Broncos, Wilson talks stall on long-term agreement

Updated: February 20, 2004, 10:42 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- The Denver Broncos intend to place a franchise tag on linebacker Al Wilson with talks stalled on a long-term agreement.

"At this point, based on where we are today and what I've gotten back from them now, that's the only direction I have to go," general manager Ted Sundquist said Thursday.

The franchise tag would pay Wilson $5.8 million on a one-year contract and would restrict his ability to change teams. The league-mandated compensation is two No. 1 draft picks to sign franchise players.

Sundquist said the team has "pretty much" reached the financial ceiling on any offer to Wilson. No talks are scheduled.

"The last time I talked to them, basically I took it off the table because that was our offer. That was it," he said Thursday.

A franchise tag triggers a two-week negotiating window in which a long-term deal could be hammered out. Should that then fail, a negotiating blackout essentially would follow until at least July 15.

Sundquist said he has no complaints about the negotiations with Wilson, a three-time Pro Bowler, and his agent.

Wilson earned $1.1. million last season in the final year of his 1999 rookie contract. A defensive captain, he led Denver in tackles with 128.

In all, the Broncos must cut about $4.2 million from their salary-cap figure before the league's new fiscal year begins March 3.

"We're going to have to make some moves," Sundquist said at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. "Obviously, we'll have to release some players. We'll have to do some restructuring."

Left tackle Ephraim Salaam will almost certainly have to restructure his contract if he wants to remain with the Broncos. New deals are expected for veteran receiver Ed McCaffrey, whose base salary is scheduled to jump to $4.5 million, linebacker John Mobley and lineman Matt Lepsis.

The Broncos also could look at defensive tackle Trevor Pryce, scheduled to count $7.8 million against the cap this season.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press