Let the games begin. The Denver Broncos started the process of placing 'tenders' on the team's Restricted Free Agents today, though the big names people are wondering about were not on the list.
QB Kyle Orton and OL Chris Kuper received 1st Round Tenders, while TE Tony Scheffler received a 2nd Round Tender.
The tenders on Orton and Kuper mean if another team signs them to an offer sheet, the Broncos would have 7-days to match or they would have to give the Broncos a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Orton is guaranteed a $2.621 million salary as a fifth-year player while Kuper would get $2.521 million as a fourth-round player.
The same goes for WR Brandon Marshall. Now, there are two lines of thinking regarding Marshall. By tendering Marshall with only the 1st Round tender, the Broncos are likely keeping more teams in the hunt. A 1st and 3rd Round pick, in this market, is a hefty price for a player that wants a new contract to go along with it. It also does something else. Perhaps the Broncos are waiting to see what the market is for Marshall financially. What do I mean? Without a salary cap, teams can't front-load contracts(see Steve Hutchinson in Minnesota), also known as a 'poison pill' contract. The Broncos can sit back, wait for an offer-sheet, and match it. Case closed.
The Broncos tender to Scheffler is a bit of an olive-branch. The Broncos could have easily given Tony the 'low' tender, guaranteeing the Broncos 'same round' compensation should another team sign him away. By placing a 2nd Round tender on Tony, it will guarantee Scheffler him a $1.759 million. The 'same-round' tender is worth approximately $1.176 million. A difference of $583K.
Could that be because the Broncos are certain that Scheffler will be gone anyway or is it a true sign that the Broncos are trying to patch up the relationship? Only time will tell.
Last season, Kyle Orton made $1,300,000; Tony Scheffler $612,480 and Chris Kuper $451,480. While not the financial windfall the players were looking for, each will get a significant raise, if not signed by another team.