Broncos tender five, including Marshall
Denver also extended a first- and third-round tender on linebacker Elvis Dumervil. The additional third-round tender means that Dumervil -- who had 17 sacks last season -- carries a $3.168 million price tag.
Mike & Mike in the Morning
ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter shares what he's hearing about players that were tendered. Schefter says the Broncos could take or leave Brandon Marshall and the Bears are the most desperate team in free agency.
The Broncos gave a second-round tender to tight end Tony Scheffler.
If another team makes a contract offer to a player with a first-round tender on him during the free-agency period beginning Friday, the player's current team has seven days to match it, or it will receive a first-round draft pick as compensation.
Marshall, who began and ended last season in coach Josh McDaniels' dog house but in between posted his third straight 100-catch season, received a first-round qualifying offer -- which would make it easier to facilitate a trade.
A fourth-round draft pick in 2006, Marshall argued he should be compensated like other elite wide receivers.
He set an NFL record by catching 21 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Indianapolis, but just a few weeks later he showed up 20 minutes late for treatment on a pulled hamstring and was benched for the season finale.
All five players would have been unrestricted free agents if the owners hadn't opted out of the collective bargaining agreement with the players in 2008. Among the ramifications for the upcoming season are no salary cap or floor and players have to have six years of service instead of four to reach unrestricted free agency.
Late last season, Orton said it was a shame players in his situation would have to wait to cash in on the free agent market because of the uncapped year that's coming in 2010, the result of a breakdown in the collective bargaining agreement between players and owners.
"It's a bad thing for the 275 players that are in that position with me," Orton said on Dec. 30. "Free agency has always been something for the players. It's always been a great thing. If you get one crack at free agency as a player, that's what you dream of."
Scheffler was benched for the season finale against Kansas City, for his attitude.
After the Broncos lost their last game, finishing 8-8 after a 6-2 start under McDaniels, Scheffler sounded as though he'd played his last game for the Broncos.
"If they want to go in a different direction, you kind of start with this game and I wasn't involved in it," he said.
Scheffler was among several holdover starters who were drafted by Mike Shanahan but who saw their roles greatly reduced under McDaniels.
"That's something you've got to deal with," Scheffler said in January. "That's why there's 32 teams."
On Wednesday, general manager Brian Xanders said the five players "are high-quality football players, and we look forward to their contributions during the 2010 season and beyond."
Adam Schefter is an ESPN NFL Insider. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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