stokley's best season came in 2004, when he caught 68 passes for 1,077 yards and 10 touchdowns. He won't be expected to replicate that type of production in what will be his 14th year in the league, but he could prove to be a valuable safety valve as Manning gets acclimated to his new home.
For more on Stokley, Manning and the Denver Broncos, check out the SB Nation blog Mile High Report.
This week, the Denver Broncos signed Peyton Manning and traded Tim Tebow. Brady Quinn had departed Denver earlier in the offseason. As John Elway put it, they do not have a 'Plan B.' Well, now they do. A former Chicago Bears backup quarterback will be joining Denver to back up Manning.
Broncos struck deal with former Bears QB Caleb Hanie as backup for Peyton Manning. Broncos have added two former CSU players in two days.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 25, 2012
The former Colorado State QB is best known for his performance in the 2010 NFC Championship Game. When both Jay Cutler and Todd Collins came out of the game injured, Hanie performed well to keep the Bears in the game against the Green Bay Packers. Otherwise, Hanie has struggled. He started three games last season after Jay Cutler broke his thumb, but was replaced by Josh McCown in Week 16. Hanie currently has three touchdown passes and 10 interceptions in his NFL career.
The Denver Broncos signed a pair of tight ends Friday, as they try to surround Peyton Manning with talent for the upcoming season. One of those tight ends is Jacob Tamme, Manning's former teammate with the Indianapolis Colts. Denver also signed Joel Dreessen, who has spent the past few seasons backing up Owen Daniels with the Houston Texans.
Both players give the Broncos much-needed pass-catching ability at the position. Tamme caught 67 passes from Manning in 2010 in place of an injured Dallas Clark, while Dreessen has caught at least 26 passes in each of his last three seasons. The latter was a key weapon in the red zone for the Texans, catching six touchdowns while Andre Johnson was mired with injuries for much of the year.
Who will see the majority of targets between the two is unclear. Both should be upgrades over what the Broncos had last season, however. Daniel Fells caught 19 passes for 256 yards from the position in 2011, while Dante Rosario chipped in seven receptions.
For more on the Denver Broncos' offseason, head over to the SB Nation blog Mile High Report.
The Denver Broncos probably knew that if they were able to sign Peyton Manning, they'd also be signing a few of his friends. According to NFL Network's Jason La Canfora, free agent center Jeff Saturday is scheduled to visit the Broncos. Saturday was Manning's center in his last 12 years in Indianapolis and the idea of a "package deal" between he and Manning was thrown around.
More moves could be coming. La Canfora reports that Brandon Stokley, who had a previous stint with the Broncos, could be signed. Stokley played with Manning in Indy from 2003-06. Dallas Clark is another free agent who has spent his career with Manning. La Canfora floats him as a possibility as well. Another tight end, Jacob Tamme, played with Manning the last four seasons.
Shortly after the Indianapolis Colts officially released Peyton Manning, it was reported that teams wanted him to make a decision quickly so that whoever he chose could begin using Manning as a recruiting tool to sign other free agents. The idea is that players would see the Broncos as a Super Bowl contender with Manning in the fold and then decide to join Denver.
Broncos RB Willie McGahee obviously realizes the importance of the Manning addition as it relates to free agency. Via McGahee on Twitter:
To all my free agents across the nfl, I think u know what time it is. It's about to go down..
Jeff Saturday is a name you'll see pop up. He was Manning's center in Indianapolis and it's been rumored that whoever signs Manning could show interest in Saturday. Manning and Reggie Wayne were supposedly a "package deal" at one point in time but Wayne returned to Indy so who knows how many, if any, of Manning's former Colts teammates will be headed to Denver.
The Denver Broncos had an exciting season in 2011 as they made the playoffs and defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers once they got there. Quarterback Tim Tebow was one of the most popular players in the league and created a media circus in Denver. The Broncos are looking to continue the success in 2012 but many are still unsure about Tebow despite his celebrity status.
When it comes to players leaving the Broncos, the team is going to lose backup quarterback Brady Quinn and a handful of defensive players at linebacker and in the secondary. Quinn is actually somewhat a big deal because even though Tebow found success in 2011, the team may not be quite ready to do all in on the former Florida quarterback.
The Broncos are one of the teams rumored to land Peyton Manning and if that happens, Tim Tebow is as good as gone. The team would be more successful with Manning under center but if he ends up going to Arizona, the Broncos will need to surround Tebow with the right players. The Broncos could also benefit from some help in the secondary with players like Brandon Carr and Cortland Finnegan, who are both likely to test the market.
