As it turned out, the first day of NFL free-agent negotiations became little more than a house-cleaning project for the Broncos.
The Broncos extended second-round, $2.914 million tenders to restricted free agents Matt Paradis, the team’s starting center, and part-time starting outside linebacker Shaq Barrett.
It would be a surprise if the Broncos didn’t engage in long-term contract negotiations with Paradis before the start of the regular season, as the team did with three previous restricted free agents: C.J. Anderson, Brandon Marshall and Brandon McManus. Paradis has delivered every offensive snap the past three years.
Barrett may have to keep proving himself. He had 5.5 sacks in a part-time role in 2015, but slipped to 1.5 sacks in 2016 before rebounding with 4.0 sacks last season.
The Broncos also said goodbye to No. 3 receiver and core special teamer Bennie Fowler III by not extending a low tender to the restricted free agent. Fowler is now an unrestricted free agent.
It’s unclear whether the Broncos will attempt to re-sign another receiver-special teamer, Cody Latimer, before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday.
The Broncos also tendered one-year, minimum-salaried contracts to all their exclusive rights free agents: Receiver/returner Jordan Taylor, long snapper Casey Kreiter, linebackers Zaire Anderson, Jerrol Garcia-Williams and Joseph Jones and offensive tackle Elijah Wilkinson.
The Broncos will listen to offers for running back C.J. Anderson but they’re not going to give away a 1,000-yard running back. The Broncos are not planning on releasing Anderson, at least not now.
Anderson just finished his fifth season with the Broncos and was unquestionably the team’s offensive MVP in 2017. He has two years left on his contract at $4.5 million each.
Loren Landow, a top performance coach in the Denver area for years, started his new job as the Broncos’ strength and conditioning coach Monday.
Anthony Lomando and Cedric Smith return to become his top assistants.
However, the Broncos lost assistant trainer Billy Joe Voltaire to Houston, where he will join Luke Richesson’s strength staff. Richesson had been the Broncos’ head strength and conditioning coach for six years before leaving for Houston last month. Voltaire will become the Texans’ assistant strength coach and performance therapist.