The NFL’s free agency period began late Friday, eight days later than scheduled and with a lot more money for each team to spend than first anticipated.
A new collective-bargaining agreement, which was agreed to Wednesday, delayed the start of free agency. But it also bumped the salary cap from $94.5 million to $102 million. With hundreds of players hitting the open market, the Denver Broncos will have a chance to make an interesting move or two. The Broncos finished 13-3 last season and won the AFC West, but are always willing to add players in free agency or trades. “I know this about Mike Shanahan — there will be some kind of move,” defensive coordinator Larry Coyer said last month. The Broncos top needs are finding playmakers on offense and a replacement for defensive end Trevor Pryce, who was released last week. Denver has two first-round draft picks, its own at 29th and Washington’s at 22nd, which was acquired in a trade. One of those picks could be used in a trade for a veteran player, such as New York Jets defensive end John Abraham. The Broncos released two productive offensive players last week when tight end Jeb Putzier and running back Mike Anderson were let go. Once receiver Terrell Owens is released by the Eagles, the Broncos will likely look into the possibility of signing him. Dallas, Miami and Kansas City are other teams that have been rumored to have interest in Owens. The top potential free-agent receivers are New England’s David Givens, Pittsburgh’s Antwaan Randle El and Seattle’s Joe Jurevicius. The Broncos could look for a franchise running back. Baltimore’s Jamal Lewis and Indianapolis’ Edgerrin James are the two biggest names available, and the Broncos have the cap room to make a run at one of them. During the offseason, the Broncos have stressed the importance of re-signing their own free agents. Denver resigned center Tom Nalen, safety Sam Brandon, tackle Matt Lepsis and end John Engelberger and will try to retain tackle Gerard Warren, running back Ron Dayne, linebacker Keith Burns and longsnapper Mike Leach.