For more free agency updates, head to SB Nation's Broncos blog, Mile High Report.
The Denver Broncos have been trying to come to a long-term deal with kicker Matt Prater unsuccessfully. The team will now use its franchise tag on the kicker, according to a report by Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Broncos will use their franchise tag today on kicker Matt Prater.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 5, 2012
The franchise tag for kickers is projected at $2.9 million guaranteed for the 2012 season, which is what Prater will be paid if he signs and plays on the tender. Teams have until July 15 to work out a long-term contract and remove the franchise tag designation. Prater was a big piece to the Broncos puzzle during their six-game winning streak and trip to the NFL playoffs, successfully making some clutch kicks to win games or send them into overtime.
For more on Matt Prater and the Denver Broncos, visit SB Nation's Broncos blog Mile High Report.
Almost every coach and general manager in the NFL descends upon Indianapolis this week for the 2012 NFL Combine and almost all of those attending will conduct a press conference talking about their team and the 2012 NFL draft. You can see a schedule of the coaches and GMs speaking here, but one that stood out was John Fox.
A few highlights of what Fox had to say:
For more Combine coverage, check out SB Nation's Mocking The Draft.
Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow had the Broncos on a winning streak and a run that propelled them into the playoffs. Tebow even threw the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the playoffs. The Broncos were unceremoniously bounced from the playoffs in the next game however, as Tebow struggled to complete nine passes in the entire game.
That game, coupled with a few other poor outings, led many to wonder if Tebow could be the long term answer, but the Broncos front office has insisted he'll be the starting quarterback at the start of training camp.
Currently, Tebow is one of the two quarterbacks under contract with the Denver Broncos, the other being Adam Weber. The Broncos plan to add at least two quarterbacks this offseason, according to a report by Mike Klis of The Denver Post.
Tebowmaniacs should not panic if the Broncos sign a quarterback from free agency and draft another one. Most teams bring four quarterbacks into training camp, and right now, the Broncos only have Tebow and Adam Weber, who spent his rookie season on the practice squad, under contract.
For more on Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos, visit SB Nation's Broncos blog Mile High Report.
Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater is set to be an unrestricted free agent, but it sounds like the Denver Broncos could stick the kicker with the franchise tag. Prater arguably was one of the most important Broncos players during their winning streak to make the playoffs.
Among the Broncos' whopping 17 unrestricted free agents this offseason, Matt Prater is the strongest candidate for the franchise tag. The projected salary for a franchised kicker this year is less than $2.6 million - down 19 percent from $3.176 million in 2011.
Prater hit some key field goals for the Broncos in the 2011 season, including four walk-off field goals for the Broncos and a game tying 59-yard field goal. SB Nation's Broncos blog Mile High Report thinks that Prater is the most important Broncos free agent of the offseason.
In my opinion, Matt Prater is one of the, if not the most, important player for the Broncos to re-sign this season. While Tim Tebow rightfully received much of the praise for the Broncos turnaround, it is hard to ignore Prater's impact on the Broncos AFC West Championship season.
Prater has spent the past five seasons in the NFL on year-to-year contracts and is looking for a more secure, long-term deal according to the Denver Post. It sounds as though the Broncos plan to tag Prater, but that doesn't preclude the two side from coming to terms on a long term deal.
For more on Matt Prater and the Denver Broncos, visit SB Nation's Broncos blog Mile High Report.
The Denver Broncos had a much-publicized and unexpected resurgent season in 2011, with young quarterback Tim Tebow leading the team to the postseason and an upset win over the Pittsburgh Steelers before meeting their match in the New England Patriots. Although the Broncos can be very pleased with how their season ended -- especially compared to expectations before it began -- they are certainly looking for ways to beef up their offense and improve their defense in 2012.
Denver will need to begin with looking at which players to retain for next year. Free agent season begins on March 17, at which point they will need to know where they stand with the 22 players who are due to enter some form of free agency. Here is the full list of impending Broncos free agents, courtesy of Mac's Football Blog.
Exclusive Rights Free Agents (3)
Restricted Free Agents (2)
Unrestricted Free Agents (17)
QB Brady Quinn
FB Spencer Larsen
WR Eddie Royal
TE Daniel Fells
TE Dante Rosario
OL Russ Hochstein
OL Manny Ramirez
DE Derrick Harvey
DE Jason Hunter
DT Brodrick Bunkley
DT Marcus Thomas
LB Mario Haggan
LB Joe Mays
LB Wesley Woodyard
CB Jonathan Wilhite
S Brian Dawkins
K Matt Prater
For all news and information regarding the Denver Broncos, please visit Mile High Report.