Updated: December 30, 2009 at 12:00 am
There are 212 NFL players who won’t become unrestricted free agents as scheduled if there isn’t a new collective-bargaining agreement by the offseason. The Associated Press reported that figure, and many Broncos are affected. Six Broncos – quarterback Kyle Orton, receiver Brandon Marshall, outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil, tight end Tony Scheffler, guard Chris Kuper and defensive end Le Kevin Smith – will be restricted free agents, instead of unrestricted, without a new labor deal.
“Free agency has always been something for the players,” said Orton, an assistant union representative. “It’s always been a great thing. If you get one crack at free agency as a player, that’s what you dream of. How it stands right now, 270 guys aren’t going to be able to have that dream to be a free agent. That’s a shame for the players, I think.”
Marshall hurt his hamstring during practice Wednesday, and was listed as being a limited participant on the injury report. The Broncos didn’t provide any further updates on his injury.
The Broncos could be thin at receiver, because Eddie Royal hasn’t returned to practice because of a head/neck injury. The only other player to miss practice was tight end Daniel Graham, with a knee injury.
Mitch Berger averaged 34.9 yards per punt against Philadelphia, and admitted he failed to execute the game plan, which was centered around kicking away from Eagles returner DeSean Jackson. On Wednesday the Broncos signed punter Britton Colquitt, a rookie who was with the team in preseason. Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said Berger would be the punter Sunday, and Colquitt was signed for future considerations. The Broncos had an empty spot on the roster after putting receiver Kenny McKinley and guard Russ Hochstein on injured reserve.
“He was a guy that we’re familiar with, so we felt like it was a good time to do that with the roster spot open,” McDaniels said.