March 12, 2006
ENGLEWOOD - The Denver Broncos kept to their philosophy of re-signing their players, locking up defensive tackle Gerard Warren, running back Ron Dayne and tight end/long snapper Mike Leach to long-term contracts Saturday.
Re-signing Warren has been a priority. The Broncos were proactive over the past month in re-signing their potential free agents, getting center Tom Nalen, safety Sam Brandon, offensive tackle Matt Lepsis and defensive end John Engelberger signed before free agency began. Warren signed a six-year contract, Dayne signed a three-year deal that can be voided after two years and Leach signed for four years. “ G e r a r d joined our team in 2005 and made an immediate impact on the defensive front,” general manager Ted Sundquist said in a statement. “Players of his ability are very difficult to come by, and ensuring that Gerard remained a Bronco was one of our top offseason priorities.” Warren, the third pick of the 2001 draft who underachieved with the Cleveland Browns, was acquired in a trade last offseason. Warren had three sacks and 42 tackles, and often tied up blockers and allowed Denver’s linebackers to get to the running back. Warren insisted he wanted to re-sign with the Broncos instead of looking for a bigger deal elsewhere. According to ESPN.com, Warren’s deal is worth $36 million with $10 million in bonuses. “I opened eyes around the league, but I was wanting to impress this organization more than anyone else,” Warren said the day after Denver’s season ended. Dayne will get the opportunity to be Denver’s starting tailback. He played well in limited duty last season. According to a source, who wanted to remain anonymous because the team doesn’t publicly release contract details, Dayne got a $750,000 signing bonus and will make $1.4 million this year. The final year of Dayne’s contract can be voided if he reaches yardage incentives. “He really wanted to be there and didn’t want to go anywhere else,” said Len Rowe, Dayne’s agent. “He wanted the opportunity to be the guy here and he’s willing to work for it.” Leach has spent three seasons with the Broncos. He has played sparingly on offense, but has been a solid long snapper. “Mike has been a consistent and reliable asset to the Broncos over the past few seasons,” Sundquist said. CONTACT THE WRITER: 476-4891 or firstname.lastname@example.org